Dog tales

As we enter the ‘cold and windy’ part of the rainy season here in Somerset, it’s welly boots all round whenever we leave the house. Especially if we’re walking the dogs, as all of our normal walks are now several inches deep in the boggy stuff.

Pulling on my wellies for this morning’s trundle, I was reminded of a recent visit to one of my consulting clients, an agricultural college with a thriving community of farming and equestrian students. Arriving a little early for a meeting, I popped over to the campus cafe.

I was greeted by a huge pile of welly boots stacked up outside the door. Inside, a horde of students, clearly having just finished their early morning chores around the farm and stables, was drinking gallons of hot chocolate and steaming up the windows with their excited chatter. Continue reading

The song of the paddle

One of the things that I don’t do enough of in my life is canoeing. Which is to say that I’ve been perhaps once or twice. Over twenty years ago. But I absolutely loved it and have been kicking myself ever since for not having done more. It has that rugged outdoorsy-ness to it that many sporting activities seem to lack. And, unlike kayaking, you don’t have to worry about whether your eskimo rolling skills are still up to scratch.

So it was with considerable enthusiasm that Natalie, Molly and I actually got our acts together sufficiently to take a short canoeing trip down part of the River Wye. It’s one of the best places in the country for canoeing and (I’m ashamed to admit) it’s only about an hour’s drive from my front door.

There was also a certain trepidation to the escapade, though, as while Natalie and I have both canoed before and know that we like it, nobody was quite sure about Molly. Do Labradors canoe? Or would we end up taking the shortest canoe trip ever, followed by an extended swim and a hefty damage bill?

Molly canoeing 1-2

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Getting close to nature

We had a lovely sunny evening here the other day, so I put a long-ish lens on my camera and – together with Natalie and Molly – headed out for a pleasant after-work walk. We wandered down an old farm track that I quite frequently hurtle along as part of my trail runs. But at a slower pace and with a viewfinder to peer through, I was surprised by quite how much was going on. Continue reading

The fells, the fells…

I was in Lancaster for work a couple of weeks ago and, knowing that I was going to have an afternoon free, decided I’d drive the few extra miles northwards and go for a nice walk in the Lake District. I’d only been to the Lakes once before, and that was only for about half an hour, and I was keen to go again. And so it was that I found myself at the foot of Helvellyn, the third highest mountain in England, looking up. Continue reading