Travel: Your Holiday Disaster

It was a sunny day in the Highlands, but an erring sheep ruined Alison Smith's holiday
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The Independent Travel
It was the second day of our motorcycling tour of the Scottish Highlands and we were still speaking after a rainy night under canvas. The sun was shining and we set off feeling cheerful.

The bike - a Yamaha FJ1200 - was in peak condition. We were driving on a good, clear road across moors when a sheep suddenly ran out into our path. Instinctively, my partner swerved to avoid it and in doing so was unable to straighten up. We left the road at 60mph and I felt myself shaking and jerking around as we careered on to rough ground.

When I opened my eyes, I could see clear blue sky above me. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. This only lasted a few seconds until, with a sudden terrifying realisation, I became aware of my surroundings. Something was wrong. Where was Jon and why was I lying on my back on a grassy mound?

I lifted my head. Jon was lying on his back a few feet away. I called his name and the relief I felt when he answered was indescribable. "Don't move" he said "you might have broken some- thing." I wasn't in any pain so I crawled over to where he was lying, half submerged in water. We had landed in a peat bog. I put my head in his lap and the sense of calm came over me once again.

We were lying like this when four bikers came along. I raised an arm to attract their attention. We had been thrown about 100 metres from the road but they had seen us anyway and came running over. Our rescuers were German. Jon asked them to leave me lying still but either they didn't understand or they didn't hear because they each took hold of one of my arms and legs and carried me unceremoniously back to the roadside. A car pulled up and a couple of tourists whom we'd met at a beauty spot earlier, jumped out. They used their mobile phone to call an ambulance.

In the meantime, the bike had been found. It had ended up with its nose embedded in the side of a hillock in between some lethal-looking rocks. The impact had sent our luggage flying in all directions and the Germans helped to collect up the contents of our panniers. One of them even waded in boggy water to retrieve our waterproofs, which was a relief because they were particularly expensive ones.

By the time the ambulance arrived, I was suffering from shock and was rambling. "Am I dead?" I asked one of the Germans. "Are you dead?" He looked bewildered. "Am I alive? Is Jon alive?" And so it went on until one of his friends came over. "You're a very sexy man," I announced hysterically "a very sexy man."

"There's not much wrong with you that a cup of sweet tea won't fix," the ambulance man observed as he lifted me on to a stretcher.