Every morning Beanie & Biggles join us in bed for a snuggle, and every morning they start out being very accommodating bedmates, seamlessly adapting to the way we happen to be lying. Just as we’re drifting back off to sleep they start to stretch out and claim extra space. Susan is typically the first to be forced out of bed, at which point I actually feel the squeeze even more because I’ve got a Beaglet on both sides of me with no protective buffer. As our biggest pup, Mr Biggles has more raw pushing power but unlike Beanie, he doesn’t use his claws. In my semi-conscious state I usually just go with the flow, contorting away from the pressure, then wonder why my back, legs and shoulders are stiff when I finally exit the bed.
This morning however I fought back against those pushing paws. I don’t know what caused this reaction; maybe Beanie’s acupuncture woke me up more than usual, or maybe I’d sub-consiously absorbed some of Victoria Stilwell’s message when her “It’s me or the dog” training show had been playing on the gym TV screens the previous day. Regardless, instead of reflexively moving away from Beanie’s spiky paws, I lifted the covers enough to study what was really going on. Beanie was lying on her side with her head facing down into the depths of the bed, her fluffy little bum just a few inches from my face, and her rear legs fully extended and pushing hard into my stomach. I took a deep breath and blew a focussed stream of air right at her little pink-brown bum hole, and quickly but gently folded her legs back under her as she reacted and pulled away. I got an extra five minutes of unharrassed snoozing because this, but she got her revenge later during the offlead bit of our beach run, slamming her paws into my groin to decelerate abruptly as she sprinted back for a chicken top-up. I call this “collision braking”, and while there’s no denying that it’s effective, it’s also quite painful.
Happily there was no pain involved on our recent trip to Salloch Bay, although Biggles did damage his pride. Heading off in darkness, we arrived just before sunrise.
Sallochy Bay is on the eastern side of Loch Lomond, and while I’d driven past it many times in pursuit of hills to climb, this was the first time I’d actually stopped there. I can heartily recommend it; you get an easy, peacefull stroll along by the loch shore with the option of doing a stretch of the West Highland Way. We stuck mostly by the water, and every few hundred yards we came upon another little self-contained bay with it’s own private beach and paddling facilities.
The day started hazy and misty and it stayed that way, but from time-to-time the sun broke through and the surrounding hills and mountains became partially visible.
At one point we came to a fallen tree and Beanie correctly sensed that I wanted to get a shot of her posing on it. She hopped up and balanced there effortlessly, looking out into the distance until the shutter clicked and it was time for payment (Pedigree Tasty Bites – cheesy nibble flavor – in this instance).
Biggles wanted in on the act but didn’t seem confident about jumping up there, which is weird because he can easily jump so high he headbutts me as I’m carrying his bowl out of the kitchen. Anyway, I grabbed the handle of his swanky new red harness and liften him onto the tree, keeping hold until he seemed to have got his balance. I backed away slighty and raised my camera, but there was no Bigglet visible in the viewfinder as I prepared to shoot. Instead there was Bigglet on the ground, flat on his back and looking slightly puzzled as though trying work out how he’d got there. That old adage about falling off a log is apparently true if your name is Biggles. I gave him a much safer shore-line portrait to make up for it. And some Tasty Bites. Obviously.
We headed back to Sallochy for breakfast and a coffee in the Beaglemobile, then headed up nearby Duncryne hill. Although a trivial walk, Duncryne is said to offer amazing views of the little islands on Loch Lomond on a good day. Unfortunately the haze had turned to thick mist by then, so we had to be content with a good sniff, a few choice leg cockings and another round of treats. That said, the amount of deep snoozing that occurred when we got back home told me that our visit to Sallochy had been thoroughly enjoyable.
The shoreline at Sallochy Bay
The way back from Duncryne Hill