Well Hello,

 

img2[1]

… and a very warm welcome to my dog blog. I’m so pleased that you’ve found me. I do hope you will enjoy reading about the trials and tribulations of my great adventure. I would love it if you joined in the saga by dropping me a line in the comments box. As you will see I’m going to need all the support I can get.

this my v. v. v big tail!

I started my blog in 2015 as a  young orphan puppy, from West Cumbria in the United Kingdom. It records how –  by walking over 1,000 miles and climbing the 282 Scottish mountains over 3.000 feet (The Munros) – I aim to raise £32,000 for two v. v. v good causes. I have promised not to use any of the dosh for even a tiny morsel of a treat, how hard is that?   Me, an agile young collie and my person – a creaky aging thing (called B) – aim to complete the task by the time I am 10 and she is 70. We are to spend many hours in some of the most wonderful and  remote parts of the UK: walking, camping, eating, drinking, writing and growing ever closer and closer.

Scary map of 52 Munros completed, and those still to do 235!

This is our story from a canine perspective for a change.

The human story is very slow, but you can try to access it here and join the group: 

Facebook – Mucky Boots and Flawless Paws

The money we raise will be spilt between a charity for search and rescue dogs, and Canine Partners, which trains assistance dogs to  support disabled people. These dogs are sooooooo clever. This is Bumble and Sandra’s story. I am in love with Bumble.

SANDRA BELL AND BUMBLE – Partnership study

There are film clips of the clever canines at work below.  If after watching them you think what amazing creatures we dogs really are, and you wanted to support their work, you could always drop me a penny or two for my fundraising, just here :

Munro challenge doggy bag fund – just giving

Please join in the chat, by adding your thoughts below and become part of the adventure. It will give me encouragement and I’m going to need it, by the bucket full

By the bye, all my blog posts are here, on my home page, but I have other more specific pages. You just need to click a mouse (ouch!), on the menu below my lovely photo at the top, to access them:

  • Ben Speak – Understand the dogisms, and the odd philosophical musing in my blog.
  • Ben’s Annual Reviews – A summary of my little world, one post per year.
  • Ben’s Reads – My gift of reading just for you, in my recommended reads.
  • Ben’s Team – A slide show of those in commerce giving me a paw up.
  • Ben, The Dog Poet – check out my back log of verse and doggerel.
  • Constitution/Donate/Contact  Check out my credentials, donate, or contact me.
  • Munro Posts – All my Munro posts, copied and arranged in chronological order from the start to finish, in one place.

You tube – Canine Partners at work

You tube – Search and Rescue dog doing their thing.

One last thing. Check out the comments here to see good luck wishes from the famous: Roy Hattersley and people associated with Julia Bradbury and Elton John 🙂

That was hard work, Need sleep.

Ben Asleep
And so to bed

Love Ben xx untitled 1

Advertisements

#Tanka, dog poet tells the time

Hello,

how lovely of you to visit me, thank you. This is the latest offering of the dog-poet in response to Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge The two prompt words this week, to be integrated synonymously, are love and time.

You can read all about my v. v. v big adventure by visiting my home page  and also, my Munro blogs. All my poems are here dog-poets page

 

SIRIUS
Sirius the dog star – the brightest star in the sky

Dogs don’t own watches.
My guide is the sun’s compass
And the earth’s orbit –
Long days on the mountains
Kissed by Sirius in sleep.

By Ben, the dog poet © 2018

http://earthsky.org/brightest-stars/sirius-the-brightest-star

There are so many great poets contributing to this weekly challenge

This link will take you to last week’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Recap featuring the work of poets from around the globe.

Love Ben xx0

 

 

 

Dog poet wins poetry award for second time :)

Dear Muses,

I am such a proud dog. Thank you so much to Colleen for awarding me the great honour of Poet Of The Week, for the poem in my last blog , and for hosting such a brilliant weekly challenge. I am humbled to be chosen among all the choice from such great poets. I have learnt such a lot about the art from all of them.

untitled

Each Monday Colleen posts a recap of that week’s challenge which contains the work of the winner, and links to all the other poet’s contributions at the end. Starting this week, every time I enter the poetry challenge I am going to add the link to the recap post for the preceding week. Then all my other readers, who love poetry as much as I do, can scroll to the end, click onto the other contributors blogs and read their work too.

