Due to a very sad family event we ended up spending a few days in the north of England near the Lake District. I was on solo Beagle-sitting duty for one of those days, and I took them a little way across the country to the famous Ingleton Waterfalls Trail. I had nothing but good memories of Ingleton from numerous visits as a kid, so it seemed like a great place to take our furry children and pass the day.
The trail is about four miles long and winds through woodland and traditional Yorkshire countryside, passing by a number of impressive waterfalls. For the most part it’s pretty much the perfect place to walk a Beagle, or even two Beagles; it’s sniffy, scrambly and long enough to make a fulfilling walk, yet at the same time it’s very safe, easy to navigate and of course easy on the eye.
Near the start there’s a fallen tree absolutely covered in two pence pieces. For some reason visitors started pushing coins into the bark and soon it became “the thing to do”. Beanie seemed quite excited by the money tree; maybe she realised how many chews all those tuppences could buy. I don’t think Biggles was very impressed though. If that tree had been covered in socks it might have been worth something, but coins? I mean when was the last time anyone knicked a coin, took it down the corridor by the bedroom and successfully traded it for a dog biscuit? Yep, coins have no place in a sock-based economy.
..And more steps. Ingleton’s hard work if you’ve got short legs!
At one point we came to a walkway above a gorge. The floor of the walkway was a metal grid, and as I approached it I fully expected Biggles to refuse to set a paw on it. As a rule my boy doesn’t like grids, and he especially doesn’t like walking above sheer drops into noisy, raging water, but this time he calmly trotted across it and poked his head through the railings for a good nosy. Beanie on the other hand got barely a yard in before she froze and needed lots of gentle coaxing to go further. This took me completely by surprise. I sometimes call Beanie “Spider Beagle” because she can lower her body and spread her legs out wide enough to clamber across just about anything – cattle grids, widely spaced wooden boards, even those special “dog-proof” grids they sometimes put at the entrance to child play areas. She really does look just like Spiderman when she does this, albeit Spiderman with big floppy ears and a hound costume. Nevertheless something about this particular walkway was a real challenge for her, but eventually she overcame her fear and was duly rewarded. Biggles got rewarded too of course, ‘cos that’s just the way it works.
About half way into the walk we passed by a public toilet block adorned with messages enticing walkers to “spend a penny”. Well, you know how it is; I got maybe twenty yards past them before all those messages awakened a need within me, but like most Beagle owners I don’t like tieing my pups to something and letting them out of my sight even for a couple of minutes. On top of this, I was aware that very few other walkers were on the trail that day, so the toilets were almost certainly empty. Taking these two points into consideration, I decided that we should all go into the loo together. Now The Bigglet is a public loo veteran (he went into the Ladies with Susan when he was a pup) but this was a completely new experience for the Beanster, and she was instantly fascinated by the urinal, and most especially by the little yellow deodorizer blocks within it. You’d be surprised how difficult it can be to “take care of business” when there’s a curious girl Beagle trying to get her snout into places it shouldn’t go. Or maybe you wouldn’t.
Beanie takes a moment to ponder on her recent lavatorial experience. What would those yellow scent blocks have tasted like? And would they have been toxic enough to merit a trip the vet (which is always a good thing)..?
There’s another fallen tree near the end of the walk that’s covered in broken pieces of slate, and people have taken to scratching their names into them. Naturally I couldn’t pass this without making our own little contribution:
Later that evening we stopped by Kendal Castle, peed on its broken walls, woofed at passers by, and had a play fight perilously close to the tripod during a twenty second exposure.
The following morning the play-fighting continued in the caravan. This may have been Biggles’ way of celebrating his freedom from having to be the campsite warden. Ordinarily it always falls to him to enforce the many and complex rules concerning hats, hi-viz vests, umbrellas, people in shorts and waggy Spaniels, but on this occasion his work was done for him by another Beagle. No, not Beanie! This was an unknown lemon/white Beagle in a different caravan. Whoever that Beagle was, he/she knew exactly how to keep order, indignantly perching on the top of the seats by a window and woofing (appropriately) at all law breakers, just like our hard working boy himself.
Ha! I can’t believe it! I don’t have to be the warden, Beanie!
What a relief!
So I was thinking.. can I munch on your ear instead?