img2[1]I’m so pleased that you’ve seen my blog. Welcome to my v. v. v big tail!

The following blog will tell the story of how a young, unknown puppy – from West Cumbria, in the United Kingdom – gains fame and fortune as he walks  1,000 miles and climbs the 282 Scottish Mountains over 3.000 feet,  that make up the Munros. He, an agile young collie called Ben, and his mistress – a creaking, aging human named B – 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.

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

The human side of things is very slow, but you can try to access it here and join the group:  Facebook Group

As we go, B & me aim to raise £32,000 for charity. I’m not allowed any of this, not even a tiny morsel of a treat; how hard is that? The money will be spilt between a charity for search and rescue dogs, and Canine Partners, which trains assistance dogs to  support disabled people. 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, you could always drop me a penny or two just here : Just giving page

Please join in, and be part of, the adventure

By the by, everything I write is here on my home page but I have other more specific pages. You just need to click a mouse (ouch!), on the tabs under my lovely photo, at the top, to access them:

  • Ben Speak – Understand the references  in my blog.
  • Constitution – Keeping it right.
  • Donate/Contact – Donate to charities, or contact me.
  • Munro Posts. All my Munro posts in one place, arranged in chronological order from the start to finish.

thQWD0JURELove Ben xx

DBTG – Van update, vet visit, blog make over

Friends, collies and geeks,

Well my van is back from hospital and all my paws are crossed, which makes the simple joys in life, like walking, a bit difficult. Anyway, I’m taking my van on our hols to the caravan, to give it a test run. If all goes well, and the weather turns good for a few days – anytime in the next two weeks – me and B can head up to the Cairngorms.

By the by, I’ve had a couple of outpatient appointments myself in the last week. A graze was turning nasty. In fact, I had something called a granuloma because no one could stop me licking my wound. I was a canine Houdini when it came to getting my sock off. I’ve had steroids and am on antibiotics but Andy still isn’t that happy with it, so I’ve now got cream as well. It doesn’t stop me walking though. Only keeping my paws crossed about my van does that.

a sock

Me and B haven’t been idle while we’ve been trying to get everything right for the Munros. We have given my blog a make over, having learnt all about pages and wikis.


You can even translate my blogs into other languages. So, for the Cousins family, how about reading this post in Italian, while you are there and let me know if the translation is any good.

All this geeking is v. v. v hard work…

And so to bed

a 220

Love Ben xx

May blog – How frustrating is this?

Friends, collies and patient dogs,

I’m not quite sure I’ve got the constitution for all this roller coaster riding. Take the last month for example. Early on I watched all the paraphernalia of our Munro adventure being sculptured into my van, after it’s winter sojourn in the loft. It set my little heart racing and I got all excited. Having got used to a bit of the lime light over the last year, and not being one to sit things out on the side lines, I decided to muzzle in on the action. So, I jumped over the bucket, side stepped the Kelly Kettle and was tucked up in my cushion in a one, one, two, hosting that look of innocence that melt hearts. The one that Millie has been coaching me in.

Once there I got to thinking about last year and I remembered what a liability B is, to go away with. Flashbacks, of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder variety, flooded my head space and caution seemed a very wise word to adopt, as we approached this years adventure. What I really want to avoid is:

Anyway, we were all set and just waiting for the weather to come good. The first weekend looked ideal, apart from the 40 mph winds that were forecast across the summits. The second weekend was reasonable apart from the Saturday. This promised two slices of full sun embracing a filling of torrential rain and more high winds. Then there was my vans MOT to contend with. I sat beside B when she phoned up for the prognosis, tucking in close and bringing all  my very best, silent canine support to bear. Then, holy Moses and shiver my timbers it worked, save the odd light bulb or two. Munros 2017, here we come.

So, with the van packed and sporting a clean bill of health, we looked eagerly at the forecast for the weekend ahead; it seemed perfect. Apparently, we were going on a foray into the Cairngorms. Half way through the week we just needed to give my van a quick run around to keep everything hunky dory. Now, this is where you have to feel v. v. v sorry for me and B.

My van had died again. Not the stubborn “I can’t be bothered to get going” moan, that had plagued us over the winter. This was a deep cry from the last cell of battery deficiency – I’ve given all I can and have nothing left, it’s total silent seemed to indicate. My little jump start kit couldn’t cajole it into action and even jump leads couldn’t kick start it. We only had four days to go and B was doing that hateful working away, for three of them. The weekend was doomed, again.

