Beanie’s Birthday Bash – Part Three

On the third day we’d planned to climb Ben Nevis. Not all the way to the top – just to the half way lochan at around 700 metres. We were camped at the foot of the mountain and it filled the windows of our caravan. How could we go home without checking out the views? However, when we woke on Saturday morning all we could see was mist and driving rain. The forecasts didn’t give us much hope of it drying up before nightfall so we decided to have a bit of a lazy day with just a trail run in the afternoon.

We found a nice little forest trail nearby with a large, hilly section of ancient woodland. There were spectacular views of the mountains but unfortunately we didn’t see much thanks to the rain! Once again, our legs felt like lead and we were both pretty relieved that the Ben Nevis walk had been rained off – I think we’d have struggled!

Here’s a little video clip of the run.

The day may have been somewhat low-key but that doesn’t mean it was completely uneventful. While relaxing after the run, Biggles decided to reverse up to Paul and purge his anal glands on his T-shirt. The resulting stink was so bad that even Biggles himself flashed Paul a look that said “Ugh! Dad you smell BAD!” Needless to say we made use of the on-site laundrette that evening.

Beanie’s Birthday Bash – Part Two

On day two we headed out towards Ardnamurchan to enjoy some coastal routes.

In the morning we walked to an abandoned crofting village called Simirisary and then on over the hills to a beautiful white beach looking across to Eilean Coille and other small islands.

Our hearts sank when we got our first view of the village and the flock of sheep happily grazing amongst the old buildings. Fat chance of ‘Brother Biggles’ sticking to his vow of silence. Actually, we’d have been fine if those darn sheep had just stood still. But they bolted and our Beagles went ballistic! Biggles was so outraged he kept his woofer turned to eleven for the rest of the day.

IMG_9049 - Smirisary Village

The road-less village has long since been abandoned but many of the ruined cottages have been restored for use as holiday cottages.

The path from the village to the beach is really quite dramatic – it takes you through bogs, across streams and along a cliff edge before descending to a lovely secluded beach. The only other way to get to the beach is by boat.






Beanie and Biggles explored every nook and cranny of the beach:


Searched for crabs in the rock pools:


And STILL the recently ex-communicated Brother Biggles was mouthing off about those sheep:


After lunch we set off on a 10k run to another secluded beach. This time the route itself wasn’t as spectacular – a little section beside a loch then along a bog standard forest track. It did however take us into an area known to contain unexploded WWII munitions; we passed a couple of big red warning signs cautioning us not to disturb any metal objects we might find. Beanie & Biggles of course couldn’t read the signs but that was just as well, because telling a Beagle not to do something is a sure way of getting them to do it as an act of defiance.

Against all odds we made it to the beach without getting blown up. The beach is called ‘Singing Sands’ due to the low frequency sound that is generated when you shuffle your feet along the beach. Even on a dull day it has the feel of a tropical island. Beautiful white sand, lovely blue-green sea and white frothy waves crashing on the beach.



Here’s a short video clip of the run. We actually look more ‘spritely’ than we felt in this video. The previous day’s hill climb had really taken it’s toll on our poor old legs!

Beanie’s Birthday Bash – Part One

What do you buy for a little girl that has everything? It was Beanie’s birthday and aside from a squeaky copy of the ‘Dogmopolitan’ (on sale for 70p in Tesco) we couldn’t think of anything she might like that she hasn’t already got. At four she’s a bit old for birthday parties so we decided upon a birthday camping trip to the West Highlands.

We set off at the crack of dawn on Thursday morning and got settled in with just enough time left for a walk up the Pap of Glencoe before darkness fell. At just 742 metres high the Pap of Glencoe isn’t a particularly big mountain but its steep and distinctive cone-shaped summit is a real landmark in the area around Ballachulish.


IMG_8907 - Climbing the Pap of Glencoe

We’d read that the final ascent is very rocky and scrambly – which makes for a very tricky descent when attached to our Beagles. We decided to invest in a pair of cheap walking poles to see if they’d help any. I found them to be a real hindrance on the way up – they made me feel (and look) like an OAP. I can’t comment on how helpful they might be on the way back down as the boggy slopes of the mountain had swallowed the bottom section of both poles before we reached the summit leaving me with two useless stumps.

IMG_8962 - Climbing the Pap of Glencoe




We approached the summit at about 5.00pm leaving us just an hour and a half to enjoy the views then make our way back down before dark. As I scrambled up the final few feet it occurred to me that Beanie’s line was much longer than Biggles’ – how could that be? She was now quite a distance from me. Then it dawned on me – her lead had somehow unclipped and my wayward little Beagle girl was loose on a mountain. I forced down the sheer panic building inside me and called out a cheerie “Beanie – here!”. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when my little angel turned her head, wagged her tail and trotted over to me. Clearly she hadn’t realized she was loose – if she had, I think she’d have legged it in search of the bellowing stag on the neighboring mountain and we’d have been shivering at the top of the mountain in pitch darkness waiting for her to get bored and come back to us!

Beanie safely back on lead. The views are so spectacular in all directions that we couldn’t agree on what way to look!

IMG_9000_stitch - Summit of Pap of Glencoe



We got back to the car just as darkness fell.