Happy 2013!

Just as on Christmas Day we attempted to celebrate Jan 1st by going up a hill. This time we picked a much more modest size of hill, and given that we only had to cope with mud and rain on the way up rather than snow and fog, I’m happy to report that our venture was entirely successful. The hill in question was Knock Hill near Largs. We’d been up there once before, and that time we’d had to sneak past a trio of geese. This time there were no geese, but there was a horse and rider wearing very provocative high visibility garments and a stroppy sheep. It’s at times like the these that you need an alert, experienced and powerful woofer in your party to keep everyone safe. We of course had Biggles with us, and earlier in the week he’d proved that he was up to the task…

While walking by a local farm we encountered a group of eight cows who’d escaped from their field. As soon as they laid eyes on us they began approaching, picking up speed with every step. I hurriedly checked behind us for an escape route but there was nearly a mile of fenced country lane between us and the nearest turning point. When I looked back, the cows were at jogging pace and barely 20m away from us. It wasn’t looking good, but in the nick of time Biggles adopted a particularly wide legged stance, raised his tail bolt upright, and let loose a woofing of biblical proportions. I expected the noise to turn the jog into a stampede, but as the the lead cow got within about 10m of us the vocal barrage melted his resolve. He ground to a halt, executed a surprisingly nimble 180 and accelerated away from us. His seven buddies followed suit, and both Beanie and Biggles saw them on their way with further woofing and baying. Job done!

Similarly on our way up Knock Hill Biggles immediately recognized the threat posed by the hi-vis horse and rider, and unleashed his sonic weapon. As often happens the humies in his party were oblivious to the yellow peril and tried to quiet him, but he was having none of it, and bravely drove the fluorescent villians off our path. Later a stroppy sheep appeared on the opposite bank of the river we were following. Again the woofing machine went into high gear and the sheep was sent packing. Unfortunately during this second defensive operation, Biggles’ woofing equipment developed a fault and remained locked in the “on” position for a further 90 minutes. Historically this has often been a failing with Biggles’ woofer. Hopefully it’s not a sign that 2013 is going to be a particularly noisy year!

Anyway, we reached the top of the hill and were treated to rapidly changing conditions. In the space of ten minutes the weather cycled from heavy cloud and rain to sun and blue skies, and back again. Despite getting wet and having to shelter my camera and clean rain spots off the lens every so often, I actually love this kind of weather. It often produces the most amazing light, turning even unremarkable scenery into a dramatic landscape.



KnockHill [IMG_5027_Manual_Blend]


And throughout all this, Mr Biggles’ faulty woofing gear kept on a-goin’!!

Our stay on the hilltop came to an end shortly after our supply of meat chip Bonios ran out, and we started on the long boggy trudge back to the car. We got rained on some more, and got treated to some more wonderfully lit scenery.

Knockhill Trees [Merge2]

There are many ways to start a New Year but a picturesque hill walk with your Beagles, followed by a traditional steak pie dinner, has to be one of the better ones.