Saturday, 27 October 2012

Lake District 2012 (5 of 14)

Day five of Blue's holiday had arrived, today was going to be different.

Blue was to have his near dawn walk with his Mum, giving me a break. Truth is that Sue has missed walking Blue in the mornings. They both arrived back obviously their body language told me that a good time had been had. Blue always is keen to greet whether it is you or him arriving back home.

When I say greet, Blue does a mean impersonation of a basking shark, mouth wide open and tail fin giving extra propulsion. With every ouch the greeting becomes more gentle, perhaps one day this will change, but no harm is done there is no malice in the greeting, but the weight of impact is not that gentle, especially if the parting has been prolonged, mind you two minutes in Blues terms is a long time. (I read once that dogs have no perception of time, I do think they just miss company)

So we are all fed and ready to venture out, today our destination was to be Walla Crag.

Today as I said was going to be different, this walk was on our doorstep, the car would not be needed today. Blue had shown no ill effects of his momentous achievement yesterday in conquering Helvellyn, and like Blue it had no long lasting effects on us either.

So off we set down the lane towards Springs Farm, this would be the first challenge, as it is a farm in the past we have had the unenviable task of having to pass the farmers dogs that run free as experienced in the past. But on this occasion they were no where to be seen and the outbuilding they normally reside at is under conversion, so once again today is different.

We had walked through the woodland section on a reasonable steep ascent and Blue was having a great time sniffing and exploring where others had passed previously, the greeting of two dogs travelling the other direction was merely looks exchanged. We had walked this route a few years ago and knew the importance of the next section. A narrow path takes you along at high level over a sheer drop below, with only room enough for two obliging parties to pass, Blue is not high on the obliging stakes, so we were grateful our path was unheeded.

After crossing a small wooden bridge we entered onto a lane which was to take us past another farm, where there was a cacophony of barking from within, Blue was eager to explore, but we moved on past to see a whole herd of sheep behind the cattle gate. This was the cue to step up the pace, Blue had been OK with individual sheep, but a whole herd, who knows what his reaction would be.

For the next quarter of an hour as we moved swiftly on, now travelling uphill along a track/path, constantly looking back. We looked for escape routes in case there was a stampede from behind. But our fears were unfounded, we reached a gate to a field, which allowed us to continue to our destination and with no sign of the sheep following us we all began to relax and enjoy the walk.

With the going getting boggy in places progress was good and Blue had discovered a local delicacy.

Sheep poo!

To us it is dirty habit, but he loves it, but when you tell him to leave most times he will walk past or let it fall from from his mouth, but once he gets the flavour of it he only seeks out more, no kissy kissing tonight then :-))

Although the views were getting better, this meant nothing to Blue as all he would see was the dry stone walling which was our companion as we moved on up the hill. Blue was not able to see what was the other side of the wall, perhaps just as well. The wall separated us from a bull and a herd of cows, who had nothing on their mind than to graze.

As we reached the top of the field we entered through a gate in the wall to make our final passage to Walla Grag. Just then the rain clouds that had loomed in the distance had decided on paying us a visit, so hastily jackets and hats were retrieved from the rucksack, fortunately in the Lake District rain showers can go as quick as they arrive.

We were not prepared for the final bit of the ascent, the path had become a very narrow path over wet and muddy rocks adjacent to significant falls.

Blue wearing his halti followed my direction, well not so much direction, more like wait,steady and good boy said repeatedly. Blue is not exactly Bambi on ice, but he is also no comparison to a mountain goat, neither of which we had encountered on our journey, our final path was hindered by a couple of people sorting out their rucksacks directly on the path ahead, Blue gave them the look which was as much to say shift we are coming through, and they obliged by stepping aside.

Though Walla Crag is not a mountain, it has had its own challenges to ascend, but the views across Derwent Water and of the surrounding mountains were worth every step. Blue enjoyed the celebration of reaching this little summit, treats,cuddles and praise, no kiss's though.

Unlike the previous day we were not being battered by the wind, and today we had the camera tripod and remote control, time for a family photo or two.

Family photo
After having a cupper and a snack enjoying the views, time to return. We decided it was a bit hairy the ascent, so chose a different path to return, only a minor detour but without having to traverse slippery rocks over open ledges. This came at a cost, the terrain was more marshy and wetter underfoot.
Blue and mud get the juices going, he doesn't appear to want to dive or roll in the mud but wants to gallop like a pony, but because there are sheep known to be in the field, there is no way we would let him off led, we know others do, but dogs have been shot dead where they have attacked or worried sheep, Blue will not become another statistic on that story.
But the paws were collecting the mud as we travelled along, Blue was wearing it as a pad moisturiser

Mucky paws
Was it the need to scratch an itch or try the mud pack for a beauty treatment on his face, but Blue gave it a go, he is already a handsome dog, so he was persuaded to leave the beauty products for others'

Scooting along nozzle first
As we arrived at the farm that had all the sheep, there were only a few behind the gate, they must have returned and not be about to go out. We decided to return home along the country lanes and roads, a detour from our outward journey. Along part of the way once again the rains come, which helped to clean Blues under carriage before we were to arrive home.
Once more the days walk had been a great excursion for all of us, I did say today would be different, but in this respect it is like so many before, wonderful.
Back at the cottage we all settled to reflect on the days events, our walk had been 3 hours and fifteen minutes over a journey of nearly five miles, an adventure every step of the way.
One vital job remained for Blue, bring his herd together and rest a bit, once dinner was eaten, Blue would be settled for the evening.

Recharging the batteries for tomorrow.