Eventually, we got the van going and it fired up no bother, after a little tightening of a wonky loose screw (and I’ll resist the temptation to make personal references to other loose screws here). It then went to hospital to have a new screw fitted, and its annual tummy irrigation. We spent last Friday sitting in the garden, on a fabulous summer evening, where I was somewhat depressed because I should have been elsewhere, waxing my walking boots. B seemed very jovial, given the circumstances, but I think that may have something to do with what they call drowning your sorrows. Apparently, sitting in the garden drinking G & T is very good for this.

Anyway, B went and got my van today and brought it home no bother, only to find that the engine was very hot and bothered and all the coolant had gone missing. Both our hearts sank and it’s all despondency. Back to van hospital tomorrow.

In the meantime, only one thing for it…

And, so to bed.

Love Ben xx





B said PLEASE read this one.

Friends, collies, rescue services,

Uniquely, I am passing over this serious blog to B.

I am very proud to be raising money for a rescue service and I took these photos to illustrate the sort incident your donations go towards.

Last week Dave and I were involved in helping at an accident, where an 84 year old woman lost her footing on Ullswater lake path. She fell 80 metres through bracken, trees and rock to the lake shore, sustaining serious injuries. Only the most minor of roads gets anywhere near that location. However, within 40 minutes there were 4 mountain rescue vehicles and their launch at the scene, as well an ambulance, a fast response doctor, and a helimed. Had the group not know their location dog and handler teams would have been called out too. Accidents happen so quickly and, within a second, a life can change forever. The volunteers who drop everything to help are – I think -unsung heroes.


Thanks for supporting Mucky Boots and Flawless Paws, it means so much to me.

Back to Ben, to keep you updated on Munro progress.

Love B x



Boot Camp revisited

Friends, collies, dogs in training,

Spring is upon us and here I am, back in our caravan. Already I’m in training for this year’s assault on The Munros. We did a nice little fell called Gowbarrow, to get us back into the swing of it and then we were really in the hills the next day, up at Griesdale Tarn. There was lots of white stuff on the peaks which made it v. v. v cold, so I wasn’t allowed to go swimming, which put me in a strop.

The old girl is now nearly 14 and she was struggling a bit jumping up the big rocks but, she’s a gallant old thing and wasn’t for throwing in the towel just yet. I hope I don’t get creaky like her though. It reminds me of how B is when she tries to get up after one of our long walks.

B & M IMG_0774a

In addition to the walking, there seems to be a new dimension to my training this year. Having conquered the poor recall with the whistle and cheese technique, and the chasing of woolly things with sit and cheese technique, we are now going to try and bottom out the fascination with, and nipping of, moving feet. Paws up, I have got a lot worse. Now, just anyone who passes within about 3 metres of me is putting the integrity of the skin around their ankles in jeopardy.

The regime goes like this:

1. Before I have even spotted the enemy ahead I gets a treat. Very nice it is too.

2. Then, we pulls of to the side, I sit nicely and I get another treat. Not bad so far.

3. As they are passing, I am distracted by a fast and constant supply of treats. Can’t complain about that.

4. The icing on the cake. If I have behave well thus far I get a very satisfying quantity of my favourite farmhouse mature cheddar. Good job B and David.

Seems like the diet is off then 🙂

And so to bed, sleeping very happily.

BS1 476

Love Ben  xx

Customer satisfaction quandary

Friends, collies, dogs with nasty imponderables (ouch!),

Following my survey results and after lots of very hard thinking, I have hit on a plan to please most of my followers, most of the time – I hope 🙂

So here’s the deal. I promise a dog blog every month with the odd shorter, Dog Blog To Go, in between. After a Munro weekend I will publish a series of blogs to cover the walks. These will replace my normal monthly blog. I’m even going to let you know which type of blog you are in for by formalising the subject line. Here are examples of how the subject line might look:

March Blog – Customer Satisfaction Survey

DBTG – Pictures of Ben

Munro blog – 07.07.2017

How’s that? And – as if that wasn’t enough big brained, Border Collie problem solving for one blog – I’m even going to learn how to do precise. Then, for longer blogs, I can give  you a very short summary at the beginning and you can decide to read it or not.

All this is aimed at trying to make sure you don’t get fed up of reading my blogs. Let’s face it, as B gets older and even more creaky, I’m going to need all the encouragement I can get to keep hauling her up mountains.

