Scotland 2016: The Tragedy, the NHS, and the kindness of Highlanders.

img_20160519_133805358_hdr-01Invermoriston is a darling village with some beautiful historic bridges, a hotel with restaurant, a couple B&Bs, a public restroom, a tiny shop, and a crafts shop.  And that’s about it.  It is perfect.  We grabbed lunch (and a sticky toffee pudding!) at the hotel, dropped our bags at the best B&B in the Highlands, Craik Na Dav, and headed down to visit the craft shop and see the beautiful waterfalls.

This is where things went bad.  If you are squeamish at all, turn and run. Hide. Don’t read on.

img_20160519_165324610_hdr-01We enjoyed the beautiful falls and woodlands trails, and along the way back I lost the small trail and stepped in some mud.  I made my way through to get some shots of the historic bridges, and called back to my husband to be sure to stick to the trail so he didn’t get muddy.  He didn’t hear me.  Rather than going through the mud, he decided to do something he’d done a thousand times – hop a fence. Only, fences in the UK are much older than the fences here. When he hopped this auld, stone fence, the stones came with him.  I saw him falling, and figured he would be embarrassed. He was. But when I called to ask if he was ok, he tried to stand up. He pulled his pant leg up to check the damage, and from across the street, I could literally see his shin bone [tibia?] (sorry, I told you this was graphic).

Charles and his shame.

Charles and his shame.

Once I made sure he wasn’t bleeding to death, I ran up to the little shop. I said something along the lines of “My husband fell and he’s bleeding, but he’s not dying or anything, so who do we call?  It’s not like a 999 emergency or anything, but we’re also hiking, and American.” They were so nice.  Of course, because this is Scotland where the people will totally judge you and laugh at you, but be so helpful and nice while doing it.  We went back to the injury site, where a few cars had stopped along the road to help. A medic lived across the street, and he came out and diagnosed Charles a need for some stitches. It was decided that we didn’t need the hospital in Inverness, and a local GP was willing to treat this ridiculous accident-prone American. We got him back up to the shop where we waited on a non-emergency ambulance to pick us up and take us to a doctor.

Good ole NHS healthcare.

Good ole NHS healthcare.

Everyone was so nice.  I know the NHS has it’s problems, but everyone was so great. They ambulanced us to Dr. Jill back in Fort Augustus who stitched Charles right back up. After she looked at the wound and realized it wasn’t going to bleed out, she turned to me, Charles, and the ambulance drivers and said, “ok, well, who wants tea?” Perfect!! After 3 stitches, we took our ambulance back up to Invermoriston just in time for our dinner reservations at the hotel (the only place to eat in town).

img_20160519_192151267Small towns, man.  They are the best.  And the smallest.  The lady in the shop had called the sisters who run the (amazing) B&B we were staying in to let them know what happened.  They, or someone, in turn called the (amazing) Mac’s Adventure company who called repeatedly to check on us.  The hotel/restaurant got wind of the accident and canceled our reservation thinking we wouldn’t be back in time to make it. Charles was officially known as (and probably is still known as) “the poor man with the sore leg.”  Luckily, there was room in the bar for us to eat (more steak and ale pie!) and we bought a round for the ambulance drivers once they got off shift as well.

We hobbled up to our B&B where Lindsey and Manda took the best possible care of us.  Nurses themselves, they had a look at the sore leg to assuage any of Charles’ worries, and they also left a few drams of whiskey in the room for us, as well. My favorite quote from Invermoriston was when Charles’ constant apologies and self-deprecation were met with replies of, “well, it was dumb. but these things happen.” or something along those lines.  My thoughts exactly!  They also accused us of vandalizing the village. Thanks, Charles. Now we’ll be banned for life.

img_20160519_133848960

Right before the tragedy

Charles went to bed thinking he’d be fine for the hike to Drumnadrochit the next day. Turns out he was so wrong. He limped around on that leg for a good month after we got back, and I’m pretty sure that bone was cracked or fractured at least a little. He has a glorious scar and can now tell when it will rain via shin injury. After a great breakfast at Craik na Dav, the sisters were so kind to call us a cab to Drum, since there was no way we were scaling highland hills.

Onto Drum in the next episode.  In the meantime, enjoy these photos!

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