Munro post – 22/06/2017 part two – No. 23, Mount Keen – The most Easterly

Friends, collies, anxious dogs,

We started out for Mount Keen on a good track, which helped to settle my tummy down a bit, and soon we got to the Queen’s Well monument. This was built during ‘the year of sorrow’, following the death of Prince Albert, to commemorate a visit Queen Victoria had made to this spot with Albert, during a trip out from Balmoral on her pony. Me and B kept looking around in case Judy Dench and Billy Connolly appeared out of the mist, as Mr Brown coxed Victoria back to happiness, riding with her over the moors.

After this we had to start climbing up a path with the hillside falling away steeply to our right, down to a meandering river. I was beginning to feel more at my ease now and even let some two legged things, that seemed like apparitions coming out of the mist, give me a cuddle. If I’m honest, we’d been walking for a couple of hours without a soul in sight and therefore, evidence that B hadn’t taken me to some desolate no man’s land was very welcome, to say the least. It’s true that the ample of supply of Primular – that I have become confident of, following good behaviour – might have had a little to do with my acquiescence too.

From there on it just got mistier and mistier. Even one of those v. v. v fast mountain hares paused to make sense of its environment, haunted by the closed in, eerie silence. A smaller, though still clear, path took us nearly to the top, with just the last few metres being a romp over a tumble of boulders to reach the summit. So, here we were again: another Munro; another trig point; another viewless photo.

 

There wasn’t much point in hanging around so we descended, with the track snaking lithely ahead cutting a furrow through the banks of vegetation. Not far from the summit we saw that someone had erected a boulder stone just for me and B, which we thought was very nice of them. Every now and again the mist lifted a little, in a reversal of Newton’s laws, revealing a rock face of layered terraces, on the banks of burgeoning heather. A tinge of colour hinted at the covering of purple that would come later in the summer. A carpet only to be interrupted by the battle field of boulders, left by the little louts of yesteryear after some eruption of the earths crust.

Once back on the valley track our return hike was constantly interrupted by scurrying rabbits that ran about directionless, with no sense of purpose. My own sense of purpose was thrown into free fall by the sheer weight of numbers so that, not knowing which one to go for first, I ended up back at my van in a state of dizzy frustration. Such an overwhelming day which could have only one conclusion…

And so to bed!

Love Ben xx

 

 

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Munro post, 22/06/1017 part one, getting there…

Friends, collies and dogs with nice hats,

Golly gosh, my last Munro post seems another age away. It was all busyness and excitement at home last Wednesday, with B putting the last bits in our van while David was making B’s salad and sandwiches and chopping up my cheese. I tried to do my bit but it wasn’t appreciated and, to be honest, my tummy was in bits.

We set off at 6.30am on Thursday with the intention of bagging a Munro that day. I had forgotten how unnerved I get, going away with just B, and my anxiety began to get the better of me. Was my cushion in the back, would there be enough food, did B remember my toothbrush, WHERE WERE MY BALLS. The decision to get to Edinburgh via Moffat didn’t help much either. We drove up and over the Devil’s Beef Tub, which sounded really scary, so I tried to keep my eyes tightly closed. This was v. v. v hard on a horribly pot holed road that made my van bounce up and down. Discomfort added to uncertainly made for a very unhappy Ben. If only I’d known what was coming up I could have saved up my bad humour for later. We negotiated the city by-pass OK and put the weight of traffic down to the time of day, with commuters getting to work. Then, leading up to the roundabout for the A90, everything ground to a halt. What on earth made B think it would be a good idea the travel past the show ground, on the first day of the Royal Highland Show – which the odd 200,000 people like to visit – I’ve no idea. Suffice to say, over the next hour and a half we covered the magnificence distance of 9 miles. All in all, – with the worry about how my van would cope, the roaring of huge, terrifying planes from the airport just above me, my ongoing discomfort and uncertainty – my head space was a mess. Finally, we crawled around the Forth bridge roundabout but B was in the wrong lane and had to cut across the traffic, which didn’t go down very well at all and there was lots of honking and hooting. I put my paws over my ears and prayed hard that no one would bump into us.

After all this the journey got a bit easier with just the odd wiggle needed in road works. I found wiggling to be a better way of passing the time than twiddling my paws. Then, after another couple of hours I thought we must be getting close to a Munro because it started raining. By this time it was all doom and gloom in my van and me & B had dark black hats on.

B said we had to do something called putting it all in perspective. Just thinking about the horrendously sad things that had happened in Manchester and London should help us think how lucky we were. Then we got to thinking about the results of the General Election and that made me go hee, hee, hee.

B told me about someone, who I think she said was called a Mr de Bonio, who could help us out a bit. I think I could get to like this Bonio chap. Anyway, apparently we had to pretend we had different coloured hats on to help us see our current situation from lots of different angles. With our green hats we had to be creative. I liked this bit because we thought we could fly up the Munros, or parachute down to them, or go up them on chair lifts. Then we swapped over for yellow hats to see everything through a happy prism. That outlook told us we had lots to be thankful for. My van had done brilliantly, despite its recent troubles. We had somewhere nice and snug to sleep (very snug actually). The forecast had even told us it would brighten up later. Finally, we had to put our red hat on and trust our gut reaction.

My gut only ever tells me one thing and I was hoping B’s would tell her the same, right now. Actually, it took a lot, lot longer to drive down a very narrow road going nowhere, before we stopped and I got something for my gut. After that we just put our rain hats on and set off, walking into the mist. I had a very funny feeling but B told me it was fine. It was just deja vue, whatever that is.

 

Love 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.

https://benonthebeinnsblog.wordpress.com/

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

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