Glen Trool Assault Course

Last weekend we had another Canicross camping trip, this time at Glen Trool. As before we’d lined up a hill walk (up The Merrick of course) and a good long cross country run round the Water of Minnoch for the group’s activities. The latter isn’t one of the conventional, marked trails around Glen Trool so I was keen to sort out any navigational difficulties ahead of the run. To that end, I planned to harness up the pups and walk the route after we’d set up the caravan, and before everyone else arrived.

First though, there was lunch. Susan cooked up some toasties, and we sat down hoping to eat them in a civilized way, which is never easy with two Beagles in such a confined space. It was relatively easy to convince Biggles to settle down next to me, but as usual Beanie was a much tougher nut to crack. When she eventually gave up hope of stealing the toastie off Susan’s plate, she tried for mine, failed, then immediately focused on raiding the still red-hot electric grill on the worktop. I still had my toastie in one hand but I managed to grab Beanie’s collar with my free hand just before she could burn herself. I was very pleased at not only having protected my toastie from Beanie, but also having protected my Beanie from being toasted, and just as I started to say “that was a close one” I heard a decisive “crunch”. Yep, you guessed it, my toastie hand had strayed into Biggles’s strike range and he had taken full advantage. So for me, lunch was short.

After finishing the remaining half of my toastie unmolested, I successfully walked the 7 mile route in the rain, guided by the route description, two Beagle noses and the gps app on my phone. I was now confident that navigation would not be a problem during the run. Other things like bogs, fallen trees and steep hills could still be a problem, and indeed at one point – even at walking pace – I did end up doing a bit of bottom surfing in the mud, but I figured somehow we’d all muddle through on the day.

The first group activity wasn’t the run though, it was a walk up the Merrick. Despite gloomy forecasts we actually got pretty decent weather, but the summit was shrouded in mist. That’s three times we’ve climbed the Merrick, and we still haven’t properly seen the views from the top!

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A panorama from just beyond the first hump, twenty minutes or so from the top.

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The final day of the trip was reserved for the run, and again the weather gave us surprisingly good conditions: a very light drizzle – just enough to keep us all cool, without getting us soaked. As I’d feared, the hazards on the first part of the trail claimed a few victims; nearly everybody ended up in a ditch at some point, but the group coped admirably with the hills. By the time we all arrived back at the Glen Trool visitor centre we were liberally decorated with mud splats, grazes and insect bites, but everybody seemed to be happy so I’d have to call the venture a success.

I think Beanie & Biggles truly feel at home in our caravan now. Both of them really stretch out when they sleep, and Biggles is becoming a little more tolerant of people wandering close to the caravan, unless they’re wearing a particularly provocative hat!

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A muddy tummy is a happy tummy

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