Resting on my laurels

SF 8

Love Ben xx 0

 

 

OMG, look what I’ve done now.

Hello

Thank you so much for coming to read my poem.

I had to do a v. v. v long journey recently which, joyously, gave me lots of time for poetry 🙂 As a result I have pawed a garland cinquain in response to Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge. The prompt words this week – to be used synonymously – are: congregate and passion.

This is what a cinquain is all about.

cinquain

A garland cinequi is a sequence of five stand alone cinquains with a sixth one that takes a line, in sequence, from each of the preceding five.

I have done my jolly best to stick to all the rules. Admittedly, line 3 of cinequi 4 doesn’t have obvious verbs but, if you had ever seen us dogs go, you would know we are the very personification of doing words 😎

I got a little carried away, with the whole thing of picking lines from preceding cinquains to make a new one thing, so… using my big Border Collie brains, I played around a bit – see no. 5. What larks 🙂

 

trevor
Our best people friend Trevor, with treats for Maisie, Amber and me

 

Morning
Forest beckons
Our people gathering
Excitement heralding the day
Walking

Chestnuts
Green canopy
Filtering sunlit paths
Canine playground, ecstatic dogs
Chasing

Mary
Derek, Stewart,
Meeting – David, Trevor
Talking about the president
Raging

Benzie,
Maisie, Toby,
Amber, Sam and Chuckles
Convene the doggy parliament
Zealous

Morning
Walking Chestnuts
Chasing Mary raging
Benzie zealous in protection
Barking

Morning
Green Canopy
Meeting – David, Trevor
Convene the doggy parliament
Barking

By Ben, the dog poet © 2018

That was hard work, must sleep.

Ben Asleep
And so to bed

Love Ben xx 0

My happiness in the flip of a coin

Hello,

how lovely of you to visit me, thank you. This is the latest offering of the dog-poet in response to Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge The two prompt words this week, to be integrated synonymously, are happy and morose.

The words Happy and Morose make me think about how my whole world rests on choices that are made for me, over which I have no control. After having a full tummy and feeling safe, what I love most is being out walking with my people. When I am most down-at-heart (and I can do sullen and stroppy very convincingly) is when my people go out and leave me. I have to report that it’s never for long, it just feels like forever.

Two sides of a coin –
Heads up, on the hills, joyful;
Tails down, home alone, glum.

By Ben, the dog poet © 2018

Love Ben

Third 2018 Munro Day (7th July), Ben Mhanach (No. 52)

Friends, collies, cattle grid pups,

The phone calls that had been exchanged, between the spot 400 metres from my parking place (just off the road at Bridge of Orchy, where we had a faint signal), and our caravan in Ullswater, were sorrowful and full of pathos. The old girl was giving out, her back legs no longer working at all, or reviving just a little. Caring duties had become wearing duties and our absence had added an additional strain to the small domestic unit. After last nights call me and B had a long chin wag, reaching a decision to go home a day early, after our walk the next day.

Thus it was, thinking of the old girl, that we set off to Beinn Mhanach with our hearts in our boots making for v. v. v heavy feet, causing the inspirational celebratory of yesterday to metamorphose into Mrs Plod. It was a long, long walk in of nearly two hours duration, through the beautiful Auch Gleann, with not many metres of ascent along the way. Thankfully, on a day forecast to be v. v. v hot, an early start had given us a head start and shade thrown down by the hills kept us cool.

As we came to the hydro works, and our route took off north up the steep-sided, pathless flank of ‘The Mountain of the Monks’, the sun in splendour announced itself in blazing shades of gold, at just the wrong time. Thus, the usual huffing and puffing serenade was today punctuated with much panting and pausing, which even I was joining in. The quick steep hop up for speedy Gonzales, who had written one of our guide books, was given quite a different description in which the words: shattered, sprawling and, bitten off more than I can chew, decorated the page. However, and with good grace, Mr Sun put his hat back on and this little gesture gave us a bit of respite. We fought our way up hill by way of meandering Zig Zaggs that eventually got us to an easier gradient, just below the top.

