Meandering in Melrose

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In March, we went on our very first overnight trip in Poggle, staying in a small town in the Scottish Borders called Melrose. I’m happy to report that the trip was mostly okay though there were some scary bits…

@HeatherAlex quite sensibly decided that our first trip would be to a proper site, with water and toilets and electricity and all that (and a pub nearby!), just to make life easier on our first sleep-over. Mind you, someone got soaked trying to fill the water tank – a little matter of a high-pressure nozzle on the hose which did an imitation of a whirling dervish when the water was turned on! #chuckle

Once we’d parked up and she’d dried out a bit, we went out for a walk up some local hills called the Eildons – there are 3 tops to do, but we only did one of them.

view of Eildons

2 of the 3 tops (we only did the one on the left)

The start is quite steep, up a LOT of steps. Easy-peasy for me, of course…

steps on Eildon path

Someone (not me) was puffing by the top of these!

The lower slopes are covered in gorse.

lower slops of Eildons

Look at all that rabbit-infested gorse πŸ˜‰

Fellow rabbiteers will know, like me, that gorse bushes are an amazing place to hunt out rabbits. Which made it very unfair that I was on the lead as soon as she spotted the gorse 😦

Now the path from the steps to the gorse was a bit muddy but, oh my goodness, the next section was a VERY muddy and slippery pathway, inches deep in orange mud. Now I don’t mind a bit of mud, I must confess, and I have 4 paws so I’m pretty sure-footed in amongst it, but it’s a lot harder for humans to keep their balance especially with me tugging on that lead. I think @HeatherAlex was worried about slipping over, which is why we only did one of the 3 tops. At least, that’s what she said – personally, I think she had run out of puff!

Once we were past the gorse, we did play quite a lot of Fetch with my ball so I did get a chance to run around a bit.

On the Eildon path

A quick break from chasing the ball to check for rabbits…

And then we were at the top!

I do manage a very nice Sit & Wait πŸ™‚

Coming down was every bit as muddy and slippery, not to mention rabbit-less thanks to my lead, but we made it in the end. We went to the pub for “a swift half and a chew” (I’ll let you work out who had what!), but it was very crowded and noisy, thanks to the Scotland-England rugby match being on the tv. Don’t ask me about the score, it’s still a sore point… So we wandered around Melrose for a while before tea – there’s a nice abbey but we didn’t go in.

Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey

The actual sleeping-over was okay, to my surprise. It was like a proper bed with all our usual blanket, fleece & so on, so it was more or less like home. The only bit I really really didn’t like was when @HeatherAlex went off to the toilets in the morning, and I started being a bit frightened and shivery till she got back.

We were going home that day (it really was a short trip) but we managed to fit in a walk by the river before we left.

chain link bridge

We’re headed for that bridge…

Tweed banks

I do love walking beside a river…

All too soon, it was time to turn around and head back to Poggle.

chain link bridge

Can you read the notice? No horses or cattle, no loitering or jumping, and no more than 8 people at a time…

chain link bridge

And there are the Eildons again…

We headed home after that walk, happy that we’d survived our first stay in Poggle!

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Chillin’ in Contin

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This month, we had a bit of an adventure. Normally, when we go on holiday, we rent a dog-friendly cottage in an interesting place with lots of walks and fur-friendly places to visit. This time, it was a bit different. No cottage for us – we rented a campervan instead. It was from Big Tree Campervans near Perth who have a fur-friendly campervan.

campervan

Our van! (it’s called Alder)

Simon from Big Tree was very helpful and kind to us newbie campervanners and showed us how everything worked. Well, actually he showed @HeatherAlex while I ran off and explored their garden πŸ™‚

The van was bigger than I thought it would be. Lots of room for all our stuff (I need lots and lots of my favourite things when we go away!) and a kitchen and cupboards and a seat that turns round and a clever bed that folds out. Oh, and another bed in the roof – that was VERY clever – not that I was allowed up there in case I fell through the hole in the ceiling.

Twiglet on seat

But it’s rather a long way up here…

Now the first thing I noticed when we drove off was that @HeatherAlex was a lot further away from me than she is in a car. I was a bit lonely all the way back there on the seat, so I tried jumping off it a few times, until I was told very firmly to stay put and the harness safety lead was shortened so I didn’t have much choice 😦

We drove for quite a bit, with a visit to a place called Ralia for lunch, a quick walk and checking of pee-mail, and finally we ended up in a wee village not far from Inverness called Contin, at the Riverside campsite.

