In Which We Head North

My BH likes books about a bear. No idea why. Okay, it’s furry and has 4 paws, but it’s not a dog… It’s called Winnie the Pooh. Which I think is quite a rude name. Anyway, she has decided to follow the style of Pooh’s adventures in our post titles for the next wee while. I’ve decided to humour her.

We went on what Pooh would call “an Expotition to the Far North” in June. It was very exciting as we started by going to a “tweet-up” of the Twitter Border Terrier posse (#BTposse), a very active set of tweeters and many have become good friends. It was quite far north in a place called Blair Atholl so we decided that, after it, we would just keep going north to visit my pal Murphy and his human.

We started off meeting everyone at the car park in the village. Rubbish pic as it’s mostly backs of humans, but it’s the only one she took:

We all just want to say Hello…

Once we started, we had a lovely walk in the woods – my favourite kind of walk. We came out near the big house/castle/place… They have a huge estate (why does one family get to own all this, I do wonder??).

@LeoTheBorder (I think) managed to get a photo of most of us. I was very well behaved and got lots of treats!

We’re all (mostly) being extraordinarily good here…

It was lovely to see all the furs again. We’ve got to know some of them quite well, because we have about 3 meetings a year, usually at the Kelpies or Dunbar.

From Blair Atholl, we headed north to stay at The Drey, a lovely cabin owned by BH’s friend Karen and my friend Murphy. We’ve been secretly road-testing the cabin for dogs, so we couldn’t mention we’d been staying there before. But now it’s open to well-behaved dogs (like me, sort of!) and so I can – paw on heart – say that it’s a fab place to stay.

There are nice views, although I do have to be kept from exploring the lane as there’s traffic on it occasionally:

Sometimes the fields have cows in them, but me’n’Murphy took our humans for a walk in the one where there were no cows. Just rabbits πŸ™‚

Murphy doesn’t like going in a car, so we went with Karen for a walk further afield.

We even had lunch at a nice dog-friendly place (The Storehouse of Foulis). We’ve been before and eaten outside but it was a wee bit chilly for that so we were glad to be allowed inside. The humans tell me the food was lovely and I did get the end of a chip or 3!

We also managed to visit some friends of ours who have moved north to a place near Tain. It’s even further north, but it was worth it πŸ™‚

In between times, we headed for our regular walk in the woods when we stay at The Drey, the Reelig Glen.

All in all, a long drive – but worth it to meet up with good friends, both furs and humans πŸ™‚

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Wintry Walks – Part 2

I know. It’s not exactly winter, is it? In fact, we had a really hot week here last week (not as hot as down south, but still a bit toasty for me). Which is exactly the point I made to my typist. “It’s February since you last typed up my adventures…”, I complained, “…and my readers have been asking for more…”. Well, my pal Dexter has, anyway, but I didn’t let her know that he was the only one asking! Anyway, she’s promised to catch up over the next wee while (though she has muttered about tax returns to be done).

So this is a quick round up of some walks earlier this year, mostly with pals…

Pollok Park: You may remember from Wintry Walks – Part 1 that we had a LOT of rain in February, well, it carried on and we had to cope with the path turning into a river and fields turning into large duck ponds:

The Falkirk Wheel: Later that month, we met up with my pal Eddie and his BH, Clare. We’d been trying to meet up for ages and finally we managed it, even if BH did get lost on the way to the Wheel! It was a nice day and we went for a walk through the tunnel and along the canal:

Loch Ardinning: We had such a nice walk at Christmas that me’n’BH went back to visit it after we’d had some snow. I loved it and was running around like a puppy in the snow!

Claypits: Me’n’Bella went back to Claypits so now I can show you lots more of the baby trees they’ve planted there. We also discovered the chute someone had told us about, which is on the other side of the canal from the park:

Mugdock: Me and my pal Bertie played “prisoner” but, honestly, it wasn’t much of a jail!

In March, the weather was better and we went back to some old favourites. We had a lovely walk near Overtoun House at Lang Craigs. You may remember that we had to clamber though or past that fallen tree the last time we were there:

And we went back to Pollok and this time there was no flooding:

So that’s our walks up to March 2022. I’ve had a sore shoulder on & off most of this year since then so our walking became a bit more limited after that, but more of that next time.