The uphill flog

On our way up the focus had largely been taken up with the lack of progress made by B’s plodding feet. Then, at the summit, all was transformed. A 360o vista displayed the Southern Highlands in a panorama that spoke straight to the soul. This contrast refreshed mind and spirit so that, thoughts of ditching the whole project were miraculously vanished from the radar, no more than 45 minutes after being planted there. Drama and Queen are a two words that passed through my mind at this time, for some reason.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Soaking up the views, and the inevitably bit with the camera, delayed our departure but, finally, the long drive home penetrated our thoughts and we turned to face the slog down the big hill and long walk back to my van.

If zig, zagging was a means of easing the gradient on the way up, all it served to achieve on the way down was dizziness and total confusion. One minute we were heading west in the direction of the fence we had crossed on our way up and the next we were going a long way east in exactly the opposite direction from where my van was parked. I became more than a bit disturbed by this loss of direction, thinking that perhaps my person’s brain had been pickled by the sun and the effort, or perhaps the bottles that make her very happy, which populate my van. Then, thankfully, just in the nick of time, some fellow hikers sitting by the fence called over, in a hail fellow well met sort of greeting. Happily, B waved and trooped over, back on a westward trajectory. More of that incomprehensible Munro dialect that I had witnessed yesterday took place over the next ten minutes or so but, I was so pleased with these humans I remembered my manners and even got praise and treats from them, for my good behaviour, much to the disgust of the canine in their pack.

The long walk back again

This diversion seemed to have cleared B’s brain because, after this, we set off straight down hill and were soon back on the track, starting the long walk back to my van. With the object of today’s adventure achieved and the 52nd Munro firmly in the bag, we began to visualise the lovely surprise that David would get when he saw me; I would brighten up his day.

Not too far from the end of our walk, while crossing a cattle grid, we encountered the strangest thing. A chubby little lamb had fallen through the grid and couldn’t work out an escape route, a thing that was beyond our combined grey matter too, even though I’m a big-brained Border Collie. We set our hopes on finding someone at home – a farmer type – in the cottages that were now in sight. Before then though we were able to flag down a passing vehicle and a shepherd was at the wheel. Twenty minutes later the truck passed again and a big thumbs up signalled success. We were so happy that we had rescued little Larry from his frightening ordeal.

I had meant, during the journey home, to keep a wary eye on B ensuring she didn’t go in for any of that dozing thing she often does when in the car with David. However, with the best will in the world, I did a bit of that dozing thing myself. Well, to be absolutely truthful, it was more of an out for the count, REM sleep, sort of dozing. I only came too when I was woken because it was everyone’s bedtime and I was in my garden at home. I’m sure I must have had some open eye time, to get a bit of dinner down me but, imagine this, I don’t remember; I was robbed.

Now there are no more Munros for Ben, until the old girl is the pot of gold where rainbow bridge ends 😦

The long sleep. My garden's never been this brown before.
And so to bed.

Love Ben xx untitled 1

Dog poet sheds tears

Hello,

how lovely of you to visit me, thank you. This is the latest offering of the dog-poet in response to Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge The two prompt words this week, to be integrated synonymously, are beliefs and strange.

You can read all about my v. v. v big adventure by visiting my home page  and also, my Munro blogs. All my poems are here dog-poets page

 

dog eating

Foreign festival

Provokes livid tears from Ben.

Each year in Yulin

Chinese people munch on dogs.

My thoughts vented in red ink.

By Ben, the dog poet © 2018

Stop Yulin Forever

Love Ben 0

 

 

 

The next Munro blog – day two (6th July), Buachaille Etive Beag (50 & 51)

Friends, collies, inspirational dogs,

On day two of our 2018 Munroing, after an early night and much needed sleep, we did rise with the dawn chorus and by 6am were travelling north, making our first foray into the astonishing beauty of Glen Coe. Here mountains rose towards the sky like none I had ever seen before. Gone were the grassy curves of the Perthshire hills, and the relentless, undulating tedium of the Cairngorms. Here, a display of might and power soared in sublime rock formations that truly took the breath away. Also, following such a prolonged spell of dry weather, the gullies had been robbed of the fearful spill and a silence, eerily tangible at this early hour, reverberated through the passage of the roadside giants. How on earth was one able to walk in this awesome place, I wondered.

