A woman who was seriously injured in a freak attack by a stag in the Highlands has spoken about her ongoing and remarkable recovery.
Dr Kate Stone, a scientist from Cambridge, was gored by the animal near Fort William in what was described as a “one-in-a-million” incident on 30 December last year.
The 44-year-old was airlifted to hospital in Glasgow with “life-threatening” injuries to her neck and spine caused by the stag’s antlers.
But nearly four months and three operations later, Dr Stone is now able to eat solid food again, the BBC reported.
“This staggering journey is now almost over and I've finally eaten beans which I've craved for months,” she told the broadcaster, following the removal of tubes in her nose and throat.
The attack happened when Dr Stone and a group of friends were standing outside a private residence in Lochailort during a short break in the Highlands.
A passing stag panicked and charged at Dr Stone, impaling her throat with one of its antlers. Her trachea and oesophagus were both pierced. Her vocal chords were also damaged and her neck fractured.
She was treated at Southern General Hospital in Glasgow where she was put into an induced coma and underwent two operations.
She had a further operation last month and, despite complications, doctors were eventually able to remove the naso-gastric tube providing her with nutrients, allowing Dr Stone to begin to eat on her own again.
“I had two bowls of tomato soup, cauliflower curry and a mousse,” she told the BBC.
“It took me about two hours to consume this, but I've waited three-and-a-half months for it to arrive and it was simply joyous.”
Dr Stone, who still has to attend outpatient appointments at hospital in Glasgow, said it is taking time to “learn” to eat normally again, but that she feels as though she has “climbed a massive mountain”.
"So many times I thought I was near the top and I wasn't. Often I felt the end would never come and there were challenges along the way I can't believe I overcame,” she told the BBC.
“Well, I never gave up, and I'm at the summit. There is still as much of a journey home, but it's an easy walk downhill.”