Pub regulars rescue tangled swan at Water of Leith

The SSPCA was alerted to the stricken swan in March.
The SSPCA was alerted to the stricken swan in March.
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A nesting swan with a baseball cap tangled around her foot was rescued thanks to the combined efforts of Samaritans – regulars and owners at a local pub on the Shore in 
Leith.

The female swan, who lives on that stretch of the river, had a nest of eggs to tend to, highlighting the importance of setting her free.

The pen had been tangled with the baseball cap for quite some time.

The pen had been tangled with the baseball cap for quite some time.

After the initial phone call by a regular from their pub, Malt & Hops pair Calum McKay and Jim McKenna racked their brains to try and source a boat to aid the swan’s rescue.

“It was a Malt & Hops regular who spotted the swan,” said publican Calum, 48. “It was struggling to swim and get air borne.”

Mr McKay managed to source the boat from a contact at the Water of Leith 2000, the firm which looks after the stretch of riverbed between the Shore and Largo Place.

“We got a call from the SSPCA about two or three weeks ago,” he explained.

Two men from the Malt & Hops pub on the Shore offered the SSPCA use of their boat to aid the rescue.

Two men from the Malt & Hops pub on the Shore offered the SSPCA use of their boat to aid the rescue.

“I then tried to get a hold of someone who had a boat.”

“The boat was arranged with one of the guys I know at the Water of Leith 2000, it was this really impromptu kind of thing,” continued Calum. “They’ve got a little tender there on standby and we’ve organised river clear-ups with them in the past. There is actually a programme to clear 
rubbish from the river every six weeks or so. Sometimes we go and take the worst of it out if we can.”

However, as they got closer to the swan, the rescue team realised she wasn’t quite so immobile as previously feared, as Calum explained: “When we went up river we soon realised she wasn’t in quite a struggle as we first thought – she was still able to outrun us.

“Eventually Darren from the SSPCA managed to get a hook over the swan and get it to safety.

“Once she was free she went straight back to her nest.”

Scottish SPCA Animal Rescue Officer Melissa Maitland said: “The poor swan had been tangled up for some time.

“Two very kind gentlemen, Calum Mckay and Jim Mckenna, from the Malt and Hops pub, volunteered to take us out on their boat to rescue the swan.”

“My colleague Sarah Auldsmith and I went out on the water to catch the swan which proved tough as she was so quick.

“After several attempts of trying to catch her Darren Malcolm, another colleague, saved the day and was able to grab her with the swan hook from the river bank. He cut the cap off and she was quickly released back to her partner and settled back into her nest with eggs.

“We’re all so glad we could help her and it’s great to see her back in the water, where she belongs.”

Anyone concerned about the welfare of an animal should contact the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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