Wintry Walks – Part 1

A round-up of some of my walks in January and February 2022 (so far – I might add some more if we go somewhere else interesting!).

Me and my pal Bella (@aitchbea1 on Twitter) go walking together quite often (though she has hurt her shoulder just now and isn’t doing bigger walks, sadly).

Our first walk in January was a new location for us, from a friend who’d taken her dog there over the holidays. It’s an urban nature reserve called Claypits, right in the heart of Glasgow.

It’s not very big…

It’s quite a small reserve but we extended the walk out round the basin you can see at the top of the map. Apparently it used to be used for logs… There are boards explaining the history of the site.

BH didn’t take many pictures, so I can’t show you all the baby trees that have been planted but there were loads of them.

You can see a few baby trees at the right…

We did the main walk in the park, going up to the viewpoint to look at Glasgow spread out below us. Well, the BHs did. We wandered off, sniffing around trees and stuff. Much more interesting than playing Spot-The-Building! After that, we walked out along the canal and round by a big “basin” as it is called.

We came back along the other side of the canal and looked down on a zig-zaggy set of paths down the hill, not that BH took a photo, sadly. It turns out that the “paths” are actually a chute that people can slide down! We’ll have to try that next time we go πŸ™‚

But the humans did find a fun spot, though personally I think it was meant for children…

Guess what Bella’s BH Is holding up??

Another time, me and BH went back to a park we got to know during lock-down last year, Drumpellier Country Park. At that time, my BH was desperate to find a new park to visit within 5 miles of the city boundary, as that was the rule during Glasgow’s very long lock-down. Anyway, in January we found some “unofficial” paths through the woodland at Drumpellier. That’s my very favourite kind of walk, as I snuffle stuff and even dig up roots to eat. We usually go on those paths now for part of our walks there.

We also went back to Lochan Spling by Loch Ard to visit some of the sculptures:

At the end of January, me ‘n’ Bella headed out to Lang Craigs for a windy walk after one of the big storms. It was a lovely day but definitely blew our ears about!

Our first challenge was a tree that had blown down across our path. My BH went round it…

…I went under it…
…while Bella & her BH went through it!

Worth it for the lovely views though…

…and we looked very lovely too!

Until Bella found something lovely and sticky and smelly to roll in. The BHs were not happy.

Bella looks very happy though πŸ™‚

Like most folk, we’ve had quite a few storms in the last month or so. One even blew down part of our fence at home:

Sadly I wasn’t allowed to chase next door’s cat 😦

But all the rain meant that the rivers and ponds have been FULL of water. One of our favourite parks, Rouken Glen, has a river running through it and some waterfalls, and they were very noisy!

And on a cold day at our nearest park, Queens Park, even the wooden ducks were huddled together for warmth!

A cold morning at Queens Park…
Brrr, too cold for the ducks!

Me ‘n’ Bella also went to Mugdock. My BH was trying to get pictures of “first signs of spring” for her photography group so there were LOTS of photos of snowdrops. I liked this one:

And then they were taking silly ones of shadows, so I thought I’d sneak myself in! I’m a bit hard to spot so I’ve made it more obvious πŸ™‚

That’s it for now. If we go to any interesting places in the rest of February, I’ll add them in here πŸ™‚

A cracking Christmas walk

On Christmas Day afternoon, me and my walking buddy Bella went for a walk with our BHs. Bella’s BH introduced us to a wonderful new circular walk, lovely and muddy, with great views (and streams for hot days in the summer).

The Loch Ardinning Wildlife Reserve is just north of Glasgow so it didn’t take long to get there.

We did the circular walk on the reserve map below, though we didn’t have the map beforehand and only found out about the full walk thanks to Bella’s BH chatting to a family of picnickers braving the freezing winds!

The map is right – there are LOTS of viewpoints!

It was nice walking through the trees and even better playing on the rocks and even better running about the muddy paths up along the higher stretch. Bella was running about like a puppy πŸ™‚ I wasn’t long out of vet hospital (I got home on Christmas Eve after an overnight stay to sort out my tummy) and I was definitely feeling better but I was no match for Bella!

