We’ve just had our first proper outing with the caravan! We chose Glentrool Holiday Park as our base of operations as it was only 50-odd miles away and within easy reach of all the hills and walks in the Galloway Forest Park.
The trip started quite well from a Beagle point of view; our two pups were given their breakfast almost as soon as they got up – none of that pesky waiting until after the morning walk! Unfortunately it went downhill from there; they got bundled into the car, and for the entire journey this big white crate thing kept tail-gating and blocking their view out of the rear window. When we finally arrived at the park our two were desperate to get out for a good sniff but they were left languishing in the car for another half hour, while their mum and dad wrestled with the white crate to get it into position and then attach a big flapping tent to the side of it. It took ages before they finally got their first walk of the day, but what a walk it was: a second trip up the Merrick.
On our previous visit the summit of the Merrick had been shrouded in mist and was perishingly cold. This time there was no mist, but it was still blummin’ freezing:
As before we didn’t spend long on the summit, but there was just enough time for Biggles to announce his presence to all other walkers in a ten mile radius.
King of the hill!
Beanie’s not overly keen on leaving the shelter of the stones
We soon headed back down but now instead of a long drive back home there was only a short trip back to the caravan for food and a chance to rest weary feet and paws. As it turned out though, not much rest actually occurred; there was a long list of important jobs that demanded the full attention of our Beagles, and when our Beagles are active, there’s not much rest for us either.
The first important task was was to make sure that all our neighbours knew not to come anywhere near our caravan. Biggles was the man for that job, and he set about it very diligently.
Then there was the issue of the interesting smells coming from the upper cupboards. The last time Beanie and Biggles had been in the caravan, it had been empty, but now there was the unmistakable smell of doggy treats coming from some high up hiding places. If only they could find some way to get up there.. clearly the table at the front of the van was a good starting point.
Next on the list: escape. Stupidly the humies opened up the upper half of the door to let cool air in. The lower half of the door is still tall, but not tall enough to stop an adventurous Beagle.
Beanie’s been captured by her Mum, but that leaves the way clear for The Bigglet
Just a reconnaissance mission for now, you understand…
But there’s no doubt our boy could make a break for it if he needed to…
Another important item on every Beagle’s to-do list is to locate where the rubbish is kept, and raid it. In this case the target was a small, easily opened bin that was balanced on a shelf in the bathroom area of the caravan. Early direct assaults on the bin where anticipated and easily defeated by the humies, so an alternative strategy was quickly devised:
- head into the bathroom but ignore the bin, and instead head for the doggy water bowl that’s kept in the shower tray
- drink slowly and noisily until the humies are convinced that’s all you’re there for
- the instant the humies take their attention off you, strike that bin fast and hard. Grab an empty crisp packet and scarper!
After all this excitement was over, it was finally time for bed. We put Beanie and Biggles into their new fabric travel crates, made up our own bed, and settled down for the night, certain that we’d sleep well after our exertions on the Merrick. How wrong we were. Firstly, we’d both received quite a few midge bites which were now reaching maximum itchiness, and secondly, Beanie was not at all happy with the bed in her crate. She tried a few loud complaints at first which we duly ignored, but then around 3am she hit pay-dirt: a quiet, almost whispered whimper every 20 seconds. It was like Chinese Water Torture. After a few minutes we found ourselves actually waiting for her next pathetic noise, and soon we caved in. The crates were opened, and our double bed now had four bodies in it. But at least we did finally get a little sleep..
The next day we went cani-crossing at Glentrool. We picked one of the medium length walks – supposedly around 5 miles long – and jogged it with Beanie & Biggles on their bungee lines. It was terrific fun – a truly cross-country course with rough ground, mud, and hills. Our two four legged running partners decided it would even more fun if they saved their most frantic pulling sessions for the downhill bits, yet despite this, they claimed their first bottom-surfing victim – Susan – on a flat section:
It’s hard to believe the run was five miles long – it went by in a flash, and I reckon we could’ve easily done twice that!
We had a break for lunch and a nap, and then a second outing to a different location: Kirroughtree Visitor Centre. We picked one of the trails and went on a leisurely walk. Beanie & Biggles found it very stimulating – there were some top class sniffs to be had:
At one point we came across a huge, fresh dollop of horse poo untouched by other dogs, but unfortunately Susan wasn’t keen on the idea of allowing a tasting and rolling session..
It’s horse poo to us. To a Beagle, it’s Brown Gold!
In truth I think it was Biggles’ fault that she was a bit strict over the horse poop. Your see our caravan – unlike the car – has no fan to force fresh air into it, and Biggles does tend to get a bit farty, especially when he gets worked up about other people invading his territory. Each time someone passed the caravan, he’d woof out of one end, and fart out the other. It was like those fancy air fresheners that emit a little “poof” of flowery smells when someone walks by, except that in this case the little “poof” didn’t smell of flowers. Anyway, the stimulation of nature tired our two out, and the remainder of the day passed quietly..
On the morning of our departure we managed to squeeze in a quick walk back at Glentrool, giving our intrepid explorers a final dose of nature before the journey home.
Overall I’d have to say our first caravan experience has been a very good one. The pups are happy enough in there so long as they get plenty of stimulation outside, and it takes all the rush out of our normal single day outings. The only things we need to change for next time are to get a plusher bed for our princess’s crate, a stronger air freshener to combat the output of the Biggles air de-freshener, and a way to keep the blessed midges at bay!