For our walk today this question was answered – as predicted in our guide book – by the National Trust, that preserver of the nation’s treasures. Under it’s auspices the clearest of paths had been laid right from my van up onto the ridge and then, branching north and south, it marched between the two Munros on today’s hit list. This definition gave us such a paw up that, within two hours of parking my van, we were recording our arrival at the big

5   0,

beside a cairn that said: “Ben, you have arrived”.

Sadly, we had got up too early for the world’s media to capture the moment and, although I was a little disappointed, did I really want to share that moment with anyone else? Me and B, big hug on top of Stob dubh, the first of the two Munros on todays ridge.

The day had started cloudless, with awesome peaks striking the sky in sharp contrasts of black colliding with blue but, as the heat generated by an early sun met  cooler shadows in the glens, a surging mist filled the channels and, rising up, threw a protective cape around the shoulders of these majestic hills. The stupendous view down Glen Etive, that had been promised, was exchanged for a mind’s eye image informed by the OS map, of what we were missing.

5 A diffusing sun

Meantime, to our west, determined peaks began to puncture the cover, as the effusive mist met a diffusing sun. As we descended to the bealach the sky began to clear revealing a whole new panorama, where  ridges rode the sky, like flocks of migrating birds dipping and soaring with the wind.

riding the skty

The next ascent looked tough and steep but, within 20 minutes, B was chatting personably, at the top, with a very friendly and young (sorry B, but it’s true) two legged thing of the male variety.

summit

In fact, I was witnessing one of those disconcerting conversations, unique to Munroists, where they discuss their conquests. It starts off fine with a straight comparison of the number in the bag. We are also on reasonably firm ground with an exchange of how many years they have been at it. After that things become somewhat more sticky as more specifics of the Munrograpy are required. A few of the Bens are easy to get the tongue around and the bi peds can even have a reasonable stab at one or two Gaelic looking names such as,  Schiehallion, or Meall Garbh; sometimes even just a geographical location helps but, after that, we enter a void. Places where so much energy has been spent, where they have found the best and worst of themselves, and where they have gained the most amazing pride in achievements never thought possible, are just visual memories stored in the brain, never to be shared through the medium of words.

Note to B, must learn Gaelic.

Having a little giggle to myself, as the humans grappled with their inadequacies, I maintained that façade of calm I had manufactured since I left home on Wednesday. Just then, the silly man jumped up on a rock, stood at least a metre higher, and frightened the living day lights out of me  (whatever that means). I was not happy at all and got all tensed up. However, I didn’t give it wellie until, just then, two other humanoids invaded my space. That was it. All my amazing self-control gone in a mille-second and, in a barking and lunging frenzy, I released all that pent-up and constrained energy I had been trying so hard to contain. It was brilliant 🙂

Luckily B still had a hold of my lead otherwise… well, neither of us want to go there. It’s hard to let the two legged things know that it’s nothing personal because so many of them just want to be my friends. The pair I had just become acquainted with were, in a manner of barking, no different. I was eventually quietened with substantial quantities of Primular but I had lost my equilibrium and was angry with everyone for the rest of the day.

I suppose it’s a bit of a shame because we really should have been soaking up the views but a dog must do… Hats off, B managed a bit of snapping somehow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Before we left the summit B – despite my noise – had a bit of a confab  with the new arrivals. They had only done their first Munro just yesterday, albeit they had climbed “The Ben”, the biggest of them all. By this time B was all puffed up because, for the first time ever, she had done more Munro’s than the combined total of the three people atop Stob Coire Raineach. The latter visitors were very impressed by our project because, I think, of B’s great age. Such flattery gave a spring to her step on the way back and mitigated, to some extent, the venting I gave to my angry mood when anyone passed. Not long after we were back at my van the novices from the top arrived down, telling B they had been talking about her all the way down and what an inspiration she was. Well, I had to muffle a v. v. v big snorting thing. They really needed to see that inspiration in action, or rather in-action, on the pathless slopes of Ben Mhanach. However, I’m jumping the gun here and before that particular walk report I need zzzs.

IMG_3982
And so to bed

Love Ben xx untitled 1