Saturday, 3 November 2012

Lake District 2012 (6 of 14)

Day six had arrived, Blue woke up this morning to a new day, and his morning walk would be a wet one. So far the rains that came had been very forgiving with both the their duration and intensity.

With a wet dawn walk, breakfast was a memory and we were ready to set off. Blue the intrepid explorer had conquered all the mountains placed in his way, perhaps he should be fitted out with a North Face outfit or such like, Berghaus collar would be quite fitting.

For today it was to be a low level walk, given the strenuous climbs of the previous days. Also the weather was not exactly promising, so with low level cloud and constant threat of rain  we settled for a circuit of Buttermere, which lay at the far end of Honister Pass.

Blue always goes out as nature had intended, no cloaks,capes or coats, mind you given his temperament perhaps his dislike for getting wet may have to be reconsidered one day.

Our journey in the car is less than 30 minutes, and in a free car park for National Trust members we parked up and began our walk. The rains had eased up to just a shower of occasional drizzle, well within Blues range of acceptable dampness levels.

As we walked along the country road, we were lucky no cars passed, Blue and cars do not get on well, and especially when damp or wet, and puddles are emptied by the passing wheels, a case of hold on tight and limit Blues intention to catch the passing culprits.

People standing patiently waiting at a bus stop were viewed with suspicion and a lengthy stare, we are sure at times Blue would start a fight in a phone box.

Safely away from traffic and people we all began to relax and enjoy the walk. The lanes / track we walked through was littered with significant puddles from the earlier rains. These do not count in Blues eyes, he walks through them as if they do not exist, no adrenalin rush here, he does not like the rain, but puddles are OK.

Surprise surprise as we entered a gate, the customary greeting from the local woollies. Blue gave them a cursery look, but then on we walked. Our journey was from the Western shore and would be anti-clockwise around the lake.

This walk was one which is second nature to Blue, plenty to sniff and the occasional encounter of both humans and fellow canines, despite the occasional shower was proving to be a relaxing walk, just what we all needed.

Like all dogs, there is the equivalent of a plimsoll line, an imaginary line where dirt does not extend beyond, Blues undercarriage was only partially cleaned as he drip dried on his journey.

As we reached the head of the lake, our expected route did not exist, it was to be a bit further along and away from the waters edge.

We had to cross Peggy's Bridge, but worse than that, once over the bridge we noticed that the path ahead would lead us to Gatesgarth Farm. We have always tried to avoid farms due to the close encounters with cattle and livestock in the past, compounded by our imagination. But as a trio we moved forward with a degree of apprehension, our thoughts being picked up by Blue making him more alert to impending danger. Then as we walking through the field up ahead, I saw a large brown bull relaxing by a wall. So I alerted my companions as I stopped us in our tracks. A large mound of straw was the object of my intentions, once pointed out by Sue, we all relaxed, another visit to Specsavers was required on my part, slightly embarrassed and amused we walked on much more relaxed than a moment ago.

As we arrived at the farm Blue was to face a monumental test, our exit through the farm was to be via a narrow pathway. On one side was a dry stone wall, but on our right was an open railed ranch style fence with hundreds of sheep tightly packed in. All that would separate Blue and the sheep was timber rails not much more than one inch thick with large gaps between. Sue ensured Blue was focused on her and walked the gauntlet. Blues behaviour was exceptional no reaction, despite the occasional bleating and barracking from across the fence as the sheep were more like sardines in  a tin. The length of this section was probably about a hundred feet or so, does not sound much, but given the circumstances plenty far enough.

We reached the gate with much relief, until the other side of the gate stood a horse, well it was a horse to me. Actually it was more like a Shetland pony, Sue said "You will have to go through and move it on". Me a Towny, now all of a sudden I am a cowboy moving on livestock. As I went through the gate this obliging pony merely moved away, phew, that was lucky. We could then make our way through to the safety and sanctuary of the road.

My little pony
Blue received plenty of praise and a few well deserved treats, his restrained behaviour had been exceptional, our journey up the road would be without incident, and soon we were back on the path on the side of the lake.
More sniffing and a few photographs later we came across a tunnel carved into the rocks, this would be new challenge for Blue, as we entered the tunnel it was pitch black. The tunnel was about 7feet high and five feet wide at a guess. If you held your hand out extended in front of you, it would not be visible. Blue was eager to enter but probably more eager to exit the other end. Thankfully no one entered from the opposite end, and we emerged into daylight, very relieved.

Tunnel of love !
Looking back at our exit.

Good advice for those over six foot!
As we passed the remainder of the lake we ended up where we had begun, back at the gate we had entered over two hours previous, making our way through the track / lane, along past the puddles we returned to the road a short distance from the car park.
Sue spotted a chicken across the road and as she was telling me, this squawking feathery image leaped out in front of Blue and Sue. I thought we were going to need a bigger poo bag.
The shear surprise of the encounter was probably the only reason for Blue not trying to catch the chicken either in flight or as it ran past, down the road and into an adjacent hedgerow.
Back at the car with more rain falling, Blue had his drying robe put on and dutifully leaped into the back of the car.
We returned to base for a well earned rest and a welcome change of clothes. Our intrepid adventure was done for the day, if you take a dog out for a walk, ask yourself this;
  • Has your dog had enough exercise?
  • Has anything happened that has caught his interest?
  • Does he look happy?
  • Is he ready for a rest?
If you can answer yes to all four, you have just given your dog exactly what he wants, a small price to pay for such a loyal and lovely companion. Water and food also may be required in various quantities.
Blue can now rest and dream about today, I wonder which fellow creature will be in most prominent in his thoughts, the Sheep in their hundreds, the huge pony that have never been seen before, or the lunacy of that squawking chicken, or even the darkness of the tunnel.
I suspect all of the above, and so much more, this is turning out to be a special holiday for Blue.


Rest well Blue,

 tomorrow we will seek further adventures for you to have.