Views over to Ben Lomond from the first viewpoint…

Though me ‘n’ Bella were more interested in sniffing along the paths…

….and begging for treats (which we did successfully all afternoon πŸ™‚ )

We spotted nice drinking and splashing streams for the summertime too:

The humans were more interested in the views. And the skies were indeed amazing as the sun began to slip down…

All in all, one of the best Christmas afternoon walks I’ve ever done!

Strolls in Strathyre

In December, we went on holiday with our good friend Ally. She very kindly invited us to join her in a forest cabin at Strathyre. We’d been there before but not in a top-of-the-range cabin with a lovely wood-burner in the corner to keep us cosy. So a big thank you to Ally πŸ™‚

Toasty!

It’s just as well the cabin was nice and warm, though, as the weather was not particularly kind to us for the first couple of days. We did manage to dodge the rain and go for some walks though. I say “some walks” but we actually did the same walk each day, although in different directions! It’s partly because my tummy was a bit poorly while we were away and I wasn’t up for any of the longer walks my BH had thought about.

On the first afternoon, we set off a bit later than planned because it took AGES to unpack all the food they’d brought – honestly, you would have thought we were staying for a month! Although it was getting a little dark, we did manage an out-and-back walk by Loch Lubnaig.

There’s the moon peeking through the clouds…

The next day, we went back out along by the loch but this time we had time (we thought) for a longer walk. After a bit, we turned up into the forest along a very wet track. At least it wasn’t raining!

Lots of puddles everywhere….

The track is quite long and heads towards a hill called Ben Ledi, on the other side of the Stank Glen (not a very nice name, you’d think?). It was gradually getting darker and BH had forgotten her torch and it had started to drizzle, so we hurried along and were glad to see the hill appear from the mists and even happier to see the sign for home.

Ben Ledi is lurking in the clouds…
Yay, that’s the sign for home!

It was definitely getting a bit darker by now and the path down is quite steep and rocky, rather than a big forest track. BH had to be a bit careful on it. I was okay cos I’m quite nimble with my 4 paws πŸ™‚ We did make it back to the cabin safely but BH decided that in future she would take a torch and that we would go up the steep bit first so that we came home on the big wide safe tracks.

So the next day we did the same walk in reverse. We managed to avoid the rain, so we could play “chase the pine cone” for a while. Well, BH throws it and I chase after it…

Here it is, throw it again! (please)
Somehow the views are different, walking the other way…
It’s much easier to walk this path when it gets darker!

By the next day, I was still being sick in the morning so BH took me along to a very nice vet in Callander who felt my tummy, gave me an injection to stop me feeling sick and some pills to make my tummy less acid. I did feel better after that and we went back out that afternoon for our usual walk (up the steep bit and back along the track). It was very misty up in the forest that day, although it didn’t rain or drizzle.

It cleared up nicely by the time we got down to the loch on the last stretch back to the cabin, so we had time to play by the water.

And then it was back to a lovely log fire and our good pal Ally…

Thanks for our holiday, Ally!

That last night, we had a lovely view of the moon through the cabin windows…

Sadly, the next day it was time to pack up, hoover (I HATE HOOVERS) and go home, but we had a lovely holiday, ate loads of good food (well, the humans did) and managed not to get too wet!

A trip to the Far North

In November, we headed north, up to and a bit past Inverness to a wee place called Lentran overlooking the Beauly Firth and Ben Wyvis. Our friend Karen lives there with her dog, Murphy, and she invited us to help her to celebrate a Big Birthday. We were very happy to do that πŸ™‚

I have a confession to make, though, so best to get it out of the way first.

I was not very well behaved in the house. Me & my pal Murphy get on very well normally on our walks, where we’re outside. On lead or off lead, we like walking with each other, letting each other know about good sniffs to be had and leaving pee-mail in the same spots. Inside, it’s a bit different. My BH made the mistake of lifting me onto her lap for a cuddle and in an instant I turned from cute terrier into raging beast, snarling at poor ol’ Murph in his own home. He wasn’t having that (can’t say I blame him) and he snarled right back. After a few snarly episodes, it was decided that I needed to stay in our bedroom for mealtimes, while Murphy was left to snooze in his BH’s bedroom in the evenings after supper. It kind of worked, so at least I’ve not been banned from visiting again!

