My intermezzo with the friendly team in Aberdeen was ( as planned) just a short one, but it provided me with the opportunity to fit in a few days of hiking in one of Britain’s finest mountain ranges – the Cairngorms.
Not even an hour’s drive away and I was surrounded by rolling green hills, by streams and waterfalls and the ever present sounds of herring gulls was replaced by that of oystercatchers, curlews and terns.
My companion on the trip to the mountains was my colleague Sean Wensley – or better the audio book version of his impressive literary debut “Through a Vet’s Eyes” where he is juxtapositioning the keeping of domestic animals in the 21st century with his own ornithological observations. A not surprising, but still very sobering account with a lot of graphic detail. As brilliantly written and as important as this book is, I have to admit that is one of these volumes that I can only get through in the form of individual chapters with a fair amount of breaks inbetween.
….and these you get enough of by just following the river Dee west.
Similar to the countyside in Wales, I consider the Cairngorms – compared to their much larger Scandinavian and Alpine cousins – as very forgiving mountains, allowing for shortcuts if you have veered off the track without running too much of a risk of falling off a sheer mountain side …..
Of course you have to be prepared for midges and a fair amount of rain , but after all, this is Northern Europe.
On my way towards Glasgow I had to treat myself not only to a visit of probably Her Majesty’s favourite residence,
but also to the great British institution called “Cream Tea” , admittedly without the company of the land lady……
To finish this first veterinary adventure in style, I paid a visit to the beef farm of my famous Scottish colleague Freda Scott-Park and her husband David in a unreal setting at the shores of Loch Lomond.
When driving onto the farm yard, I was presented with a case that made me once again appreciate the decision I made many years ago to stick to treating just companion animals ……
800+ kg of distressed bovine muscles combined with 30 kg of solid steal gate can ruin your health or even finish your life in a matter of seconds if you are taking the wrong decision with such a patient. I was grateful that a far more skilled colleague from Glasgow Vet School resolved this problem with the help of a decent sedation.
This left us with enough time for an unforgetable dinner on an island of the lake as a lasting memory of Scotland .