Saturday, 17 April 2010

Finn's Big Adventure

This afternoon we decided to go for our usual walk to the cliff path at Dead Mans Gulch, we've done this walk millions of times so I didn't bother to take the camera as I have loads of pictures of the woods we have to go through to get there. It was a beautiful afternoon and the sea was like a millpond, there was what was probably a seal swimming close to the shore but as I didn't have the binoculars either I couldn't be sure. There is a zig-zaggy pathway cut in the grass down to the cove and the tide was out quite a long way so there was a fairly big, deserted beach down there. We have never gone down there as it is quite steep and usually quite slippery. Anyway I decided the time was right to try it, so I put Finn on the lead and we started to go down very slowly. Finn wasn't really happy going down, he must have thought I'd gone mad going over the edge of the cliff! When we were nearly down and it looked safe I let Finn off and he went running on ahead, keeping sensibly to the path and then going in the stream. The views were fantastic, I must go back on my own with the camera. Looking back along the valley, the stream had plunged over a massive drop dividing in two as it fell. Finn came back to me to tell me to hurry up and then went off in front again, the path went between the cliffs and when I came out the other side Finn had found the sea and was down on the beach. Nothing wrong with that I hear you all saying, he loves the sea, he always goes in the sea, he thinks he's a dogfish! The trouble was the beach was about 6-7 foot below the path, with only one narrow step down, easy enough for an excited German Shepherd to go down, but how on earth does he get back up? Not by himself that's for sure. After lots of calling and encouragement and I must admit PANIC it was obvious he couldn't get back up. I tried pulling him up by the collar, but it nearly came off, so I had to go down halfway to the narrow step and eventually with lots of heaving and pushing and pulling he was up thank God and any other deity within earshot! I put him straight back on the lead and we sat looking out to sea, me giving thanks and him puffing and panting. The seal which had inadvertantly caused the problem looked on from the safety of the water. After a while we made our way back up the path and halfway up caught sight of three dolphin just off the headland. It would be nice to think they had heard me trying to get Finn up and had come to help, but I somehow think that unlikely, despite stories of them helping people in difficulty in the sea. Finn was a little bit subdued as we made our way home, but at least he's lived to tell the tale to Tansy when he sees her tomorrow!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Tremain Woods

First of all let me apologise for the delay in writing this post. I've been having computer troubles, but hopefully they're all sorted now.
On March 2nd we went on a marathon 7 hour walk! There was a Le Trec competition at Tremain Woods and being a nice day we decided to take a picnic and go and watch. Of course being a Sunday there were no buses!
It took an hour of walking on roads before we got to this bridle path. When we had a car this was one of our favorite walks. It feels as though you are on top of the world here.

After following this track through the wheat fields you descend into the woods.

The path follows a stream

To Trewindsor Mill,

where Finn had a paddle and a drink.

Past the mill and up the hill to Trewindsor farm where the event was taking place. We arrived just as my friend Wendy (who taught me to ride) was just about to compete. Le Trec competitions normally consist of two parts the first being orienteering where competitors are given a map and sent off on a ride past various checkpoints to return to complete the second part where they have to negotiate various obstacles. Control is the key element here.
Once they had completed the first obstacle(opening the gate, going through it and then shutting it all without dismounting or letting go of it) they had to walk through the poles without touching them.

Next they had to walk around the bollards without knocking them over, whilst holding a rope attached to the flag pole.

There were a few more thing like loading in and out of a trailer, going over a waterjump, crossing a bridge, walking fast and cantering slowly then walking through a pair of poles and reining back through them without touching them.

And then it was over!

When Wendy had finished we wandered off to have our lunch back in the woods under the trees.

We found a place amongst the snowdrops where Finn could play in the water (he'd been so good while we were watching the horses and hadn't barked once!) while I ate my picnic.

After I had eaten and he had got sufficiently wet we carried on along the path to these ponds.

Why can't I go in here then?

This was the turning point and it was time to turn round and make our way home.

Looking across the valley there were some horses grazing on the far side of the stream.

It was a long day and we arrived home tired and footsore. Finn did make a token effort at keeping me amused in the evening by throwing his ball at me, but I don't think he was too disappointed when I didn't throw it back!
He slept well that night and the next!