Before we went to Karen’s house, we met up with some friends, Judith & Gordon, who moved to the Far North recently. We haven’t seen them for ages, so it was great to catch up and hear about their move. I thought it was even better that I got the ends of the bread BH had with her soup πŸ˜‰ We’ve not been for a pub lunch for a very long time, thanks to COVID, but I’m encouraging BH to do it again soon (and to order food that she can share with me, of course).

Me and BH went to the local woods at Reelig a couple of times on our own. We’d been there before and there’s a nice loop you can do through the trees by the river.

This is at the top of the walk where you cross and come back down t’other side

We also went for a couple of walks with Karen (not Murphy cos he loathes car journeys). The first one was on the nice day, when we went back to Glen Affric for a wander. It’s quite a long drive to get there, but there’s plenty to explore.

We went to the farthest car park first…

BH got her posh camera out and tried taking some photos. They’re ok (ish) but the nicer ones (with me) were taken on the phone. I like the phone ones better!

See… much better when I’m in the picture! πŸ˜‰

We drove back to the halfway-along car park (it’s called Dog Falls, I think, which is a bit alarming for us dogs!). Thankfully we stayed in the car and had lunch, so no risk of me falling anywhere.

I *think* this was taken at the second car park

The next day, the weather wasn’t quite as nice but we went for an out-and-back walk in some woods. I think if we lived up there (maybe, one day!) we would explore and go off the main track but we stuck to the main path this time. Mostly cos BH hadn’t put her wellies on…

Can’t we go exploring this time??

All too soon, it was time to get back in the car and head south to home. It was lovely to visit though, even if no-one shared the birthday cupcakes with me 😦 Obsessed with food? Me?

A long but lovely walk in Comrie

In October, me and my pal Bella went for a walk in Comrie with our Beloved Humans (BHs).

The mission we accepted that day was to walk along the river from Dalchonzie (near Comrie) to St Fillans, to sniff out wild creatures, to leave & check pee-mail at every opportunity, to earn treats for good behaviour (or not being bad), to slurp fresh water from burns, to beg treats from the BHs at a cafe at lunchtime, and then to lord it over everyone else as we headed back to the car in style on a bus.

That was the mission. I can report that it very nearly went completely to plan πŸ™‚

It was a lovely walk and started off in sunshine, just the way we like it.

What a lovely colourful start…

Most of the walk is along an old railway line, which means it is pretty flat all the way so just perfect for the BHs. You can see signs that it was a railway…

…like the cutting through the rock…

This is Bella on one of the bridges on a previous outing along this route (since neither BH thought to take a photo of her this time!!):

Bella on an old bridge
Photo by Bella’s BH

A couple of times, the path went through fields or unfenced bits with animals in (sheep or cows) so we had to go on the lead, but most of the walk we were as free as a bird.

Which was great, because we found some birds. I don’t usually chase birds but, for some reason, I just loved loved flushing out lots of pheasants and chasing them. You’d think I was a spaniel, I had so much fun! It was probably the best bit of the whole walk for me. Perhaps not for the BHs, mind you.

Bella’s BH likes taking photos of the plants and things we see along our walks, so here are a couple of her photos:

Along the way, we did see a more unusual creature on the hillside…

What’s a shark doing in the bracken?!?

We climbed up behind St Fillans, past a lovely smelly farm with lots of cows and past the site of the old railway station, and then dropped down to the main road to find the cafe. Lunch was great. Me & Bella both got treats and bits of the cheesy toasties that the BHs had. It was truly yummy.

By then, the weather wasn’t so good (it started raining heavily around then) so we were glad to hurry along to the bus stop in plenty of time to catch the bus back to the car. The BHs had even remembered their bus passes (you have to be quite old to get one of those). Unfortunately… they hadn’t quite worked out the bus timetable correctly. Instead of it being about 10 minutes until the next bus, it was over 2 hours!

