A couple of weeks ago the stormy weather was swapped for a cold snap. We used this brief respite from gales and driving rain to check out another local walk that we’d so far ignored: Kildoon Hill, near Maybole.
The route started out in the town, and ordinarily this would have given Beanie & Biggles plenty of chances to sample the discarded food wrappings left over from the previous evening; on this morning however the litter was proving very difficult to free from the icy pavement, and our two furry roadsweepers had to make do with a couple of frozen poos (poosicles, as I call them).
It was so cold that even the local doggy water station was out of commission
After a little while we left the town and headed out into the Ayrshire countryside, getting our first proper look at Kildoon Hill and its distinctive monument.
Just before we turned off the road onto the path up the hill, we encountered something I’d never seen in a rural setting before: pigs. There were only two of them, and they had to share their field with a load of sheep, but they each had their own personal abodes which more than anything else resembled big dog kennels.
At first our two didn’t know what to make of these creatures, and quietly sniffed away while the pigs themselves trotted over to take a look at us. It was kind of fitting that Biggles should finally meet a pig; ever since he was a pup we’ve jokingly referred to him as “Bigglet Pigglet” because of the grunting and squealing noises he makes when he picks up a scent and gets excited. He didn’t do any pig impressions this time however, and he only managed a half-hearted woofing once he was sure that the fence would protect him.
The “climb” up the hill was very gentle, but sadly we were denied the chance to reach the summit and check out the monument due to a herd of cows. While sheep are pesky and get Beanie & Biggles worked up, they do at least scarper once Beanie unleashes her hunting voice. Cows on the other hand are a very different matter. In fact, cows are officially the most lethal animals in the British Isles. It’s kind of a statement about Britain that while other countries have iconic, vicious predators like alligators, lions, and deadly spiders and snakes, we’ve just got herds of surly burgers-on-legs.
Still, by dodging the field full of cows were able to rejoin the circular route without skipping too much of it. The only other hazards we encountered from that point on were prickly gorse bushes, marshy fields and a stile or two. By the time we reached the town, everything was thawing and Beanie was finally able to help herself to a discarded paper napkin soaked in finest Maybole street gravy.
This may not be the most elegant way to get a Beagle over a stile, but it works.
The break in the weather continued for a day or two, but on the morning I was due to give the pups a run on the beach we were back to battling against 40mph+ winds and near-horizontal rain. Beanie & Biggles enjoyed it as usual (windy weather is always fun if you’re a Beagle) but I was much less enthusiastic about the return of the stormy stuff.
Having loaded the pups into their car crates after the run, I collapsed into the driver’s seat and sat for a couple of minutes until I could summon up enough energy to buckle up and drive us back home. While I was still recovering, a small bus parked up next us. It belonged to an excellent little charity that gives mentally disabled kids and adults regular outings, but boy had they chosen the wrong day for a trip to the seaside. Not only were the occupants of the bus about to get soaked and sandblasted by the weather, they were also going to get a double Beagle arrffing of biblical proportions. The very instant one of the visitors exited the bus, our car erupted with howls of Beagle protest and alarm.
Scientists have established that dogs are very good at recognizing human faces, and it stands to reason that they’ll also spot when a person’s expression is somewhat different from the norm. Unfortunately while many dogs choose not make a song and dance about it, certain dogs – specifically Beagles called Beanie & Biggles – like to shout the place down and get so agitated that the car they’re in starts to rock on its suspension.
Now thoroughly embarrassed as well as knackered, I started the engine and made as quick an exit as I could, with my two PIBs still howling away in the back.