Roverside sign

Our home-from-home for 3 days…

Guess why it’s called that?

riverside pic

Yep, there’s a river at the end of the site πŸ™‚

Once we’d parked up, it was time to put the roof up because someone kept bumping her head πŸ˜‰ During the day, we could fold up the bed platform so it was out of the way.

van with roof up

There’s a bed in that roof!

If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t entirely sure about this campervanning malarkey. It probably didn’t help that the weather was cold and wet. I did point out that the previous week was lovely and sunny and would’ve been much better but that didn’t cheer anyone up for some reason. I had to be on a lead on the campsite, but I didn’t want to be in the van, so I sat outside for a bit getting wet.

Twiglet sitting outside

I *know* it’s raining but the van’s too small for the 2 of us!

Eventually, we went for a walk in the forest at Contin, which is handily just a few minutes’ walk away down the main road.

Contin forest sign

Time for a forest walk πŸ™‚

It wasn’t a very long walk though because I was a bit fed up and didn’t want to walk very far. Well, it was raining, after all! Life improved when our friend Ally arrived though, and we went for another walk in the wee wood across the road…

five-acre wood

All set for our big walk…

Actually, 5 acres isn’t very big at all so it only took us about 10 minutes to walk round the whole wood! I did have to stop and inspect a Giant Squirrel though.

wooden sculpture

It’s HUGE!!

So quite soon we were back at the van, and it was time to celebrate Ally’s big birthday.

birthday cake

Happy Birthday Ally!

I wasn’t allowed any of the chocolate cake (sigh) but I did get some special treats.

Twiglet getting a treat

Yummy, it’s chicken!

It was quite cosy in the van, and the heater worked very well (just as well as it was chilly outside). Bedtime was … interesting. Ally had to climb up into the roof-bed (that was quite fun to watch). We turned the seat into our bed but I was still not very happy about being dragged away from my home, smells, parks and pals, and I slept on the other side of the bed for most of the night just to show I wasn’t very pleased. Until I got too cold and started shivering, so I caved in and snuggled up to keep warm.

The next day we all went for a nice long forest walk. We started at Rogie Falls and worked our way almost all the way back to Contin then turned round and headed back to the car at Rogie.

Rogie falls suspension bridge

The bridge at the falls has gaps in it – I had to be careful where I put my paws!

Rogie Falls

The falls are quite impressive…

I was keeping an eye out for deer to chase, but the only deer we saw was carved on a signpost.

signpost

You’d think the signpost was pointing to where you’d find deer, wouldn’t you?

We found a great spot for lunch. Someone has built a shelter in the forest and it was big enough for us to sit and have lunch inside it, out of the showers.

wooden stick shelter

My own lunch place…

Well, to be honest, once the other two were inside, there wasn’t that much room for me!

Twig in the doorway

I need to fit in as well, you know!

We added in a detour up to a place in the middle of the forest called View Rock. I think on a sunny day, it would actually be a nice view…

view from the rock

…but the cloud was down and it’s a bit dreich!

We only got lost once. I didn’t mind as I got to scamper down and back up beside a lovely burn but the other two were muttering under their breath all the way back up the path. Actually it wasn’t really under their breath πŸ˜‰ All in all, though, it was a good walk, and we didn’t get too wet, which was a bonus.

Ally headed off to go to a concert after tea-time and so we had a quiet evening. I did deign to cosy up on the seat while @HeatherAlex was reading, but that was mostly because it was chilly!

On our last day, we decided to drive most of the way back to Perth in the morning and go visit a different wood at The Hermitage near Dunkeld. It’s owned by the National Trust for Scotland, but parking is free for us members.

sign for the woods

Hermitage Woods – lots of paths and a river as well…

We just did a short walk of about an hour, but there are much longer ones as well. We went round an interesting trail that had Ossian’s Hall and Ossian’s Cave on it. The Hall is quite small but has a great view of the river…

Ossian's Hall

I’m glad the bars were there – it was a long way down!

Ossian's cave interior

The cave has more interesting smells though!

I had to be dragged out though, cos I found some food in there (hee hee)

I had to be dragged out though, cos I found some food in there (hee hee)

On the way back to the van, we met loads of people in red and yellow suits and wetsuits, coming up the path. I think it was a rescue team going to practice rescues at the river. I’m glad they had wetsuits though because it was very wet and even more chilly by then!

Fire & Rescue service

They weren’t here to rescue me, honest!

That was the end of the adventure, because then we took the van back, and I snuggled into my usual spot in the car with some relief. Familiar territory at last! I fear that may not be the end of the story though, as I think we may try again in the future to see if I can be persuaded to enjoy it. We will see……..