Dog Goes Bog Trotting!
Today started off rather like yesterday … except they advertise even fewer new jobs on a Sunday!
Like I said – one of the things I have really missed this week is conversation so after a while reading I decided to take Dog for a decently long walk and maybe I might bump into someone interesting to talk to. I had to take my back pack – I once walked dog home with a badly cut pad strapped up in poo bags because that was all I had with us – so now any walk longer than a mile with Dog requires carriage of a decent first aid kit and his neoprene boots (none of which has ever been used but although I can pick him up I could not carry him very far since he weighs in at 25kg.)
So I got dressed and put a bit of makeup on … well I don’t want to scare off any conversationalists! … and Dog sensed that he was coming too – I do not know how he knows this. He pranced backwards and forwards getting in the way and singing. Eventually got myself organised, boots on and backpack tightened so I could get his lordship into his gear. He has an impatient nature ad although he can walk at heel he prefers not to so he walks in a halter and on an extending 8m lead. Since it was a possibility that I would let him off lead he had to also wear his leather collar with tags.
I had been studying the map and looking at the footpaths along disused railways nearby. The paths are not shown as rights of way but I thought it was worth a look. I know the section from Balmuckety, which was the site of the level crossing over the road my house is on and the scene of a famous accident involving a tour bus which rolled onto the line and was hit by a train, is not open to walk on. We walked down a small side road which runs parallel to that section of railway line. I used to walk down here every morning with the two dogs when I had the young wirehair; I stopped for two reasons – too many other dogs going down there and not being picked up after and drivers speeding up that narrow road. I also stopped once Otto went because it reminded me to much of him and I didn’t want to go there without him.
Dog remembers that this road is a good hunting ground for bunnies so he set off with enthusiasm. I was really pleased to see Ash Trees along the roadside … there has been extensive recent coverage of the Chalara Ash Dieback disease and how big a threat it is to our native trees. We have lost many Elms through disease and it would be a shame to lose large numbers of another species. These all look really healthy with the black buds at the end of the knobby grey twigs.
This is Dog, sitting on top of the stane dyke which has been overgrown and is now part of the embankment. He is checking out the covering on the carrots in the field; they get covered over with a membrane and then with straw to ‘clamp’ them over winter and then they get lifted in the spring. Dog cannot wait because he loves raw carrots.
Dog got very excited whilst I was trying to take this photo of a huge tree trunk which is split in half; generally he is quite patient as a photographer’s assistant but he could hear a pheasant. Now Dog has never done a day’s work in his life but the pheasant call has him on his toes and ready. In the picture below that we have arrived at the access to the railway path and Dog is pointing something (probably a bunny) on the fenced off railway line which has come down from Balmuckety.
But we needed to go the other way through here … you knew there would be mud somewhere didn’t you since this was an unplanned adventure? I didn’t put my gaiters on – should have done but Dog does not care about the mud – he just wanted to run! I didn’t let him off lead simply because there were sheep in fields beside us. He did not give them a second look but where the railway ran above field level he could very easily have jumped the barbed wire fence chasing bunnies and I wasn’t risking it.
In the distance you can see the Airlie Monument standing above Cortachy. This hill stands between the roads leading to Glen Prosen and Glen Clova and is a prominent local landmark. I loved the stubble field in the foreground with the undulating lines of cut stalks.
The boundaries of the railway line at this point have been made by a fence of railway sleepers. They are starting to get very mossy and a little tipsy! The bridge in front of us had been filled with earth so we followed the path up the side to the top of bridge level. The gate at the end has clearly been broken open by someone and obviously the message from the landowner is they do not want people walking through!
Most of the railway lines here have been sold off and naturally in many cases have been bought by the landowners adjoining them. Very often the railway line is higher than neighbouring fields and it probably isn’t worth levelling them so they survive as tracks an paths. It would appear that the next little section – which would have taken us to a side road – because it is below the field levels on either side is probably being gradually filled in and encompassed into the fields.
Dog and I tried to get through – but after about a quarter of the length it starts to become a bog and whilst we could get along the edge to over halfway along it then became impossible to see if we could continue so, sadly we turned back and retraced our steps. I understand that landowners can do what they want with their land but the majority of this section of railway line is open for people to access and it seems a shame to close off this short section.So we retraced our steps right back to the first bridge and out onto the road.
Once on the road we turned to pick up the side road we would have used from the end of the railway line. This retracing and detour took us an extra 2 miles. Along the way we watched a buzzard setting off to hunt and I heard myself calling out to her “wishing you enough …”; I know there are too many buzzards but I just love to see raptors in flight and hunting an maybe if she catches a few extra mice mine might move out to the country?
Dog was always wanting to get ahead quicker than I could go which was twisting me a little and making the backpack uncomfortable; my toes were burning and I really wanted to sit down for ten minutes and wriggle them in my boots – Dog doesn’t do sitting down to wait for toe wriggling!
After 6 miles, most of them involving mud, and no conversations (other than with Dog) it reminded me that Dog is not really a good walking companion … if he was a child he would have been one of those toddlers that went from crawling to running everywhere overnight … and it isn’t that he hates my company because at home he cannot get close enough! Maybe when Pup is able to join us on a walk like that Dog will be more settled – but first Pup has to grow some. I will try to take Dog on a decent walk like this every week now so even when Pup arrives Dog will still have something that is special to him and Pup will get used to sometimes staying home alone.
So no Megarider this week – but I have still taken my camera out! I am going to have a few more days around the house doing some preparation for Pup and saving myself the Megarider cost (and the stress of Early Bird’s attitude). I will continue to miss the conversations and the beaches but it is only for another week just now. Towards the end of the week I will get a Megarider again and have some days out (job hunting whilst I travel of course – aren’t mobile phones with data plans great ideas?); this will cover the cost for my bus journey to sign on and to travel with an ex colleague to collect two small furry bundles; Pup’s youngest brother (now named Ollie) is coming to stay in Dundee and one of his people will collect him when I go for Pup … that will be a fun journey!