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Monday, 25 May 2015

Wainwright’s Coast to Coast With Lucky The Dog

Lucky waits for the train at Corbridge

Observant Pieblog readers may well have noticed several hints in the Pieblog that me and Lucky have been walking the English CtoC route (the Alf (what’s that girl doing in my socks?) Wainwright one.

This went well – specially in terms of the fact that we started at the start and finished at the end and didn’t cheat very much in between.

And you’re expecting a trip report very much on the lines of the TGO reports – you know – Day One, got up, ate porridge, walked a lot, put tent up in the rain and went to sleep till ….Day 2…  got up, ate porridge….   But no, not on the Pieblog – based on the assumption that you can get details of the route and various accounts of people’s walks on line and that such accounts often, or at least, sometimes do go on a bit and there’s be fourteen days of it and , AND, mind you, I have a life and so have you.

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So, instead, I just thought I’d do a few blog posts about Lucky’s adventures and the kindnesses shown to him, how friends and family helped with the canine feeding regime logistics; another post about the route and how good it is in some places and how absolute bollix it is in other places and a few small but useful diversions or alternatives; a selection of pictures and my adventures whilst meeting pillocks. All this whilst I get on with getting on with High Cup Nick, a return to the Ingram Tumps and walks at Rothbury.

Those considering taking their pooch on a multi-day walk might (or might not) find some of this stuff useful.

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Lucky, of course, had been kitted out with a set of panniers, in which , almost every day, people declared him to be “cute” and go “ah, look, has he got all his stuff in there? What he did have in his panniers was up to four days supply of Bakers doggy kibble (1.2 kg in all), some empty poo bags – occasionally one full poo bag (care required!) a spare short lead and some dentasticks, bonios, and a cycle lock to be used as a security device, as suggested by Geoff Crowther who is currently cycling from Land’s End to John O’ Groats. He also carried two fabric doggy dishes – one for dry food and one for water. The water dish leaked, unfortunately but he seemed to prefer slightly warmed water from my Primus kettle thingy anyway and this was easier and more stable.

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Each day several people commented on the dog with the panniers and how cute and/or lovely he was. This did get a bit wearing after a couple of days. Several made a fuss of him (he liked this) and others donated their own dog’s doggy treats (Lucky liked this, too). He also attracted the attention of other dogs who could easily detect his food supply. The most persistent were spaniels (who would have guessed?). This almost lead to several fights. One farmer stood in the middle of the road on the Flat Bit In The Middle and asked if the bags were where he kept his money. At least a dozen people took photos of him.

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I was careful not to load him with more than 10% of his body weight. This was just a guess, but it meant that anything over 1.6 kg was carried by yours truly. This is four days food, the panniers and the other stuff.

And one person, after we’d entered the Lion Inn at Blakey to drink beer and enquire about camping, was, apparently greeted and tail-wagged by an exhausted Lucky – after 20 miles and 3800 feet of contours, gave him half of his T-Bone steak – food which he didn’t quite recognise as food at first and which he spat out, but ate after I’d demonstrated what to do with it.[koff]

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A woman in Robin Hood’s Bay appeared from her bungalow with a bowl of water for Lucky

For scoff, he had 300 grammes of doggy food per day and he didn’t eat all of this at once, but “grazed” during the night, once making me think we had a badger in the tent due to the snuffling and crunching in the dark night.

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Cattle were a problem on a few occasions. Some were uninterested, specially the galloways on the moors. Dairy cows were over-interested and sucklers were a nightmare. We took a few diversions and some sneaky routes just out of sight. On a few occasions, the cattle just happened to be looking the other way. We enjoyed bullying our way through a herd of calves.

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Lucky wasn’t really very fit when we set off and would be running out of steam by early afternoon. When this happens he digs nests when we stop and curls up to have a nap. By the second week he was bouncing around in the mornings, clearly enjoying the trip. He was pretty quiet for the first few days and I think he was a bit stressed about what was happening, but by the end he’d really got into the routine and emerged two weeks later with no apparent damage at all, apart from , maybe half a kilo or so of weight loss.

I carried a piece of karrrimat and he slept on this on my Rab anoraky thing and underneath a Berghaus down gilet. He likes the tent and once in place on his bed, doesn’t move again till he’s dragged out next morning.

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Dog food is a problem for the unsupported walker. 14 days at 300 grammes per day would have been a huge 4.2 kg – too much for either me or the dog to carry and re-supply in buyable and carriable amounts would have been a problem. This was solved by Dawn who brought pre-packed bags of dog food to Shap, Kirkby Stephen, Richmond and Grosmont, where she joined me for the last day and a bit – plus other essentials such as gas and dehydrated food. Mrs Pieman also delivered dog food, plus fresh undies, socks, fleece and legging thingies to Reeth and The Bro, Mrs Bro and June (with whom I attended New Road County Junior School Earby and nostalgicated with about the eleven times table ) visited Shap for the drinking of beer and some jollifications.

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During the walk he learned that if he ignores sheep and lambs properly, he gets a tasty treat, so he put on a special “I am ignoring those lambs” expression whenever we came across them. He failed to ignore rabbits, grouse and pheasants, though, barked and growled at cattle and horses and randomly got quite feisty with dogs, or playful with other dogs, with no apparent reason or logic which was humanly detectable.

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Without some kind of logistical support, this walk would have been quite difficult, I think, and it may be, that unsupported, I could manage four to six days.

Bur I’m chuffed, and, even gruntled to have done the walk, and so is Lucky. And I’m grateful, specially to Dawn, who put a lot of effort and thought into the supporting role – and extra specially for the additional supplies of fine malt which were more than appreciated.

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9 comments:

Quinn said...

Brilliant! Well done, Lucky! and you too, Mike. I laughed OL at the money bags and the badger :)

Louise said...

I love that dog. Can't blame anyone for mentioning his cuteness or taking the odd photo, he's adorable!
Sounds like fun, well done Mike, Lucky Pup and support.
(You were missed on the Challenge. By me anyway 😁)

Paula Ball said...

It's good to see you and Lucky enjoyed your C2C walk. I love his panniers - I have some for Heidi but she hates them and tries to roll them off her back LOL.

Best wishes.

Dawn Linney said...

No problem Mike. You and Lucky did well and you both certainly increased your fitness levels. Cracking photos, awaiting second installment with baited breath.

Andrew & Little Brenda said...

Well done lads, that's a real achievement, especially for the Pup. We were thinking about you as the days passed by and hoping all was going well. And well done Dawn that support must must have really helped. We often think we need a support team and that's just for day walks!

John J said...

I think I need a support. Anything to lighten the load on my back. Perhaps I should acquire a doggy. If said doggy was big and strong enough it could carry me full kit....hmm, there's a thought.
Like wot Louise said, you were missed on the Challenge. I had to talk to Croydon instead.
Nice trip by the way - thanks for the text updates en-route.
:-)

FellBound said...

That's a great report Mike. Although I don't get why Mrs Pieman had to bring Lucky clean undies though. Dogs wearing undies is an affectation.

What was the cycle lock for please? To stop the lad being pinched or to stop him wandering off or...?

Mike Knipe said...

Slogger on a forum/message board on the Sherpa Van Trophy website seems to think that this blog post was written by another poster - one going by the name of Dodgyknee. Well, it wasn't. It was written by me. See? I did it. And I'd do it again.

Laura Jane said...

Love this. What a refreshing read. Well done Lucky. My black lab Dexter would have given up by Ennerdale that's for sure