Pentlands rescue is an uphill struggle for walker

WHEN 64-year-old Esther Stanton set out for a walk in the Pentland Hills on the morning of Hogmanay, little did she know she would end up at the centre of a rescue operation involving a Land Rover stuck in a ditch, a quad bike and some hungry Highland cows.

The retired secretary from Currie ended up seeing in the New Year in hospital with a broken leg following the drama when she was out walking with Tony, 71, and their border collie Skye.

Just after noon, Mrs Stanton lost her footing in the valley close to Black Hill. The couple's mobile phone had no reception, so a passing cyclist known only to them as Rob cycled to the nearest house, Logan Cottage, just off the A702, to get help from farmer Harry Robertson.

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When the ambulance crew arrived, they piled into Mr Robertson's Land Rover for the off-road journey to the casualty, but the vehicle soon got stuck in muddy ground and began to tip.

Paramedic Nickie Crowe, 34, recalled: "We thought 'Oh my goodness!' and decided to get out of the vehicle for safety's sake. We decided just to get our equipment and hiked up the rest of the way, which was about 25 minutes uphill in the ice."

She and ambulance technician Louise Christie, 35, gave Mrs Stanton some painkillers and were considering how to get her off the hillside when Mr Robertson appeared over the horizon driving an eight-wheeled, quad bike-style vehicle. Mrs Stanton was carefully lifted into the back and they began to make their way down the hill towards Logan Cottage.

Ms Crowe said: "We decided to try it and see if there was any indication of any pain, and if there was we would have stopped – but that would probably have meant walking down the hill to get mobile reception and getting a helicopter."

The drama was still not over, however. Ms Crowe recalled: "As we came in through the gates we'd seen a sign that said 'Beware of the bull', and we didn't realise until afterwards that the bull had been sold. We saw a big group of hairy beasts and at first we just saw the horns and they started running towards us."

As the paramedics began to panic at the stampede, Mrs Stanton put their minds at rest by pointing out that the animals were just hungry cows which had recognised the farm vehicle and thought they were about to be fed.

She finally reached the ambulance two-and-a-half hours after her fall and was transferred to the ERI, where surgeons inserted a pin in her leg.

Recovering at home in Lanark Road West, Mrs Stanton said: "The ambulance people were so calm, so kind, friendly and very professional. Rob saved so much time cycling back and forward and Harry devoted so much time. I just want to thank them all."

Ms Crowe added: "I've certainly never had anything like that on Hogmanay."

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