Want to read more?
At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
A German tourist who lost everything, including her pet dog, in a freak road accident is praising the many people who have helped in her time of need.
Zoo keeper Carla Greszies, 54, from Reddinghausen, 100km east of Cologne, had just left her camper van in Glen Etive to take a few pictures, only to see it roll away backwards and fall 30 feet into a storm-swollen river.
Carla rushed to try and grab the van, which contained her pet dog, Holly, but was unable to do anything to stop the plunge.
A horrified Carla had no signal on her phone to call for help, but flagged down a passing car and asked them to drive back to the main road from where they would be able to contact the emergency services.
She said: ‘A young couple stopped to help and wanted to stay with me, but I told them instead to find a signal and call for help.’
Within 15 minutes, Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team were on site, followed by the Coastguard, who braved the torrent to search for Holly, but were unable to get inside the submerged vehicle.
While tragically unable to recover the body of the dog, Ms Greszies’ passport was recovered when her handbag floated out of the van.
A regular visitor to Scotland, Ms Greszies ultimately plans to move here, an ambition bolstered by the kindness and help she has received since the accident.
She said: ‘I love coming to Scotland and have visited five times in the past two years and I really want to move here. Everyone has been so good to me – from stopping at the accident just to comfort me, giving me somewhere to stay, providing clothes, toiletries and even large cases to help me return to Germany with what belongings I still have.
‘I am so upset by the loss of Holly and would like especially to thank Mr Stevenson, who owns the Recovery Company, who came immediately to try and find her. He could not get my van out until the next day, but when he did, his priority was finding her and bring her out to me. He was so kind and asked if I would like to bury her on ground at his home in Spean Bridge where his own dogs lie. We did this and were able to say goodbye.
‘With such caring, now I know I definitely want to live in Scotland.’
During her ordeal Carla stayed with Leah Whyte in Caol, whom she first met through ‘Lochaber Rocks’, where people of all ages decorate small stones and leave them in different locations, putting a message on social media to say where and when they found them, before placing them in a new location.
Leah was one of the founders and responded to Carla’s message about finding a stone two years ago. They have remained in touch ever since. Leah also used social media to ask people to look out for Holly, just in case she had been swept out of the vehicle. In response, the A82 Action Group shared it on their Facebook page and a Glen Etive resident spent five hours walking the river bank looking for the dog.
She said: ‘I was shocked to hear about the accident. Carla and Holly had been for dinner only the night before. Literally all she had was what she was wearing and after I put a bit on social media, people just turned up on the doorstep with clothes and other things for her. She was really touched by everyone’s genuine concern and willingness to help.’
Carla plans to return to Germany at the weekend.