Thursday, 15 September 2011
Bruno’s Interesting Day
I got the idea for thee title of this blog post from a Topsy and Tim book. I’m working towards being able to read Wuthering Heights, but I realise its a long way off yet.
After an extended severalteen days of writing stuff, none of which is finished, I decided to go for a walk and, it would seem, picked the sunniest day for months either side of today. me and Bruno went to Wet Sleddale, principally to bag the little Birkett Glede How wot I’d failed to do the other day due to a footwear emergency.
We Sleddale is Very Wet. And squishy.
We wandered up a permissive path and across a bridge and up to a farm where Builders Bum was being practised by some builders. We heaved up the hill (I heaved, Bruno pulled). At a stile with a high wire, Bruno did his usual superdawg leap but, (and maybe this is a first sign of age) – his trailing leg caught on the wire and he went down in a big and very snotty heap. He didn’t yelp or whine, but he tried to stand up and couldn’t. I got myself psyched up for carrying 20 kg of wriggly dog the two miles back to the car.
After some massage and kind words and, maybe a mention of next door’s cat, Bruno suddenly recovered and continued up the hill in much the way he’d been doing a few minutes earlier. I kept an eye on him all day and worried a bit at fence-jumping time, but he seems fine.
We plodged upwards and on to a knobby plateau and, after a bit of light navigating involving map-to-ground guesswork and the tossing of a coin, we duly arrived at Glede How. Glede how has a little rocky outcrop and a fine view of the Pennines. We lunched. ….. I lunched, Bruno dribbled. I did let him have a small piece of egg butty as a kind of reward for being a brave little doggy.
We snoozed in the sun for quite a while.
Afterwards, we climbed Seat Robert which has a cairn and a shelter and a little concrete ring for the Ordnance Survey people to dance around in one of their magic contour rituals where they call on the gods to make magnetic North nearer to true North….
Then we wandered over the Shap fells for a long time in a kind of aimless-roughly-back-to-the-car park kind of way. At a rest stop, I heard a deer bark. It barked several times. Bruno noticed. I could make out a small herd of, maybe fifteen red deer about 400 metres away. they were drifting off slowly and letting out the occasional warning bark.
We continued and, on crossing Tonguerigg Gill, we disturbed a herd of sixty or seventy red deer. They made off at speed from about 300 metres away. Bruno went into hunting mode and had to be put on the lead. Bruno’s recall is actually quite good, and I’ve managed to call him off chasing at least one deer in full flight. He’ll even come back to a hand signal, providing he’s looking in your direction, but sixty red deer in full flight, and, probably stinking of mating hormones (its about that time of year, folks) would probably have been too much for his canine self-control.
The herd disappeared over the hill, but Bruno had their scent and he followed with his ears up. I followed at the other end of the lead, just to see what would happen. After a while, we disturbed the same herd again. they’d moved about half a kilometre and had sentries, it would seem. In places even I could make out the scent. I called off the chase. We returned to the car.
We did about 8 miles and 1400 feet but I can’t be exact about our route, so I’m not doing a map. Apart from anything else, when I did the track, it spelled a rude word.
The Shap fells were empty today aprt from me and the dawg and the deer and, somewhere, a shepherd doing some shouting and whistling, and, right at the end, a fisherman on a bike who went off to see the deer after I’d spoken to him. saved a few fish, there, so I’m a piscatorial hero. The Shap fells are not a place for lonely agoraphobics or people who like a lot of noise.