A HELMET saved a Dutch tourist from serious injury when a startled sheep ran into his bike.
Ton van Welie flew over the handlebars and landed on the road on his head.
The 42-year-old consultant got to his feet with blood from a head wound all over his arms and shirt.
He desperately tried to call his wife but there was no mobile phone signal.
At that point a car arrived on the narrow back road from Laurieston to Gatehouse and immediately stopped to help.
An ambulance was called and father of one Ton was rushed to Dumfries Infirmary where a cut on his face was stitched.
Ton was visiting family in the area when he decided to go out for a ride on his bike.
He had been flying down a hill when the sheep ran out in front of him.
It was only when he retrieved his cracked helmet he realised how lucky he was.
“It could have been so much worse,” he said. “I was lucky.
“It’s these moments you really become aware of the necessity of wearing a helmet all the time.
“I tried to brake as much as possible and because of the speed I was launched and landed on my head and shoulders on the road.”
Ton gave the good samaritans in the car his family phone numbers.
“My wife once gave me a note with all the necessary numbers to keep my pocket,” he said.
“Because their phone was also out of reach they stopped a car and another cyclist who was passing by and they gave them the numbers to call.”
He added: “What strikes me is the friendliness of all the people involved in Dumfries Infirmary and Castle Douglas Hospital.
“Someone delivered my bike to the hospital which I think is a great thing to do. I would be happy to know his or her name in order to send a personal thank you to them.
“I really would like to thank everyone who helped me, the ladies who found me first and the people who phoned the ambulance and my family and the paramedics and doctors.”
Ton had been visiting the area with his wife Kirsteen Campbell, who is originally from Twynholm.
The couple and their daughter Fenke stayed with Kirsteen’s parents in the village.
Ton has now made a full recovery and is back home with his family in The Hague in the Netherlands.
His mother in law Helen Campbell, said: “I do not think his accident will put him off cycling here.
“But I think he will be more careful when he meets up with a flock of sheep on his next holiday.”