Canicross Scotland Re-launch

Without realising it, Beanie and Biggles had been canicrossing pretty much since they started walking. Canicross is canine cross-country hiking or running with the dog attached to it’s handler by a secure harness, bungee line and belt. We’ve always ran and hill walked with them and quickly discovered that it was damn hard work keeping two norky Beagles under control in open countryside. It wasn’t long before we Googled for some kind of hands free lead system…and stumbled across canicross kit.

Eighteen months or so ago we started dabbling more in races and parkruns with the dogs and we started up a little website to try and attract other people to what was a very new sport. That didn’t really go well (races OR website) and it fell by the wayside. Now we’ve got ourselves back on track and have managed to get canicross to fit our ickle Beaglets like a glove. So we’re re-launching our site – it’s going to be a glorious amalgamation of all the things we are passionate about – our gorgeous Beagles, the Scottish countryside, running, hiking, caravaning and photography.

I know lots of Beanie and Biggles pals share their interests so I thought you guys might be interested. We’ve just got a little single page up right now but the full site will be here soon. I hope you all like it!

You’ll find the new website ( here:

Canicross Scotland – Running and Hiking with Dogs

We’ll still be posting about Beanie and Biggles canicross adventures on FourLeggedPal. This new site is going to be something a bit different…all will become apparent in due course!

Trail Hounds

Fortunately for us, everyone in our family enjoys running fast rather than far. Unfortunately for us, only the four legged family members can do it! So, in anticipation of some fabulous running and hiking holidays in the mountains Paul and I have been working very hard on our running speed. We’re both making good progress, and Paul in particular is now able to maintain a speed that the puplets approve of….almost.

On a week-in-week-out basis I don’t think any of us would enjoy running more than about 10k in a single run. That said, it is nice to know that you can pull 20 k or more out of the bag for a great trail on holiday. We were therefore pleased when several weeks ago we all comfortably completed a 21.5k run along the Smugglers Trail to Troon. It was quite by accident – we got lost (well, a combination of tempted by ice-cream and lost). But the really encouraging thing was that:

  • I (the weakest link) ran at between my 5k and 10k race pace for most of the way
  • We’d completed a fairly strenuous hill walk the day before
  • We had a club 5k time trial the day after at which Paul and I set new personal bests.
  • The pups stayed calm and didn’t pull too much (something that we’ve been working hard on for months now).

In theory, training for speed should give you distance as a spin off. But until you’ve tried it you’re never quite sure if it really works. Encouraged by this knowledge that we could safely dip into the occasional longer distance run without the drudgery of weekly long, slow plods (we train primarily for 5k distance, cross country and hill running), we decided to find some fabulous new local trails that would accommodate the occasional longer adventure.

We’d planned a reconnaissance run at one such trail this morning – or to be more accurate, a series of interlinking trails along the river Ayr:

It was perfect! You can run for miles and there are a variety of different routes to keep it interesting. The terrain is just perfect for our little Beagles – winding, narrow paths through the woods, along the river bank, through open farmland. It’s going to be wonderful watching the scenery change with the seasons.

It has to be said, it was a little muddy:


A muddy Biggle tum

And a grubby Beanie tum

But thanks to Beanie and Biggles’ sophisticated self-cleaning system they were both sparkly clean by the time we got home.


Reluctant Bohemians

Last year we planned a lot of our hill walking and trail running trips in advance which meant we visited some of the best places in the worst weather. This year we’ve decided to try and avoid commitments and head for the hills whenever the sun makes an appearance. So far, winter has been miserable. The crisp, white frost and blue skies of the past two years has been replaced by gales, rain and gray skies. We resigned ourselves to staying close to home and working hard on our fitness in preparation for 2012’s adventures in the hills. As luck would have it, when the sun finally came out we’d been training so hard that all we were fit for was a good rest. So much for the new Bohemian lifestyle!

We still managed to get a good dose of sunshine close to home though.


Having completely fried all my muscles with speed sessions and power-lifting over the past fortnight I’m on a strict diet of easy runs this week. Beanie and Biggles are very happy about this as it means plenty of nice 90 minute runs on the beach for them. Today we trundled along in a civilised manner until their dad appeared with the camera part way along our course. Things got a bit exciting then….especially when dad lured the pups through ice cold water dragging their hapless mum behind them!

That water was FREEZING – there was no way Beanie was going in!

Blue skies, blue sea, warm sunshine and the snowy white peaks of Arran peaking out above the haze. What more can you ask for?


Such well behaved pups!

I’m a firm believer that most things in life are good for you in small doses. And that goes for canicross too. A little bit of pulling in harness is very good for the dogs – it is strength training after all. But just as you and I need to keep strength and speedwork in moderation – and build it on top of a strong fitness base, so too do the pups. As such, the dogs are on flexi leads for most of our long runs (today was an exception because my arms were killing me after a hard gym session!). This is the next best thing to running free as it gives them plenty of scope to vary their speed and run the way they choose. We’ve been trying to take this a step further this winter and have been working on ways to get them off-lead on a regular basis. We’ve come up with lots of off-lead games for the beach which are working well and keeping them close to us, but we also take them to a safe enclosure where they can let rip.





And of course, the sunshine has prompted plenty of play sessions in the garden.


Hopefully our winter training will get us in great shape for the spring and summer. We’ve got lots of trips planned (although no dates set!), the main one being a week long extravaganza of trail running, hill running, hill walking and hiking on the Isle of Skye.