Gannochy bridge over the River North Esk.

Angus for a holiday and Rocket relaunched

We’ve come to Angus for a holiday that is three years overdue. We booked it originally for April 2020 but covid cancelled it so the holiday was rescheduled for 2021. Covid cancelled that too and it got rescheduled for 2022 but I made the mistake of booking a time that did not coincide with school holidays and when I realised my error the school holidays were fully booked so we had to reschedule again for 2023.

Angus is a pretty region in the north-east of Scotland between Aberdeenshire and Perthshire. It borders the Grampian mountains to the west, turning into rolling hills, flatter agricultural farmland, and eventually meeting the sea. There’s lots of lovely scenery and walks including the Rocks of Solitude walk near Edzell that we did a couple of years ago – Through the blue door. We repeated the walk again today.

The River North Esk from Gannochy bridge
The Blue Door that marks the start of the Rocks of Solitude walk

Go through the door and you’ll see a deep gorge comprised of striking red sandstone that was deposited more than 300 million years ago. This is the start of the walk looking downstream towards Gannochy Bridge which was completed in 1724 by a local farmer who employed a mason to build the arch while he built the walls himself.

The River North Esk looking downstream towards Gannochy Bridge
The Rocks of Solitude walk

We went up to Cairn o’Mount which is a mountain pass between Banchory and Fettercairn. There are some nice views there.

Photo of the four of us with a view to the glen behind us.

Angus is sometimes described as the birthplace of Scotland because this is where, in 1320, the Declaration of Arbroath was signed by Scottish barons and nobleman who declared Scotland an independent country with Robert the Bruce its lawful king.

Elizabeth, Rachel, and Daniel doing a jumping shot

We’ve had to bring our hamster Rocket on holiday with us. Last Thursday he seemed to be having trouble eating. Normally he willingly takes sunflower seeds from our hands and gobbles them down but although he’d take the seeds he seemed unable to put them in his mouth. I took him to the vet the same day and she found a large abscess in his mouth. I could see it too. There was no room for him to put any food in there.

I assumed they could just cut it out but she said hamsters rarely survive anaesthesia and he was old and she felt it was better to have him put to sleep. I said well surely it’s worth trying because if you want to euthanise him anyway then it doesn’t matter if there’s a chance he’ll die during surgery. It wasn’t much more expensive than having him put to sleep anyway so I wanted to try.

The vet went away to speak to someone more senior and when she returned she said the other vet had seen a tumour in his mouth and so again she wanted me to have him put to sleep. I actually signed the papers and she took him away to do the deed but I decided to get a second opinion and got the receptionist to rush in and rescue him. He was still alive thankfully.

That afternoon I rang several vets around Aberdeen trying to find one that would be prepared to remove an abscess from a hamster. I found someone who said to bring him in on the Friday. She took one look at him and said exactly what I’d said to the other vet the day before: if we’re going to put him down anyway then we may as well try and give him a chance. Especially since he’s otherwise been fine and running on his wheel and fairly active. So she kept him and did the surgery the same day.

She never found a tumour in his mouth and he survived the surgery without any issues. He’s now on antibiotics which I have to administer twice a day so we couldn’t leave him at Mrs Murrays holiday boarding as planned and had to bring him on holiday with us.

He still seems to be having trouble eating so we’ve been giving him lots of soft foods in addition to his regular diet but I guess if he’s had some kind of infection in his mouth it is probably painful. He face was also quite swollen but looks a little better today.

We have no idea how old he is because we adopted him from the SPCA. He’s very cute and has such a cool personality. He’s got a real zest for life and is still rocketing around his home so as long as he looks like he’s enjoying life we don’t want to have him put down. If it looked like he was suffering then it would be different. I feel like the first vet I saw just made up the stuff about the tumour to convince me. If you have an unusual pet like a hamster take it to an exotic vet used to dealing with different animals rather than one that mainly does cats and dogs.

It was quite squashed in the car with a cat, a hamster, plus groceries, and all our luggage but we managed somehow.

3 thoughts on “Angus for a holiday and Rocket relaunched”

  1. Angus looks very beautiful. I’ve booked holiday that coincides with term time – somehow I forgot I have homestay students.
    It’s always nice to hear how Rocket is doing. I’ve heard recommendations that hamster owners use exotic pet vets, which always struck me as a strange term as they seem quite everyday to me. I will bear that in mind if mine ever need to go to the vet.

    1. Yes I was always puzzled by the reference to exotic vets. I don’t think of any type of rodent as exotic but maybe they just mean unusual pet for a vet? I hope you enjoy your holiday too.

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