Bruce held this distinction for a short while today. Here we are at 60 degrees, 47 minutes, and 58 seconds North. We heart Unst!

This is, incidentally, the first time I have seen myself walking since I had the stroke, and I find it very surprising that I don’t seem to have an Igor-like lollop, as that is what it feels like to me.

Shetland is amazing.

87 thoughts on “Britain’s most northerly dog

  1. Your gait looks wonderful. I think I observe slightly more swing to your right arm, but that may have more to do with the uneven quality of beach sand than anything else.

    As the partner of someone who suffers paralysis from a spinal cord injury, I can appreciate how far you’ve come. Every step is a battle, and a gift.

    Interestingly, beach-sand walking is particularly difficult for my partner, because his toes have no input from their motor neurons. He cannot access the muscles that operate the front of his foot. His physical therapists understood this, and actually scheduled days to practice walking on sand. Ah, California!

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    1. Exactly! My toes were the last thing to get ‘reconnected’, and because of this, I’ve found walking on sand (or other soft, uneven surfaces) an absolute nightmare until relatively recently. The toes still don’t have much reliable movement, actually, but practicing walking on beach and turf has really helped.

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  2. It’s great to see this, after your recent news of your accident at home. I was sad for you when I read that other post. Must have been quite frustrating and annoying. So you can definitely be proud of yourself now! :)
    And your hat is cool!

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  3. Kate, your gait is truly fantastic! You have made great strides and I am amazed at the progress you have made. Need to give Bruce a hug from me. He’s a beautiful dog and a lovely 4-legged companion.

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  4. Perception and reality can really fool you, hey? Here’s to hoping that you gained as much joy out of seeing the progress of your recovery (which I know still has things to be worked on like your mental fatigue, which I don’t wish to downplay, but I’m pretty sure you can’t videotape that without some super expensive equipment) as those of us who have been following and cheering you on.

    Truly amazing, beautiful and as always, inspiring.

    Lucky dog Bruce to see such sights!

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  5. Ah, the memories! When I was doing my PhD (several hundred years ago), I had a boyfriend in Shetland and we often went to Unst to see puffins and walk at the top of those towering cliffs looking towards Muckle Flugga (and to rejoice in all the splendid names and words the land of Shet has). No puffins at this time of year, but I’m sure there’s plenty to see and love about those wild islands – not least of which is some fabulous yarn to knit with. Happy New Year!

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  6. Great all around! Thank you for sharing your challenges and triumphs. The knitting does wonders for me, too!

    Happy new year.

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  7. What a lovely film – lovely scenery, happy Bruce… and your walking looks perfect!

    My mother used to be “Britain’s most northerly nurse” (sorry to upstage you, Bruce!), so I know how lovely it is on Unst. Have a fantastic time.

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  8. Bruce reminds me so much of my dearly departed black lab. It is such a joy to see Bruce, thanks for sharing him in photos and video. You look like you are walking strong!

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  9. Well I looked very carefully. Twice. I think your gait is amazingly good. I’ve never been to Shetland although I’ve been to Orkney several times and I’m jealous.

    Sarah

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  10. Oh Kate your walking is fine, I know what you mean about how it feels though to achieve this smoothness of stride. I had my pelvis broken in 5 places and was on crutches and 1 leg for 6mths. Your little movie brought a happy smile to my face.
    You know for quite a while you have reminded me of someone, a movie star from the old classics. One of my favourites actually, I hope you don’t mind me saying but I see a likeness to the famous Bette Davis. Especially the avatar pic.
    Beautiful beach you are walking on, have a wonderful holiday!

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  11. Thanks for sharing your good news. It was lovely to see you and Bruce in action. Ah, the heady smell of wet dog.

    I hope you are proud of your achievements. You look amazing.

    Have a fantastic New Year!

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  12. Unst is wonderful,isn’t it. How did you get on with the sea crossing, or did you fly? Either way, I do admire you for taking it on in January.

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  13. Like others have said it is so beautiful to see you walking. I got a lump in my throat watching this clip. You are just like Shetland – amazing.

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  14. You’re walking beautifully. Bruce is a considerate dog – he didn’t push you into the waves as many a bouncy young dog might do!

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  15. –KATE — yes your walking looks great — am like so many others , green with envy, that you are in SHETLAND — you deserve it — to your continued progress in the next year

    – BRUCE —–cute and happy as ever —best pat j

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  16. You look great Kate! I’m very proud for you that you’re doing so well. You have worked very hard for this accomplishment!
    Your hat looks perfect for you and the beach and ocean is pretty awesome. Wish I were there! Continue to enjoy your holiday and a very Happy New Year!
    ~India~

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  17. I love Unst too, though haven’t been for a while. Enjoy your visit, maybe not the best time of year, lots of wind forecast, but I prefer the wind to the snow anyday.

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  18. Lovely weather for the beach – I’m surprised you and Bruce didn’t fancy a dip in the waves :-)

    Hope you’re having a lovely trip in lovely Shetland.

    Liz x

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  19. It all looks amazing. It takes time and effort to get back on your feet from any health problem and looks like you have made excellent use of your time. Catwalk or is that dog walk here she comes. Well done you! Loved the Welsh blanket pattern so much I purchased a scarf pattern and yarn at the Needle Emporium today in “linen” stitch. Not as an accomplished knitter as you are…but hoping it works out to that beautiful woven look. Will you post/sell your blanket pattern? You warm my heart with your knitting and now your walking!

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  20. Congrats Bruce! I have to say that apart from some arm swing disparity and a very slight limb, I don’t notice anything untoward. I actually think if I didn’t know you’d had a stroke and was therefore critiquing the video closely, I’d not have noticed at all. Enjoy your vacation!

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  21. Well you walk better than I do :-) Dodgy knees and a predisposed tendency to “walk like a farmer” means I have a very inelegant gait!

    Also I love your outfit. As usual. I want to steal your wardrobe, except none of it would fit my fat backside :-)

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  22. Indeed, you look quite fluid.
    Last year I read an article in the New Yorker about the medical use of mirrors to help amputees get rid of phantom pains in missing limbs. The mind body links are so complex, but sometimes seeing can be believing in our sense of self. This article also describes how mirrors can be used by healthy people to simulate the effects of a stroke. I’m going to give it a try. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2009/05/john-colapinto-ramachandrans-mirror-trick.html

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  23. It is so great to see you walk again without any supporting aid. You are really an example of patience and persistence. Enjoy your time and best of luck in your recovery.

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  24. Igor?!?

    Pshaw! You have a damned fine gait! I’m able bodied and I don’t know that I’d be able to keep up with you.

    Note to self: get off arse and start walking more often

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  25. I only recently started reading your blog, and being an OT I’m amazed at your recovery. When I see you walking the only thing that comes to my mind is that you walk like someone with a bit of a knee or hip issue, I would never think of a stroke! I have a bad knee and I sometimes walk worse then you do!

    Oh, and I love your designes :D. Keep up the walking!

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  26. Lookin’ good! That’s one of the things that struck me this summer, when I met you, albeit briefly – your movements are pretty darn fluid. Well wishes to you this coming year!

    Ellen, now with sproglet. :)

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  27. So happy to see you striding along in fine style.
    I’m reading a book now that might interest you if you don’t know about it already – Musicophilia, Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks. Quite a few accounts of post-stroke people and how their brains have been altered in relation to their perception of music etc.

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  28. Aw my baby Bruce is getting big! Felix is sat opposite me turning a lovely Starmore shade of green ( …yes! I think I pulled off a knitting joke !) with envy at your Shetland trip!

    Very happy to see you walking freestyle without a safety net :-)

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