Much agitation later, after attempts to check which timetable was right and trying to hire a taxi (which was a wait of several days!), we all finally agreed that the only option was – yes, you’ve guessed it – to walk back along the path to the car.

To our relief, the rain did stop so we didn’t get very wet and the sun came out again. In fact, the views were even nicer at times on the way home:

The view on the way to St Fillans…
…and the view on the way home
(Photo by Bella’s BH)

And on the way back, the BHs were very excited to see red kites soaring above the woods and fields. They weren’t entirely sure that’s what they were but they had very distinctive marks under their wings. Fortuitously, my BH’s pal Karen – who is a professional wildlife photographer – had been out the day before photographing kites and one looked just like the birds we saw πŸ™‚

She’s given us permission to use her photo – do check out her blog and website for some brilliant photos (and opportunities to go out with her to learn how to take great photos).

Red kite at Tollie (c) Karen Miller 2021

We were all glad to get back to the car, it has to be said! But it was a lovely day out with great adventures & views & treats & smells, so it was all worth it πŸ™‚

Our first holiday in 2 years!

This is a bit belated (blame the typist, who says she had tax returns to do – 3 of them!) but better late than never as they say.

In October, one of our many postponed-by-covid holidays actually happened and we went back to Ardgartan, a Forest Holidays site, complete with forest walks, comfy lodge and hot tub for the humans. We were last there over 3 years ago and it hadn’t changed much, apart from a bit of mask-wearing. Not that we spent much time in places that needed that (I’m glad I don’t have to wear one!).

Lots of other Forest Holiday places for us to visit…
Still not a fan of the “parking” spot though!

We went with our good friend, Carolyn, who took some pics of my Beloved Human – it’s very unusual to see her in my posts!

Look, my BH!

We had a couple of good days of nice weather and one VERY wet day, but we did manage to do a few good walks on the days when it wasn’t blowing a hoolie.

Our first evening at Ardgartan…

We made the most of the nice weather the next day and went over the Rest & Be Thankful to visit some forests on the way round to Dunoon. It’s a lovely drive but the road is prone to landslips (they were working on it when we drove along it) and it’s quite often closed for heavy rain in case more of the mountain slips down. So we definitely wanted to go before the heavy rain!

Me n Carolyn at the Rest & Be Thankful

Our first stop was Glenbranter Forest. Me and BH had been there in 2018 but the path we wanted to explore, going to the waterfalls, was closed then because of fallen trees so we were very happy to see that it was open this time.

It was a beautiful sunny morning and the woods were just lovely to look at, with loads of great places to sniff out small furry creatures.

Who’re you looking at?
I didn’t sniff this for too long… didn’t think I would like the taste!
Lots of fresh water to drink though…
It’s the Waterfall Trail for us – after 3 years of waiting!

There were lots of waterfalls and lots of good places to see them from…

After we’d explored the waterfalls, we headed back to the car park as it was past our lunchtime and we were all hungry!

Quick march back to the car and lunch!

And then we were off again, to explore a beautiful place called Puck’s Glen. We drove down the side of Loch Eck, which was as lovely as ever.

Unfortunately, at Puck’s Glen we found that the very best bit of the glen was closed as a bridge was unsafe.

We did make a start on the diversion path…

…but it wasn’t a patch on either the morning’s walk or the last time we came to the glen. Then it got a bit steep…

....yep, too steep for a certain BH…

…so the humans decided not to bother going any further and to head back to the cabin’s hot tub for some fizz and snacks. Which is all very well for humans but no fun at all for me, as I’m not allowed in the tub (wouldn’t want to, being honest), I’m not allowed fizz and they can be a bit mean with the snacks.

This time, it was a cuppa, rather than fizz!

The next day was lovely too. We started with an early morning walk along the beach as the tide was coming in.

I had a brilliant time exploring all the pools and seaweed, but I was very puzzled by all the bubbles in the sand…

What’s causing all those bubbles ??

BH thought it might be the sea water going into all the worm holes on the beach (“lugworms”, she said) but we don’t really know for sure.

