The majority of our past holidays and breaks have been in the west of Scotland, but this time around we decided to give the east coast a try, booking into a small and (before we arrived) quiet campsite in Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire.
The journey there was unusally comfortable for the pups thanks to a pair of plush beds Susan found on sale at our local ASDA store. Costing only a tenner a piece, the beds are a perfect fit for our fabric travel crates and come with that holy grail of Beagle bedding: the integral full surround chin-rest. As you can see from the above shot Biggles certainly made good use of the chin-rest component, but seemed a bit confused about how to use the bed itself.
Our spot on the campsite was by a river that was home to a family of ducks and two mature swans. Biggles quickly accepted the presence of our feathered neighbors but Beanie immediately became obsessed with them. On our beach at home she’s a legendary bird hunter; over the years she’s nearly caught Sandpipers, come within twenty meters of snatching Black Terns out of the air, and only narrowly missed capturing a dead Seagull. Finally here was an opportunity to crown her career by also not catching a swan.
While The Bigglet and us humies crash out in the sun..
.. Beanie stays ever watchful by the riverbank
Beanie may not be any good at catching birds, but unfortunately she is rather more successful when it comes to large insects. Unlike the west side of the country, the east of Scotland doesn’t seem to have a problem with midges but it does apparently have a considerable wasp population, which Beanie was determined to reduce. We’d read plenty of stories about closed airways due to stings, so we did our best to kill the wasps ourselves before they came within her reach, and dissuade her from attempting to catch those that made it through our barrage of fast knock-down spray. Needless to say it wasn’t long before she snagged one, then almost instantly spat it out, shook her head and leaped back from its still wriggling body. Over the next few minutes we kept a close eye on The Beanster for any adverse reactions, but happily none were forthcoming. I pushed a couple of doggy-safe anti-histamines down her throat as a precaution, but for once we didn’t need an emergency visit to the nearest vet. Instead, we made a distinctly non-emergency visit to the nearest castle.
Dunnotar castle has to be one of the most picturesque castles in the UK, especially when viewed around sunrise. It’s also bordered by clifftops that are satisfyingly sniffy, especially when sampled by a Beagle nose.
Back at the campsite, I parked up the van and anchored the pups to it while Susan and I set about adjusting the tarp add-on to our tent. Apparently we took too long doing this, because when Susan returned to the van she found that Beanie and Biggles had helped themselves to a cow ear each. Exactly how they did this remains a mystery; just prior to embarking on our holiday I’d dropped a few days’ worth of cow ears in a bag along with a doggy toothbrush, toothpaste and a few cubes of dried fish (the traditional pay-off for letting me clean their teeth). I’d handed the bag to Susan who put it safely away in a cupboard, and there it had stayed until someone furry found a way to retrieve it. Even more remarkable was the fact that – after first consuming all the fish cubes – they had apparently rationed themselves to one cow ear each, leaving the rest in and around the shredded bag. As Beagle raids go, this had been almost civilized.
Over the next couple of days we visited nearby fishing village Gourdon..
..and the beach at Lunan Bay. While Gourdon was notable for its splendid rolling-in-seagull-guano opportunities, it was Lunan Bay that provided the most entertainment, courtesy of Biggles’ reaction to its sandfly population. He’s encountered sandflies before of course, but never in such great numbers. By golden hour the beach was literally jumping with the little buggers, and The Bigglet decided that the only way to deal with them was to dig, dig, dig.
The beach visit started out peacefully enough.
The dynamic duo investigated the ruins of a sand castle..
..peed on it
..explored arches and caves
..and chowed down on some particularly tasty barnacles
But then those pesky sandflies turned up..
..and the digging began.
Most dogs look a bit silly when they’re digging, but with that big white bum of his Biggles takes it to a whole new level
The digging didn’t eradicate the sandflies but it gave my boy a damned good workout, and the long drive back home had heavy snoring as its soundtrack.