Believe it or not, that’s the face of a birthday girl. She’s looking glum because last night she somehow twanged either a nail or digit on her front left paw, and this morning she had to miss out on her walk. Worst of all, this new injury was judged not to be worthy of a trip to the vet, which would have made her day. So there she lays, bored and p*****d off on her birthday, taking only minimal solace from the fact that her bum is blocking the remote control signal to the tv.
Before you break out the violins, let’s look at her two hours later:
A timely delivery from The Beagles Bakery saved the day and curiously her injury – though no doubt very serious indeed – somehow failed to cramp her style as she tore into her chocolate “pupcake” and vacuumed up the resulting crumbs. Once she’d finished (and Biggles had devoured his cake too) I sat her on my lap in front of the computer and reminded her that although she’d missed out on her morning walk, she hadn’t missed out on a single second of her pre-birthday adventure in Galloway a few days earlier.
A break in the weather a week before Beanie’s fifth had us heading to a campsite just a few miles from the spectacular Mull of Galloway. We’d been there once before on a day trip but this time, with a the caravan as our base, we were able visit more than just the lighthouse and the rugged coastline it sits on. Our first port of call was Dunskey Castle in Portpatrick.
Dunskey Castle, Portpatrick during the day..
And at sunset…
It was closed to the public so Beanie & Biggles were sadly unable to go inside and give it the thorough sniffing it deserved. In retrospect this was probably a good thing; one or two of the walls didn’t look too stable and our two already have a history of knocking things over. You may recall that Schiehallion ended up a few inches shorter after our last visit to it!
A little further out from our campsite was a quiet little village called the Isle of Whithorn.
Watch out Isle of Whithorn, here comes trouble…
Some years ago the village was used extensively in the original version of the film “The Wicker Man“. We didn’t spot Britt Eckland prancing about in the altogether or Christopher Lee wearing an outrageous wig, but that’s not to say that our visit passed without drama. We took a walk along the coastline near the village, crossing through several fields of cattle. This is ordinarily not a good thing to do with dogs, but the path we were following kept a healthy distance between us and the cows and the outward leg of our walk went without incident.
The views by the coastline were great
Beagles just love clambering over things, and that’s the perfect Beagle assault course, right there
Of course our two had us tied to them which cramped their style a bit.
But still it was a very stimulating walk
The return journey was equally as stimulating, but for a different reason. All the cows that had stayed clear of us before were now blocking our path. We tried to find a route around them but the rising tide put a stop to that. In the end we just had to brave it and weave our way through them. The prevailing advice for dog walkers who encounter cows is simply “let the dogs off lead” but that’s not really an option with two crazy Beagles, so Susan went ahead in an attempt to clear the path for me and the pups. It worked, but at any point I knew a baying frenzy could easily have brought them down us or caused a stampede. Amazingly The Bigglet, who normally can be relied upon to open his gob at the worst possible time, stayed quiet. Our boy is daft as a brush, but apparently even a brush knows to zip it when surrounded by thirty or more cows. We made it safely back to the village, and celebrated by visiting nearby St Ninian’s cave.
The cave isn’t particularly big and is completely “open plan”, but it does have a rather nice view of the pebbly beach below it. I guess it’s like they always say in the property programmes on the tv: “location, location, location”
Sadly those cows weren’t the only danger we faced during the holiday. The second threat to our safety began during one lunch in the caravan. Susan was preparing a salad, and as usual this put both our Beagles on red alert for food nicking opportunities. At one point, Beanie made a play for the inside of the fridge, causing Susan to quickly rest her plate on the edge of the raised kitchen area. As I moved to grab Beanie’s collar, I looked up at Biggles and suddenly everything went into slow motion. Susan’s plate was now level with Biggles’ nose, putting a sizeable dollop of cheesy coleslaw within easy reach. Whereas Beanie would have hurriedly snatched some and scarpered, Biggles took his time. He studied it for a moment, then opened his mouth and paused again, adjusting the angle of his head to achieve the largest possible intake with a single mouthful. As I pointed with my free hand and struggled to raise the alarm to Susan, Biggles slowly and deliberately closed his jaws around the small mountain of coleslaw, taking probably 90% of it in one go. The terrible repercussions of this artful piece of food nickage were not felt until the following day…
The best part of the holiday was always going to be our return to the Mull of Galloway, and this time we planned to see it in dawn light. An early start was required of course, and by six a.m. the four of us were in the car and well on our way. As we drove though the darkness both Susan and I became aware of intestinal gurgling sounds even above the road noise. It was coming from behind us – specifically from one of the dog crates. Though Biggles was seemingly in a peaceful sleep, his digestive system was working over time and the pressure was building. Back in World War I, Mustard gas was the scourge of the trenches, but I can tell you, Cheesy Coleslaw gas is pretty damned bad too. By the time we reached our parking spot, I was farting defensively; it was better to breathe in my own than what was coming out of Biggles’ bum.
Things got better once we were out in the fresh air, and armed with headtorches we picked our way through prickly things and stinging nettles until we were close to our sunrise viewing location. Before we could set up camp I had some intestinal pressure of my own to relieve, and it wasn’t gas. There was nothing for it but to do what bears do in the woods, even though I wasn’t in the woods and wasn’t a bear either for that matter. Unfortunately I didn’t distance myself sufficiently from Beanie, and she got an unexpected pre-breakfast snack. Nothing is disgusting to a Beagle. Nothing.
On a brighter note, we’d chosen our location well – the view along the cliffs to the lighthouse was truly stunning.
That was the first of two sunrises we experienced at the Mull of Galloway. We found another good viewing location: a little promontory, further away from the lighthouse. It was covered in lush grass that made a very comfortable bed for Susan and the Beagles while we waited for the sun…
Biggles fast asleep in Susan’s arms, while beanie snores gently at her feet (under a blankie of course!)
We were only away for four nights, but we packed a lot into Beanie’s fifth Birthday bash. Here are some more of the highlights:
Beanie performs the sacred Biscuit Dance ritual, conjuring forth two meat chip Bonios for herself and Biggles
Sunset approaches on the Mull of Galloway
The pups at a different lighthouse – Killantringan
Killantringan has been decommisioned and is now a guest house
Killantringan post sunset
A sunrise run for Susan and the pups on the beach by our campsite