For our main walk, we parked in the big car park on the edge of Arrochar (at Succoth) and started up the path that hill walkers use to get to The Cobbler and some of the big mountains above Arrochar. We climbed up as far as the forestry road and then headed along it past Succoth.

An easy walk along the track…
…with some waterfalls along the way…
…and some nice views too

That night, the humans had a special meal, mostly to celebrate seeing each other for the first time in 2 years. They were too busy eating it to take pictures, so this is the best I can do:

All I got were some crumbs of the crusty bread 😦

The next day, the weather was NOT great. We went back to the beach during a break in the rain, and it looked a wee bit different…

This is the same view as before, just with more cloud!
Even the sea looked different!

That afternoon the humans decided that they would like to try the hot tub in the pouring rain! Definitely weird! The rest of the afternoon was spent playing games, watching a movie (the humans had leaky eyes by the end of it – aww) and snoozing on the sofa πŸ™‚

It’s called “Triominoes” or something like that…
PS hair-do courtesy of hot tub in the rain πŸ˜‰
Tell me when the rain stops…

After the rain finally stopped, we went into the local woods for a wander by the river. There was LOTS more water than the days before!

That was our last day at Ardgartan, but we enjoyed it even with the rubbish weather. The next day, we had to pack up and head home. But it was just SOOOO good to get away and back out into some lovely countryside. We’ll be going on holiday again soon, I hope!

Pollok Park’s gardens

This is a part of Pollok Park that we usually just walk through without noticing as it is between the car park and the riverside walk we do. But this was a lovely day (May 2021), we’d just had our holiday cancelled due to covid, and BH thought she’d cheer herself up seeing some of the beautiful gardens. [We also went back a couple of days later to fill in some gaps, as BH forgot to take pics of those bits!]

The gardens are next to Pollok House. Nowadays they are managed as a demonstration garden (or so the official leaflet says). They are fairly impressive, to be honest.

There used to be a sign up saying “dogs on leads” in the gardens but it’s not there any more so I’m allowed to be free!

First of all, there are the formal gardens…

Once you get past the old buildings, there are greenhouses and a formal walk between lawn areas. There are lots of benches with people’s names on them.

At this point, we normally stick to the back of the gardens underneath the woodland walks higher up. There’s a rockery sort of an area with winding paths and pools. It’s my favourite bit of the gardens, especially if it is sunny as there’s lots of shade.

But the lawn areas are nice too, with some beautiful spring planting (the tulips are amazing) and some quirky bits too:

Even the workers’ building has some planting outside…

There’s also a large fruit and veg area, where they grow lots of stuff and give it away πŸ™‚

Then, when you get outside the veg area, lurking in the woods is…

That’s the end of the gardens area, as after that you get to the path by the river and a great swimming spot for me. To be honest, that’s more my kind of thing, so you can expect to see more of that in my park posts in future!

The fun bit – a drying-off woogle after my dip in the river!

My guides to parks – start here!

First off, let me say that this will be a terrier’s-eye view of parks that I visit. Don’t expect anything about playgrounds, toilets or cafes (unless they are fur-friendly!). Do expect everything to be from a 4-pawed view of the world!

Next, I have a lot of photos from a lot of years from quite a lot of parks…! Below you’ll find a fairly random selection of places we’ll be looking at (you’ll need to ignore the captions as they go with the posts they were originally in!!).

As there’s quite a few places to cover, I won’t be writing these all in one go. I was going to do one post per park and just add to each over time, but then I thought that might be confusing and they could get quite long, and it might be hard for people to find things they’re interested in. So instead I’m going to do different posts and group them under the park name so people can see all the posts listed for a particular park. Let me know if that doesn’t work for you!

Oh and just because this is my guides to “parks”, don’t expect every post to be about an actual park. Sometimes we go to nature reserves or forests and I might include them too if we go there regularly.

By way of background, I live in Glasgow in Scotland. Which means most of the parks I know best are in or near Glasgow…!

Occasionally we go on our travels (although not much since covid started sadly), but I won’t include holidays in this series as I put them under a different category. I might just include a nature reserve in Surrey though as we go there a lot when visiting BH’s family in the Far South.

Enough rambling…! Time to start on my first park guide πŸ™‚