Lightning does strike twice – confined to Scotland – Loire 2022 vintage trip off!!

On 2nd January 2018 I slipped on black ice while up in Scotland and separated my quads from my left knee cap. This necessitated an operation on the 4th January and a long period of convalescence that lasted until 18th April when I was finally able to dispense with the splint and then the brace that had supported my leg. Fortunately the operation led by consultant Malcolm Nicol was a complete success, so much so that I have cycled nearly 35,000 kilometres on the ebikes I then bought to avoid putting too much strain on my knees and tendons.

Guess what…?! I did exactly the same thing last Tuesday (9th August) while up in Scotland. This time I raptured the tendons to my right knee cap, so this entailed a similar operation the following day (Wednesday 10th August) at Raigmore Hospital. Once again I had great care there through the NHS (National Health Service). Although the operation was done by the orthopaedic team headed by Malcolm Nicol, he was not involved on this occasion.

Malcolm Nicol at Raigmore Hospital April 2018

As in 2018 I had an epidural, which numbed the lower part of my body, while leaving me conscious so that I could chat to the team during the operation. Unlike a full anaesthetic, whose effects takes much longer to wear off, an epidural is soon over as feeling returns.

Unfortunately this operation means that I will be staying in Scotland for most or all of the rest of this year, so I won’t be out in the Loire as planned to see the 2022 Loire harvest. As the vintage will be early I had planned to arrive on 5th September and stay until mid-October. Sadly this is now impossible as I can’t travel long distances, so I will have to watch the vintage from a distance.

During the operation the surgeon told me that my tendons were diseased/damaged, so I guess that this was an accident waiting to happen. Fortunately it happened in the flat where we are staying in Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountains. It would easily have been in some remote spot with no mobile signal!

The path above Loch an Duin (Perthshire) – one of the less rocky and irregular parts
An Dun to the right of the Loch and the rocky path above

Only two days before the accident I had ridden on my mountain bike on a 80 kms (50 mile) circuit from Newtonmore up Glen Tromie, on past Loch an Duin down to the A9 and then back on the cycle path to Newtonmore. The vast majority of the circuit was either over metalled surfaces or a vehicle track, albeit rough and rocky in places, but the section by Loch an Duin was a rough, uneven rocky footpath with steep slopes down to the loch. It was over this very remote section that I could have slipped with the possibility of rupturing my quads and no chance of a mobile signal. I would have been really stuck! So although I could well have done without the operation and the disruption of our plans, in context this accident could be seen as a lucky escape!

Loch an Duin – track to the north and south of the Loch shown in yellow.

My very grateful thanks to the excellent care I received from Raigmore Hospital (NHS Scotland) and especially from the staff in Ward 3B and Malcolm Nicol and his team.

Crackpot!

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