Seeking refuge from the traditional Christmas – i.e. eating too much then falling into a coma on the sofa in front of mind numbingly crap TV – we spent most of Dec 25th out in the hills around Arrochar. We hoped to walk to the top of Ben Ime (the highest of the Arrochar peaks) and celebrate Christmas on the summit huddled in our big orange storm shelter. We were certainly well equipped for the task; in addition to copious layers of clothing, snow spikes, blankets and thermally insulated mats, we had turkey sandwiches, mince pies, some naff tinsel and a small set of battery-operated Christmas lights. Unfortunately our plans went down the toilet faster than projectile vomit from the mouth of a norovirus victim.
The main problem, as you might guess, was the weather. Visibility on the hills was dramatically reduced by heavy mist/fog, and Ben Ime itself was almost completely covered in deep snow. We bravely walked a little of the way up, but our spirit of adventure gave way to common sense when we got hit by a heavy, wind-driven sleet shower. Out came the storm shelter and we hurriedly threw it over ourselves, our Beagles and our rucksacks as we perched on a lump of rock. Ben Ime was no longer on the menu, and sadly neither were the turkey sarnies and Christmas decorations. Why? Well the fact is there’s just not that much room in our shelter, and when you’ve got a hungry, shivering Beanie on your lap the last thing you want to be doing is wrestling with tinsel and sandwich boxes.
I promise I won’t try to eat your sandwiches and mince pies. Honest.
I can’t say it was particularly comfortable in the shelter, but at least it did warm up quite quickly. Whatever material that big orange bag is made out of, it’s good at trapping warm air and keeping out the elements. Too good in fact. It has two vents to allow gas exchange, but unfortunately/fortunately (depending on your species) these vents are the perfect size for Beagle heads. Beanie was the first to ram her head down a vent, but shortly after Biggles found the other vent on his side and blocked it also. At this point, both of our Beagles had an unlimited supply of fresh mountain air, while we were trapped inside the shelter with their little furry bottoms. It soon got pretty funky in there I can tell you, even though none of us had consumed any Brussels sprouts yet. When the shower eventually subsided I made a hasty escape!
The sleet shower has gone! Beanie & Biggles join me outside, while Susan – having succumbed to the foul botty gases – remains inside
As often happens, the end of the shower heralded a brief spell of dry, clearer weather and I was able to take a few shots. The Cobbler and Ben Ime never once lost their misty shroud however.
We packed up and started the long trudge back to the car. Every now and then we got a thorough soaking, but at least this time it was just plain rain with little or no wind. Each time a shower passed we were treated to another brief spell of better weather, even the odd burst of sunlight!
Just before we descended into the forest we seized a last chance to put our Christmas decorations to use..
Back at home, chilled to the bone and consumed by hunger, the four us ate enough food for a small army, crashed out on the sofa and fell into a group coma in front of an endless stream of crap compilation shows and repeats on the telly. I guess there’s no escaping Christmas tradition after all!
The next day – following an early run on the beach and a visit to relatives – we finally got round to that other Christmas tradition: opening the presents. Experience has taught us that its largely a waste of money to buy posh pressies for our two doglets. They’re just as happy – happier in fact – with a pile of treat filled boxes to rip apart. Yep, the best way to a waggy Beagle is wanton destruction followed by food!
Fortunately for us, this Nokia box hadn’t housed a mobile phone for some time. Not that Biggles would have cared either way!
Why bother unwrapping when you can just stick your whole head in there?
Of course that technique can result in a bad case of “box-head”
Eventually our two hit upon a couple of boxes holding a something more substantial: tripe-filled bones!
Mid way through her bone, Beanie couldn’t shake the feeling that she’d missed something in one of the boxes. She started rummaging through the debris and eventually confirmed her suspicions: there were still a few crumbs in the box that had come from the Beagles Bakery.
It’s never a good idea to leave your primary treat unguarded though. Biggles may be hen-pecked and beaten down by his sister at times, but he’s still brave enough to swap his mostly finished bone for hers when she’s otherwise occupied..
Simple plans work best: just drop my bone, take hers and scarper to the other side of the room!
Surprising though it may seem, Beanie was quite happy with the swap. She’d been having a hard time crunching through the bone to the extra tasty bit in the middle but now she had one that Biggles had prepared for her!
Peace and contentment amid the carnage..