Monday, 28 November 2016
On Encountering a Loose Dog
Me and LTD returned to Almondbury to keep Dawn company for a few days and to have a look at a couple of walks in the Britains Best Walks book wot they sent me the other day, the better to write some kind of review – more of which in another blog post in a couple of days…
So, we went off to Hebden Bridge to have a go at a shortish walk entitled “Hebden Water” – we felt a bit lazy and wanted an easy start to the proceedings.
And the proceedings went well enough, after we’d paid the outrageous five quid parking fee. Five quid? I meantersay – five quid…
Hennyway, we progressed through the rather lovely autumn woodland on the bonny banks of Hebden Beck. I’d last been here ar Christmas, some 31 years ago, just after moving up from West Yorkshire to County Durham. I couldn’t remember any of it, really… Odd, that, because in the 1980’s I used to haunt the place, it being a through route from the valley to the moors beyond.
We lunched briefly in a sun trap at Gibson Mill – the cafe being closed – and crossed the bridge to wander further up the little glen. It was here that we were first approached by the dog – a golden retriever-type of pooch wearing a Ruffwear harness just like LTD’s. The dog approached then retreated, as if waiting, perhaps, for an owner.
A little later it ran past us and then returned, looking quite stressed and confused as to where to go. I decided that it was lost and removed the climbing sling that I use to hold LTD’s lead, and clipped it on to the stray’s harness with a krab. Dawn took LTD and me and the retriever headed back towards Gibson Mill. After half a mile, the dog sat down, anchored it’s paws into the ground and refused to move anywhere but upstream. So we went back and continued with the walk, but now with two dogs instead of one.
We lurched up the steep bit to Walshaw farm, where the new dog seemed to know the way through the farmyard, although the route description in the Times book was less than helpful.. and the dog pulled off the walk route and back towards Gibson Mill – so that where we went.
Back at the mill, we approached two rangers – who turned out to be friendly volunteers who quickly took charge of the dog and made us a cup of tea. This was nice. We tried the various phone numbers on the dog’s tag and made contact with the owner’s wife who was on a journey between Preston and Liverpool at the time. Another mobile number failed due to lack of a signal in the deep valley. So we left the dog in the custody of the rangers and headed off back to the start, meeting the owner on his way to collect the dog – the “employed” ranger having met him in the car park. The dog had just run off , apparently. Some dogs do that…
So that was that. We failed to follow the route due to the dog emergency.
We would try again at Meltham the following day.
In the meantime, Dawn having found a debit card by the toilets, we tried and failed to find a cop shop in Hebden Bridge. My phone said that the nearest coppery was in Halifax and then took us on a mystery tour of the narrow, cobbly lanes above Calderdale to eventually turn up at Halifax police station.