|Blue and Sue at the White Horse, Uffington|
On Tuesday this week we had a trip out to the White Horse at Uffington near Wantage. A place we had never visited before. The reason being that there would be no weekly swim for Blue due to the owners of the pool being away on holiday.
A relatively short trip from Reading, down the M4, in less than an hour we were parked up in the National Trust car park.
Our walk we decided would be along the famous Ridgeway to Wayland's Smithy, even though we did not have a clue what it was. Like so many walks Blue is happy to be out and about with us, though we are very mindful of where and how long to walk, dependent very much on weather and distance. Our destination was to be a mile and a quarter heading west from the car park.
Upon the gate there were signs to signify the field contained sheep and dogs must be kept on a lead, no problem for Blue. There was also an additional sign saying that due to recent incidents some livestock had to be destroyed after an encounter with a loose dog.
As said before this is not a problem for Blue, most of his walks are on a lead and he has a good temperament most of the time, but around sheep he is excellent. Once we were walking back from Haystacks in the Lake District when a whole flock came charging off the hill completely surrounding us as they passed, Blue sat and watched in bewilderment, probably too many to focus on.
The few people and dogs we saw on our outward journey on the Ridgeway were met with a courteous look and nod and we passed each other without incident.Our biggest problem was pesky flies, though they did not seem to bother Blue too much.
We arrived at Wayland's Smithy, an ancient burial ground, time for a few pictures before we made our way back along the Ridgeway to the "White horse hill"
Even with OS map we missed our turning on the return trek and extended our walk by a little bit, before finding a gate onto White horse hill. This is also the site of Uffington Castle and a chance for another photo of Blue on location.
As we made our way down, from the castle ramparts to the White horse chalk figure we came across more dog walkers, whose dogs were also well behaved on leads, and we were all having a good time.
After nearly two hours walking / sightseeing we now made our way back to the car park along a grassy track. Where bobbing up and down was a Red Setter, off lead and clearly lost, running hither and thither in the long grass, we could not do anything because of Blue, but it did disappear shortly after, presumably to its owner. Remembering the sign about dogs, leads and sheep, the sheep were noticeable by their absence, so no livestock were in any immediate danger, but either someone was being negligent or bloody minded about not putting their dog on a lead, because at no point was anyone even calling it.
When we arrived at the car park, there was a picnic bench which we all sat at to drink in the view and refreshments.
While sat there, through the gate with all the previously mentioned signs, came a woman with both her dogs not on leads, one of which was, yes you guessed the Red Setter from before. The smaller dog stayed with the owner the Red Setter wanted to check Blue out. Blue don't do checking out so took a very defensive stance and bark to match. We made no attempt to discourage him, as this dog was under no control of the owner who simply went to her car murmuring about "Shepherds"
So to the title More than a hobby?
The dictionary meaning is "Hobby - activity pursued in ones spare time"
Hobbyhorse is a "favourite topic"
Yes Blue could be described as a hobbyhorse, but to be honest he is so much more than that.
Taking Blue out is a great joy and experience, and we know he loves it so much as well.
The end of Blue's tail