Well, what a wonderful weekend Piglet and I had!
Earlier in the week Alan invited us along to a weekend wander that he and Phil had planned, the purpose of the expedition being to check that Phil’s walking-related bits and pieces are all well on the way back to full working order. Piglet is six months old now, and she’s been asking for a couple of months when she’d be able to go up to the Lakes for a proper walk and a camp. This sounded like an ideal opportunity, so I accepted with alacrity. When I told her we were going, Piglet immediately became extremely excited, bit me a couple of times and ran out to the garden to start building a small tarp with a crisp packet and some string!
The forecast was for foul weather, but at 0530 hours on Saturday morning it didn’t look too dreadful outside. I began to hope that maybe the forecasters had got it wrong, but I packed Piglet’s new little red waterproof coat just in case.
I carried a wee bowl of tea upstairs for Piggly about 0615, as she hadn’t got up with me earlier on, but on arrival at the bedroom I discovered that Piglet’s little body had chosen Saturday morning to be the first day of her very first season! Uh-oh… Poor wee lamb! ♥ Still, after a restorative bowl of tea and some yummy Lamb and Brown Rice kibble Piglet looked ready for action, and so we chucked the rest of the kit into the car and set off.
Piggly immediately fell asleep in her crate on the back seat–she’s not much of a conversationalist in the car–and so I was left to my own devices for the journey up.
My navigational ineptitude extends to car journeys as well as to journeys on foot, and so there were some anxious moments as we made our way through the increasingly dismal weather towards Seathwaite (the one in the Duddon Valley). Eventually we arrived, though, no more than 25 minutes late, to find Phil and Alan contending with what almost qualified as Arctic conditions in a small field beside a farm. They’d camped the night before, and we arrived to find them huddled, and looking half-soaked, around the boot of Phil’s extremely smart new car.
I got Piglet out fast and dressed her in her little coat, and shortly afterwards we set off for the Walna Scar road, having ditched the provisional plan to have a go at the Old Man of Coniston in view of the dreadful conditions.
Approximately half way up the track Phil, who hasn’t long finished radiotherapy, felt a bit dicey, and
was compelled against his wishes, by his over-anxious pals decided to return to the campsite and meet us later in Coniston. Alan, Piglet and I continued along what felt to me like a calf-destroyingly long haul over the top of Walna Scar, and then made our way down to Coniston.
The path down was much prettier, and more comfortable underfoot, than the path up had been, which was something of a relief. Only Piglet seemed undaunted by the weather, and she dashed along energetically, looking like something out of Doggy Vogue in her most becoming little red coat.
On arrival in Coniston instinct immediately drew me towards the Sun Inn (odd, that, for a person so navigationally challenged…), where we hoped to find Phil. He wasn’t there, though, and so we continued to the Black Bull in the hope of seeing him there instead. He wasn’t there either, but we concluded that he’d be along soon and so we left the packs outside and went in, with Piglet, for a drink and a spot of lunch.
The Bluebird bitter was extremely good, and the haddock and chips were even better. (Piglet reported later that the bowl of local water was pretty impressive too.)
Some ninety minutes later we decided it might be a good idea to have another bash at finding Phil, and a phone call revealed that he’d been sitting in the Sun Inn waiting for us while we were sitting in the Black Bull waiting for him. Doh… He’d been putting up his tent when Alan had poked his head in ninety minutes earlier. We were soon reunited, and a short time later Phil was tucking into fish and chips and testing out the beer.
Another hour or so passed very pleasantly. Alan, Phil and I chatted away about nothing in particular, and Piglet appeared happy to find herself the object of the attentions of quite a number of dogs, and several of their owners. Alan and Phil looked after her while I slipped out for a crafty cigarette.
There was an anxious moment (for me, if not for Piglet) when what looked like a Staffordshire Bull Terrier made a determined attempt to reach her through the maze of table legs, but I picked her up and order was soon restored. Phew…
We eventually dragged ourselves away from the pub and Phil drove us to the campsite…
…where Alan and I put up our tents.
Phil had cunningly claimed the centre of a large, flat piece of ground several hours earlier, and herd instinct had kept the rest of the campers (and there were a lot of them) away from the spot. How nice it is to have a flat, well-drained place to put up one’s tent! I’d wondered whether Piglet might try to eat the tent as I was erecting it, but Phil kindly took charge of her and so I was able to get it up with little difficulty.
