Skye minister expresses thanks following rescue

A Church of Scotland minister from Broadford on Skye was at the centre of a rescue on a remote stretch of shoreline at Kylerhea yesterday (Monday).

PROFILE - REV RORY MACLEOD - 5Reverend Rory MacLeod (pictured) was kayaking around the Kyleakin peninsula, from Breakish to Eilean Iarmain — a distance of some 22 miles — when the conditions suddenly changed and he was tipped out of his kayak. He said: “A fishing boat came alongside and offered to take me to Kyleakin but I settled for a tow towards the shore at Kylerhea. The swim in was harder than I had expected and I blacked out before reaching the shore. Fortunately, a local man came to my rescue and dragged me ashore. The Stornoway air ambulance was called and I was flown to Raigmore, where I quickly recovered.”

Rev MacLeod said he wanted to acknowledge the “alacrity, generosity and heroism” of those who came to his rescue in the incident. They included Neil Robertson and his crew who towed him towards the shore; David Campbell who saved his life by swimming out to help him ashore; locals; and members of the Stornoway air ambulance who treated him at the scene; as well as medical staff at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

“And, of course, my gorgeous wife who drove 95 extra miles to collect me and another 95 to get me home,” Rev Macleod added.

The Kyle lifeboat ‘Spirit of Fred.Olsen’ launched at 1.17pm on Monday and attended Rev MacLeod. By then, the first paramedics had arrived and had begun treatment. Mr MacLeod was hypothermic and exhausted at this point. A spokesman for the crew added: “It was decided due to the extremely remote location and the casualty’s condition, the best method of extraction was via the Coastguard helicopter which arrived on scene at 2.05pm and landed on the shore to enable two medics to examine the casualty. After discussions with the lifeboat crew, local Coastguard teams and paramedics, it was decided that they would winch the kayaker on board the helicopter instead of trying to carry him up the extremely slippery shoreline.”