Sunday, 10 January 2010

Walking on Thin Ice

I am beginning to think that I am being tested by someone above.
My life is like an adventure or thriller novel which ever way you want to look at it, I seem to have more than my fare share of near misses and catastrophes, I think someone else should take the lead for a short while and give me a rest.
Why I hear you ask?
As some of you may know we are in the grip of a cold Winter, luckily we have not had as much snow as the rest of the country, perhaps that's because we are sheltered by Creag Mhor or because we are at sea level, what ever the reason we seem to have had more Black Ice and flash freezing than anything else.
Well to start this from the beginning, yesterday my husband was away for the day, collecting cattle feed, it was quite a cold day but not as cold as today, I started to fill the buckets for the cattle coming in in the afternoon, I thought I would bring them in a little earlier as the clouds looked rather threatening in the sky.
So away I went across the Mointeach Mhor to bring them in, it was easy to walk down as everything is frozen solid including the peat bogs which you usually have to walk around.
As I got closer to the heard, one of the cows Rosie was on the other side of the river hooting and mo-owing, I looked around the heard and realised Rosie's calf was not amongst the calves, I ran towards the river which is frozen solid, about 3" of ice thick in places.
There was Rosie's calf Ruby, on the other side of the iced over river bank, she must have crossed over to be with mum and broke through the ice, but the bank was to high for her to climb out.
She was trying to get up the ever higher bank which was covered in gorse and heather making it very difficult for her to get a grip.
When she came to rest her head was perched on the ice that's all I could see, if she slipped off the ice she might have gone under and not been able to get back out.
I thought the best thing to do was to try and guide her back down a little way to a lower side of the bank, I knew I might be in for a wetting crossing the ice to help her, so I took of my big jacket, for two reasons, one to stop me sinking with the weight of it wet and two to have something dry to come home in just in case.
Well the just in case was right, as I crossed the iced over river, Ruby began to dance about, she caused the ice to fracture, then all of a sudden a four foot square piece gave away and tipped up in the air, I slipped off and into the water, what was worse was I did not realise it was so deep, I went up to my neck in the freezing water, I could only just touch the bottom, the gasp that I let out must have been heard in Glasgow.
Now in a way I know this might sound strange, but I expected it to be really cold, as years ago I used to do a lot of coastal Scuba Diving so I knew how cold it could be, but it was the shock of it and not being able to get a proper footing that worried me.
Anyway I give myself a second to collect my thoughts and decided what to do, I waded up to Ruby who was now calm she must have sensed I was in to help her, I grabbed her tail and pulled her around in a half circle to face her towards the lower bank, she was only being held up by the ice, as she could not touch the bottom at all, she was now wading in the water, and everything depended on her having the strength to pull herself up, the dogs were barking and whining, Rosie was really agitated be now, and I was absolutely freezing.
Well Ruby did it she scrambled her front half up and I shoved her from behind the rest of the way, she got up and ran to mum without a thank you or glance back to see if I was okay, that's gratitude for you.
Well I was so cold I had a bit of a time getting back on to the ice where I fell in, I was once told that if you fall into and iced over pond always try to get out where you went in as it carried your weight up until the point of entry so it was 99% guaranteed to hold your weight on the way out.
Well I managed to slide up onto the ice and roll over to the bank back where I came from, all the while the dogs were going mad.
I got onto the bank, freezing and shacking with the cold and shock, I stripped of my jumper and shirt and put on my jacket, my wellingtons which were more of a hindrance than a help under water were full, and I had a nightmare trying to get them off with the suction, I tipped out the water and put them back on.
I ran for home my teeth were knocking together so violently I thought they might push them back into my gums.
I managed to get home, and stripped off the wet and freezing clothing, the towel and coal fire where a blessing.
I found it hard to sleep last night with flash backs of the days events, I was also in agony, I have bruising covering the back of both my legs, from my bum to the back of my Knees.
But these will heal, the calf Ruby is well, she got a good rub down too, and a penicillin, just to make sure she does not go down with anything nasty.
As a result yes I was walking on thin ice and lost one of my nine lives, but all's well that end's well.

1 comment:

Minerva said...

This is an exciting story! I'm very glad your calf is ok. You were so lucky not to die of exposure. Hope this good luck continues for you in 2010.