I was slightly disconcerted to realise, on taking the (Laser Competition) tent out of its bag, that I’d accidentally left the pole sleeve at home–I was expecting wind, and the sleeve and guys add considerably to the stability of the tent. As things turned out, though, it wasn’t a windy night, and so the tent, Piglet and I survived the experience intact.
As soon as the tents were up we decided it was time for a spot of dinner, and so we produced and pooled our various goodies–wine, cheese, saucisson, bread, oat cakes and whisky–and settled down to enjoy a delicious snack. Yum! We inspected Alan’s food bag as we were eating, and discovered that he’d taken along enough scoff to feed a small battalion for approximately a week and a half. And that didn’t even include his little day bag of things to eat along the way!
After dinner we returned to the pub–a different one, this time–where we spent a most pleasant evening discussing all manner of interesting things. Piglet insinuated herself into several people’s affections, and at one stage was attempted to be photographed with an inflatable lamb which was accompanying a bunch of young blokes on a stag night around the local pubs. Piglet was frightened of the lamb, though, and refused to come out from under the table. Wee darling!
The walk back to the campsite by moonlight was lovely, and on arrival at the tents we very quickly said goodnight and all retired to bed.
I’d wondered how Piglet would react to being cooped up in a tent all night. In particular, I’d wondered whether if she felt the call of nature she might decide to pee on my sleeping bag… She behaved like an angel, though, and–after a couple of abortive attempts to jump out through the inner tent into the porch–she eventually settled down to share my NeoAir mattress. (I’d bought her a little foam mattress of her own, and cut it down to Piglet size, but she rejected it in favour of a cuddle into the crook of my legs, so it looks like I won’t need to carry it next time.)
We hadn’t planned a particularly early start, but Piggly woke me up about 0730 and so I popped her onto her lead and let her sit outside the tent to eat her breakfast.
She settled down out there with her chew…
…while I lay back down to enjoy a bit of a doze. Not long afterwards, though, she began to leap about excitedly, and a few seconds later Alan poked his head in to say hello on the way back from the showers. It turned out that Phil was up too, and so I wriggled out of the sleeping bag and into my clothes.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage taking a shower with Piglet, but I set off for the shower block to see whether we could work it out. On arrival at the shower block I realised I’d left my wash kit in the tent… doh… and so I returned to the tent to get it. In the event, Piglet didn’t like the little shower cubicle much, and so I dumped the shower idea and contented myself with a wash and splash at the sinks instead.
Returning to the tent, I found that Phil was already packing up and Alan was well on the way to finishing his breakfast. How come I’m always the slowest in the morning, I wonder? It turned out to be possible to secure Piglet’s lead to a tent peg, and so Piggly sat outside while I got my things together. What a good little dog she was!
All packed up, we decided to drive somewhere (I’m not sure where, since I left the navigation to those who know how to do it), leave the cars and return, after a circular walk (and via the pub in Seathwaite), to collect them later on.
The walk was lovely. The weather was vastly improved, and we walked along the river towards Birks and then South along a sun-dappled forest track.
We met up with the river again later, and finally made our way back to Seathwaite through a lovely birch wood. I’m not sure precisely where we were, but a quick scan at Anquet suggests that we must have walked down between Hollin House Tongue and Low Crag. Wherever it was, it was beautiful…
…and Piglet had a fantastic time skipping along the little woodland paths and even taking a
not entirely voluntary dip in the River Duddon.
In Seathwaite we settled comfortably into the pub for some lunch.
Yum! I had double-egg and chips, Alan and Phil had small ham, egg and chips and Piglet had a little bit more of her Lamb and Brown Rice kibble.
A particularly good mug of coffee rounded things off perfectly, and then we set off back to the cars.
The journey home was uneventful, and when we got back Piglet went a little bit wild in the garden, squealing with delight and racing up and down on the grass with the sprinkly thing off the end of the watering can (one of her favourite toys).
After that I made a careful inspection of her little coat for ticks (eep!), but–despite the fact that I found one crawling in her fur during a rest stop earlier in the day–I didn’t see any. Phew! I’ll take another look later, since I failed to spot the ones she’d picked up on Skye last month until a couple of days after we’d got home…
Piglet is now fast asleep on the bed with her hot little paws in the air, dreaming of the cat. We’ll be retrieving Puss-Puss from the cattery tomorrow morning, and after that I suspect that all three of us will be having a lazy day, filled with cuddles, a bit of television and yummy snacks of one sort or another.
Very many thanks to Alan and Phil for a fantastic weekend ♥ ♥ I send grateful thanks for fun and great companionship, and Piglet sends warm licks, a wee fart and a couple of pieces of semi-masticated kibble 🙂