Thursday, 7 March 2013

Tilly on Tour: Back to the Lake District

Tilly the beautiful black Labrador has been back in the Lake District to visit me and has had a lot of adventures! Her golden brown, soulful eyes still melt my heart (and the heart of most other people as well) and it was lovely looking after her.

Supervising a drain run
In her time up here she went on two Twitter walks – one a small group tackling the Langdale Pikes, where she found snow to play in and another up Pike O’Blisco with four other dogs to play with, including her old friend Lassie and new friend Molly. On both walks she was given a lot of treats and of course shared some of Gina’s chocolate brownies. Tilly loves walking in large groups and with other dogs – she would quite happily walk all day. She even spent the day with the National Trust rangers on a “drain run” from Wasdale and helped clear the path drains (well she was better at supervising rather than actually helping but she made an excellent mascot).

A walk with a view
Tilly has added a good few summits to her list including Pavey Ark, Thurnacar Knott, Harrison Stickle, Loft Crag, Pike O’Blisco, Great End and Brock Crags taking her total number of Wainwright’s to around 40. When she sits on the summits, she looks out across the fells as though she is enjoying the experience as much as I am.

"Helping" me down the slope (photo by P Corley)
Her love of sledging in the snow (where she sticks her back legs out and pulls herself with her front paws down a slope) continues and even on fells with only tiny amounts of snow, she always found an opportunity for some winter sports. Her favourite snowy walk was the Pike O’Blisco one as several of us went sledging (not always intentionally) so she could join in the fun. At one point after running down a snowy slope, she came back to rescue me as I was taking rather longer. I think she was possibly worried there would be no-one to feed her that evening!

Blea Tarn Tilly
Likewise her love of swimming. Any amount of water, no matter how small is an open invitation for her to jump in. She swam in Blea Tarn, Tarn Hows, High Dam, Low Dam, Angle Tarn, Windermere, Elterwater, Grasmere and every stream and puddle she came across in between even when the water was icy cold. Any rumours of the Blea Tarn Monster are just rumours – it was just Blea Tarn Tilly. It is funny on a walk when there is water near, I will suddenly see a black shadow out of the corner of my eye running towards it or here a loud “splash” as with a leap into the sky she flies through the air to land in the water. She often doesn’t think about how she is going to get out of the water in her excitement to get in it however and I have lost count of the times I have had to lean in and pull her out as the bank is too high. All very well unless it is a bog or when I do not have time to get clear before she shakes all the water/mud off!

A proper stick!
A new sport is carrying large sticks. These sticks usually compare to the size of branches but she determinedly carries, or failing that drags them as far as she can. She can be quite put out if they are too big for me to throw more than half a metre however! Sometimes if I threw a smaller stick she would remain rooted to the spot, watch it sail through the air and then look at me as if to say “Call that a stick? That is far too small to run after!”

On her first cruise
Tilly's "feed me" look - Chester's
Whilst Tilly loves the exercise, she has taken time to relax and enjoy the rest the Lake District has to offer. She went on her first cruise and loved it. Windermere Cruises are dog-friendly and she found her boat legs very quickly. She also frequented some of her favourite haunts such as Wainwright’s in Langdale, the Queen’s Head in Troutbeck, the Drunken Duck at Barngates and Baldry’s tea shop in Grasmere.  Chester’s at Skelwith Bridge is a new favourite and she tried to convince everyone there to feed her.

She has been all over the Lake District from Wasdale to Kendal and from Keswick to Newby Bridge. With so many adventures I think she will need a few quiet weeks in Sussex to recover before her next holiday with me. Come back soon Tilly!
A coffee break on Latrigg

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