Searching for a vet in the Outer Hebrides
Getting out of the Romahome on our third morning at Kilbride campsite, South Uist, I noticed that Jinty's paw was really swollen and that he was limping badly. He needed a vet, especially as it was Friday, with a ferry booking for Monday morning. Thank goodness for iPhones. I discovered that there is only one vet covering Barra, Eriskay, Sputh Uist and Benbecula, and by that I mean literally one vet, not one practice with a few vets. I rang soon after nine, to be told that they were fully booked. After some wheedling, helped by the fact that the receptionist has two whippets herself, they agreed to fit us in if we could be there for about 2.30.
As Jinty wasn't in a position to enjoy walking, we just went for a short stroll above the beach before heading north for Benbecula, with a vague plan to explore places that didn't require much walking. The sign to the ruins of Flora McDonald's birthplace was up a very narrow track so I gave that a miss and headed off to Lochboisdale, on the east of the island. No white sandy beaches here, just lochs galore dividing up the peat bog, with a backdrop of treeless mountains. Lovely cafe/post office/ general store/Internet hub, with seating outside, so that was our lunch stop.
Next stop was the Kildonan museum, which is one of the best museums I've been to, bringing to life the old crofting ways with lots of old photos and household artefacts. I particularly liked the skirt which had been made at the turn of the century for somebody's 16th birthday, using wool dyed using lichen and flowers, hand woven and hand made. I bought some hand knitted woollen socks for a friend who's watering my plants for me while I'm away. They come complete with a length of wool for darning holes.
I drove right up South Uist and then over the causeway to Benbecula, eventually finding the vet's after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing. We were a bit early so sat in the sun in the garden in the hope that Jinty wouldn't get too stressed, but he caught a whiff of the vet smell and started to cry. Meanwhile the vet came out to the garden to treat a lamb somebody had brought in a box. Eventually we went in, saw the vet and came out with some antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, which will hopefully sort him out.
Like Barra, South Uist is predominantly Roman Catholic, and driving back to the campsite we passed several roadside shrines to the Virgin Mary, reminding me of roads in Greece or France, especially with the clear blue skies.
So, not our preferred mode of whippety wanderings today, but hopefully Jinty's on the mend and we've seen things we would have missed if we'd been walking those white sandy beaches again.