Dad, can I have a sheep for Christmas?

On Saturday we headed out to Muirshiel Country Park for a long, strictly on-lead walk. The moment we got onto one of the signposted walks Beanie and Biggles went crazy. They pulled like mad on their extending leads and kept tying each other up. We decided to leave the narrow paths and head out into the fields – with all that space our professional lead tanglers would be easier to handle.

It started out well – the ground was muddy but manageable. After a few minutes we came across what appeared to be drainage ditches. They didn’t look too wide, so I got as close as I dared to edge of the first one and jumped across. As my lead foot landed it sank straight through what had appeared to be solid ground. I was wearing waterproof shoes, but they aren’t very effective when you’re calf-deep in cold water. A few steps later Susan also had soaking wet feet. We squelched onward for a while, but eventually surrendered to common sense and headed back towards the signposted paths.

As we approached the edge of the marsh I was feeling quite envious of our all weather, all terrain Beagles, especially Biggles. He was strutting about so proudly, head and tail held high. But you know what they say about pride…

Suddenly Biggles disappeared from view. He’d slid into one of the ditches, and at first I couldn’t help but laugh. I expected him to come shooting straight out of the water, but a few seconds went by without any sign of him. I was about to run over to extract him when a paw reached up from the watery abyss. Then another paw appeared, and a mad scramble ensued as he hauled himself up the other side of the ditch. He shook himself off, put his tail back up and carried on ahead without even sparing me a glance. I’m still a beginner at reading Beagle body language, but in this case the message was abundantly clear: “Nothing happened. Move along!”

We’d had enough of the whole “off road” idea by now, and it was too windy for Windy Hill, so we headed out along the old mine track. In many ways this walk was much easier going; no mud, and no water-filled ditches. It did have hazards of a different kind though: sheep!

We’ve known for some time that Beanie’s quite keen on sheep, but she can’t hold a candle to Biggles. Every time he caught sight of one he went straight into hunting posture and started baying.


Beanie often joined in on the act…





but Biggles was nearly always the first to spot them, and the last to come out of hunting mode. While Beanie would often lose interest and wander off for a casual sniffabout..


..he stayed focused and was on the lookout all the time.



There’s no doubt about it: Biggles has a much stronger prey drive than his sister! At least now we know what he wants for next Christmas.

A few more shots from the walk:


A rare moment – no pulling!


Normal service has been restored


Power walking, Beagle style