Munros 2018, here we come

Friends, collies, heat loving dogs,

I have neglected my blog for too long and now I need to get back in the grove, keeping you up to date with my 2018 Munro adventures, or lack of them to date. A v. v. v big welcome and thank you, to those of you who have joined my blog this year, taking a peek as I share my world and sometimes, even liking my attempts at writing verse.

Best big news is that I am still alive and kicking when I might not have been. My people’s desire to get me exercised early each day, by playing ball before it gets too hot, wasn’t  very clever after all, when the temperature was, sometimes, already 20C. Apparently us canines can get heat stroke doing things like that. We read a big long post about it on Facebook and I can tell you it was scary stuff. Now I might get to play ball at midnight if it’s cool enough. Think of that, can the earth hold any greater riches than chasing a luminous ball at midnight?

Next big news is that my van is good to go for another year and all packed up too. Though I’m a bit concerned about where I meant to sleep. Being rather cheeky we took it for it’s annual health check a bit early, to avoid those nasty new tests that are probably going to set it up to fail next year.


We have been ready for the off since early May and had a lovely holiday in the Lake District, getting good and fit. Just then my person had to go away; she has been away tons and I don’t like that at all. Me and my van have been waiting patiently at home. Then, and anyone who knows Scotland will marvel at this, it got too hot, over 30C some days, can you believe that, in Scotland of all places. So, as a result, we had to give the Munros a swerve last weekend too. Now we are keeping our fingers crossed – which is actually quite difficult for a dog – for this coming weekend.

It depends on the old girl though. She has been falling further apart since her 15th birthday and her back legs have nearly gone altogether, bless her.


She does a neat line in stumbling about, once she gets a lift up, but the times when her wonky back legs won’t hold her up at all are getting more and more frequent. Soon it will be kinder to take that one last visit to the vet. That’s a day none of us are looking forward to at all. I really don’t won’t to even give that sort of thing headspace and just try and think about playing ball at midnight to help keep me positive.

For those following my progress, these are the Munros we hope to climb this weekend. Stob Dubh & Stob Coire Raineach, close to Glen Coe and then: Beinn Archaladair, Beinn a Chreachain, Beinn Dorain, Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Mhanach. All near Bridge of Orchy.

Wish me luck?

I’ll keep you posted, need sleep first.

SF 7
And so to bed…

Lots of love Ben xx untitled 1



Well that’s my seven days done and it’s a long time in the life of a dog. Mind you, with such an exciting challenge to complete it just flew by. I started this challenge tummy deep in snow and the yesterday all the white stuff mysteriously disappeared. How does that happen?

Thank you very much to Luccia Gray for nominating the dog-poet, suggesting he turn his paw to this photography challenge. Luccia is a writer, and exponent of the best in Victorian literature. She blogs at 

I’m a bit in awe of this challenge business because I’m only really good for the odd  family snap. Being a dog, it’s a bit fiddly with the paws and the press button, so don’t expect anything grand. The camera’s not up to much and it’s only basic editing. It’s a bit of fun and I’m so pleased to take part.

Here’s the job. Black and White Photography Challenge: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No explanation. No people. (and, Ben’s rule, no dogs) Challenge someone new each day.

Today I nominate just anyone who fancies having a go at portraying an aspect of their life, in black and white every day for seven whole days. Hope you enjoy it.


Love Ben xx 0

DBTG – We’re at it again

Friends, collies, traveller’s dogs,

So sorry to put my tails of the first weekend on hold but we are off again. Then I’ll have even more to tell you. I think I’ll be playing that thing called catch up all summer.

The time we hope to do:

  • Glas Tulaichean and Carn an Righ, which we missed last time because of high winds.
  • The Glenshee 6 (lots and lots of exclamation marks)
  • Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin
  • An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin

Bye-the-bye Sue, We always have badger with us. He – for it is a he – has a very special place in my van – permanently on the handbrake. He was going to be our mascot but he is just a little too heavy, with every thing else we have to lug up the hills (mainly my treats, hee, hee). So, he is on the handbrake because, if B’s mum was still around she wouldn’t have a moments rest till B phoned in to say she was home and OK. Therefore, having badger on the brake reminds us that we mustn’t take unnecessary risks, if we are getting carried away.

You should see my van Sue, there’s all sorts in there: St Christopher, Buddha, some strange looking thing with stiches all over it, my mascot and the search and rescue collie on the dashboard. My latest thing is collecting fridge magnets. I’ve only got one at the moment but B likes it. Is says Guinness.

Anyway, better get some shut eye before we’re off.


Love Ben xx

AA HeartPawPrint


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.

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