Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fairholmes Via Alport Castles & Slippery Stones. (1)

Tommy and I arrived by car at Fairholmes car park at around 10:30 and left on foot some 15 minutes later. Tommy was excited by the thought of a day in the hills as was I to some extent. The first part of our walk was a climb through dark woods to Lockerbrook Farm. Not long after entering the trees I decided to let Tommy off the lead but he was so excited that he just went off in all directions at the same time but worse still he didn’t come back to me when I shouted him so when I finally caught up to him he was put back on the lead at the same time being told that if he can’t do as he is told then attached to the lead he would stay.

Then there was a clearing in the trees there were some good views back across the valley. I wasn't bothered myself, being very fit and what have you but for Tommy's sake I stopped several times to check the views.

View across to Lockerbrook Farm

Looking to Lose Hill from Rowlee Pasture.

After pulling me up the hill to Lockerbrook I think he got the message because past Lockerbrook we headed out over the moors, there was another guy way up ahead but that was all so I let Tommy go again and this time he acted much better and although he strayed from the path a couple of times at first he came back the second I called him and soon he had the hang of following the path and leaving any tempting smells off the path to his imagination. We met someone going the opposite way to us, he stopped for a chat and before leaving gave Tommy a fuss, Tommy took the opportunity to check him out with a few sniffs to the trouser leg.

The Lone Walker On Birchin Lee Pasture.

We crossed Rowlee Pasture and Birchinlee Pasture to Alport Castles where we decided to stop and have some lunch. It was here that we caught up to the other hiker we had seen in the distance some way back, it turned out to be a teacher looking to meet up with some of his pupils who were out for a walk in the hills. He made himself comfortable under the old broken down wall and waited for the pupils to turn up, he was still waiting for them when we left after eating lunch. The wind was fairly whipping up the valley so we too looked for a sheltered place under the old stone wall. Tommy seemed to appreciate the views because he kept on going to the edge of the hill and looking down to the valley floor way below. Every now and then he came back to see if I left him anything which of course I did. He eventually made a bed by the side of me and had a little rest.

One of the rock formations at Alport Castles.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fairholmes Via Alport Castles & Slippery Stones. (2)

The wind was cold on the hill so we didn’t stay too long. We left Alport Castles and headed down off the hill to the Howden Reservoir. We’d not long been walking when Tommy stopped and started to be sick and he continued to be this way for the rest of the walk, I don’t know what caused him to be this way and he didn’t show any other signs of being ill, he still brought me sticks to throw and he was soon jumping around in any streams that we came upon.

The walk along the side of the Reservoir was very pleasant, much warmer than on the hill.

There were quite a few cyclists on this part of the walk too, one nearly made us jump out of our skins as neither me nor Tommy heard him approaching behind us.

We saw several lots of interesting and colourful toad stools on the way to Slippery Stones.

At Slippery Stones there is a river that Tommy likes to play in and there is a tree where I like to sit against and watch him, that’s if I don’t doze off to sleep. The sun was very warm here and so we stayed quite a while resting and drinking coffee from the flask I took along.

The Sleeping Tree At Slippery Stones.

From here it was just 4 miles along the track be the side of the reservoir back to the car. I hadn’t been hiking for a while so I was feeling a bit tired by now so I didn’t rush things, especially with Tommy still being sick every now and then, I was getting quite worried about him at this point.

Tommy Checking Out The Route.

Anyway we just about managed to stagger back to the car. The only thing that happened between Slippery Stones and the car was when we were about half way we stopped to look at some birds and this guy came past us and as he did so I noticed he had a walkie talkie clipped to his belt, this meant he was a park ranger. He got away down the track then turned and came back so I quickly fastened Tommy back on his lead. I don’t think he was bothered but I didn’t want to spoil the day by getting in to trouble for having my dog off the lead. It turned out he was coming back to take a picture of the birds, at least that’s what he said.

On the way to my parents we called in at Stoney Middleton and bought fish and chips for dinner. Thankfully Tommy wasn’t sick in the car, in fact he hasn’t been sick since we stopped walking so I don’t know what was going on with him. Anyway I had a good day and if Tommy doesn’t run and hide next time the backpack comes out I reckon that means he had a good day too.