Disabled: Trials and Tribulations

It’s been a few years since the morning I bent over to pick up a tennis ball, and popped my Achilles tendon. Snap! It was a cold morning. I didn’t stretch out enough before the tennis match, I guess. In one second, life as I knew it would never be the same.

For two months after the surgery, I walk with the aid of crutches. I learned how to drive with my left foot. Learned how difficult it is to find disabled parking around business establishments, especially downtown St. Louis and Clayton. I learned how slippery red brick sidewalks are in the rain; how unstable gravel and rock surfaces are even when it’s not raining.

I learned how to pick my path through cumbersome mazes of tightly packed tables in restaurants. I learned how to gracefully “sit” down on the stairs, scooting my way up a flight or two, when elevators weren’t available or escalators not working. I learned that full-service gas stations are rare. I learned not to be scared when someone followed me.

I learned they won’t let you keep crutches on an airplane, accessible if you need them to go to the restroom. It’s best not to eat or drink on airplanes. If you need to use the toilet on an airplane, you have to leave the door open to accommodate your cast. Airlines much prefer you use adult diapers for any long trips.

Oban and Argyll in Scotland is the perfect place for a short break, holiday or a day out exploring. Lying on Scotland’s west coast, this scenic area is only a two hour drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh. From walking and hiking to ambling round historical sites, from a round of golf to loch, river and sea fishing, Oban and Argyll has something for everybody. It’s also the ideal place to sample some traditional highland fayre, such as local venison, fresh seafood, and a wee dram of whisky.

Wildlife

The waters around Oban and Argyll are rich in wildlife. The Firth of Lorn is a Special Area of Conservation because of the wealth and variety of species. Marine mammals such as basking sharks, minke whale, dolphins and porpoise frequent deeper waters which are easily reached by boat. Common seal colonies, sea otters, deer and a huge range of birds including sea and golden eagles, gannets and guillemots are resident sights. As this is an important breeding ground for seabirds, rare birds such as the black-throated diver arrive in season. 24 different species of whales, dolphins and porpoises come to the area all through the year, but especially in the summer months. It is one of the richest areas in Britain to see cetaceans and they swim close to boats a short distance from the shore. In some places they can be sighted from the shore too.

The Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary lies a few miles to the north of Oban. It is a center for seal rescue where injured, sick and stray seals and pups recover and can be viewed in the SOS seal rescue facility and nursery area. There are daily talks and feeding demonstrations by experts where the center’s resident seals are introduced to visitors. Also on display are otters dmv handicap parking permit and a huge variety of fish and marine life from local waters that shoal and swim in a spectacular aquariums.

Historic Sites

Although Argyll has over 350 archaeological sites, the most impressive historic site in the area is without doubt Kilmartin Glen. 150 sites lie near to the village of Kilmartin and date back 5000 years. There are standing stones, carved rocks, burial cairns, ancient grave stones, early Christian crosses, and the Iron Age fort at Dunadd which belonged to the earliest Scottish Kings. Most of these sites lie in fields and moorland, but the Kilmartin House Museum houses many Neolithic and Bronze Age artifacts such as stone tools and arrowheads, an audio-visual display and offers guided walks. The area abounds with spectacular castles, all of which are open to the public. Castles such as Dunstaffnage at Dunbeg, Camasserie near Kilmartin, Dunollie at Oban and Barcaldine at Benderloch are on the mainland and all within easy reach of each other. There are two spectacular castles on the Isle of Mull. Duart castle, home to the Clan Maclean, sits on a spectacular peninsula overlooking the Sound of Mull, Loch Linnhe and the Firth of Lorne. Famous for its magnificent gardens, Torosay castle lies further up the coast where a narrow gauge railway links the castle with Dunure where the Oban-Mull ferry pulls in.

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