Oh, that has made me tired,

And so to bed.


Love Benx


Satisfied Customers?

Friends,  collies, dogs under study,

Why didn’t anyone warn me this research business? You end up with even more questions than you started out with. Isn’t that a very clever way of keeping researchers in work? It is just one more thing I have learnt since starting out on my adventure. This Munro walking is really taxing my brain.  Pie charts have taken my fancy for illustrating the results; I can’t thing why, and I have also thrown in a doughnut too, just for good measure.

I’ve also learnt that you can’t please all of the people, or dogs, or Tink, all of the time but… well, you know the rest. I’m very easily pleased all of the time, with my favourite farmhouse cheddar, so I think those who can’t be pleased must be on diets. Like me and Millie are supposed to be.

Take question 1. “About length. I used to write short blogs but I get inspired on the Munros. However, I know you are busy people so what do you think is best for encouraging readers?”

On a scale of 1 – 100, where stick with it was at 0 and give us a break at 100, I came out with an average of 23, which is v. v. v. encouraging. However, there was a big variation from 0 to 68. How on earth am I going to keep everyone happy?

Then came Question 2. Just take a look at this.

So, Question 2 also leaves me in a quandary.

By the time we get to Question 3 “Are there enough photos of little old me?” things are a bit clearer and I’m growing in the head department. 43% of you can’t get enough of me, so I can add even more portraits. But then, 43% of you say it’s OK as it is. Absolutely no one said they wanted photos of someone else, so there’s no chance of B getting one of those big egos things, and no one’s IT systems are keeling over,  under the weight of all my photos.

Going ono question four, “Now, about the content. We live in strange times and I have been known to go off message and get a tad philosophical while musing on matters of the age. Is this:”…

It is clear that you are all OK with departures from the main script, as I cast a little canine pondering over the life and times of your truly.

The answers to Question 5, blew me away, for a canine very new to this particular art form. “Latterly, after finding a new talent, I have been waxing lyrical in verse. Is this:”

How cool is that? I promise I won’t go off on one two often, but feel I have your permission to add a little lyrical content when the muse takes me. I’m also going to take up a suggestion of quoting other poets here and there who, to be honest, might be a tad better at it than me.

Question 6, for the pedantic’s, asked about all my errors. “How irritating are gramatical errors & typos? Do I need a new proof reader?” Even though I had spelt grammatical wrong, and it wasn’t even meant to be ironical, you were very kind, with a wacking 45% saying you hadn’t noticed any, and 55% reckoning that they could forgive my lapses because I am, after all, just a dog. Did I really just say that? Anyway, I’m still sending B to grammar school. I’m a Border Collie and we aim for perfection.

Questions 7 & 8 were the icing on the cake of my Customer Satisfaction Survey. You were so nice to me that I promise I won’t ever, ever, get interested in your ankles (even yours Tink).

For Question 7 there was lots of repetition, “Please write three words that describe my blog.”

Here are all the different things you said:

happy, tiring, inspiring, fun, entertaining, interesting, easy style, takes the reader there, good fun, amusing, awe inspiring, heartwarming, novel, informative, moorish.

What accolades for or a Border Collie, not yet three  🙂

Then, for the very last request, “Please add any other comments that you think would add quality to my blog.” everyone answered. B tells me this is unheard of. Usually people can’t think of anything else to say at the end of a survey but you all had good ideas and encouragement. Here are some of my favourites:


“I like Ben’s stories especially when they are amusing typically when something doesn’t go to plan. I also think it is essential Ben continues to include his perspective on how Bernadette feels about things or is managing as Ben and Bernadette are in this together !!”

“Take an occasional poem/poet with you on the way and include a quotation. Go neiri an bothar libh.”
“I think your blogs are great. Sometimes I forget to read all of it if it is long and therefore don’t comment.”
“I just love your blog and all the photos. We can’t wait to meet you in the fur later this year.”
“I like all the tails xx”
“Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof”
“Keep up the good work your blogs never fail to make me smile, thank you x”
 And finally, you might have noticed my new avatar on your e mails. I will keep this up to date so we can see the blue outstrip the red, as we climb more Munros, over the years. Currently, I’m working on something that will show the fundraising progress too.
As for resolving the dilemma posed by your answers in question 1 & 2, about length and frequency, I’m going to have to give that some thought. But, guess what I’m going to do first.
You got it.
And so to bed.
Love Ben xx