Adventure Saturday! 🐾🥾

We had planned a trip to Snowdonia this weekend but had to have a re-think on Friday evening as the weather and roads were set to be pretty bad.

We decided instead to head to Lyme Park!

As with the majority of our walks we try to avoid busy places or times where possible to make sure that Amos can enjoy his exploring without be charged at or scared by other dogs/walkers.

So we set off early to get to Lyme as I know it can get super busy on the weekends!

There was a tiny dusting of snow on some areas of Lyme Park but not enough for a snow day sadly!

This was Amos’ first outing in his new Back Pack (Ruffwear Approach Pack) we get lots of questions/comments about their backpacks but I can assure you that both Amos and Toby are happy to wear their backpacks – they are the same make as the harnesses they have worn for a long while so fit and sit the same in them.

Toby (as many of you already know!) carries first aid kits in his backpack, at the moment as Amos is still young and is still getting used to his back pack he is not yet carrying anything much, for our adventure to Lyme Park he had a toy in each pocket, just to allow him to get used to the pockets being expanded.

The plan eventually is that Amos will be able to carry a little more on bigger walks, which will of course all be done at his own pace! It’s nice for him to have a job and I’m also hopeful that the backpack will help him with spacial awareness too – as when the pockets have stuff in them the harness will be wider so will hopefully help Amos know where obstacles are on our adventures.

At the moment I narrate our adventures to him so he knows where there are big steps or other obstacles that he needs to tackle but I’m hoping the back pack will give him a little more independence.

Obviously we have spoken to our vet before considering a back pack for Amos and they are happy that he can start to wear it and getting used to using it to carry small items. So now we all take part in carry adventure equipment!

We had a very muddy walk at Lyme, it was really nice to be back out in the fresh air exploring after our busy few weeks at Panto!

A few sections of the walk were slightly difficult to negotiate with a blind dog, but generally we try not to let that get in the way of Amos having exciting adventures!

As we were at Lyme fairly early we got a large chunk of the walk without coming across many other people or dogs and it only started to get a little busier towards the end of or walk and heading back to the car as most people were just starting on their adventures.

We tend to stick to the far end of Lyme as it is more peaceful but just as beautiful!

We haven’t decided where we at heading this weekend, but I would love a snow day if I’m honest!! 🥾

Hopefully someone exciting too 😉

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We’ve officially been bad bloggers 🙄

We’ve had a rather busy few months so haven’t kept as up to date blogging our adventures – here’s a potted history of what we’ve been up to for the past few months (eek!)

We went my gorgeous cousins wedding at the end of October, which was a lovely weekend away.

This was also Amos’ first stay in a hotel and Toby’s first attendance at a wedding (Amos didn’t attend the wedding as it would have been sensory overload for him and he wouldn’t have enjoyed himself at all!)

Toby however was in his element, he rocked a little tux and loved being involved in the day ❤️

Our hotel was on the beach front so we enjoyed lots of sunrise walks along the sea whilst we were away 🐾

The boys got signed up to be Cheshire Fire and Cheshire Police new recruits to help spread some safety messages across Halloween and Bonfire Night – a role they both took very seriously!

Not all heroes wear capes – our emergency services are all super heroes too! ❤️

Amos turned 1!! 🎉🎉

I can’t quite believe he’s one already! Time flies when you have a crazy ginger hurricane to entertain! 😂

The boys had a birthday tea party and got to have a fun run in the secure field hire!

Amos got lots of delicious (icky) treats to try for his big day! He shared them all with Toby of course as a good brother would 😉

Toby and Amos became Darth Pupper and the Evil Ewok just in time for Halloween!

They even appeared on BBC Northwest news as doggy superheroes!

Toby had a trip to the National Pet Show to do his fundraising thing for the Dogs Home – it was a fun packed weekend where he sampled lots of new beds and blankets …. he’s likes the comfortable things in life!

First trip to Snowdonia National Park for Amos he loved exploring in the mountains – he is going to be a super adventure pup when he’s a little older ⛰🐾

We had an little adventure to a peaceful Forrest in Wales, the weather was shocking but thankfully we didn’t see another soul and the boys had a whale of a time!

The boys got all autumnal! Rocking those rugby shirts 😍

We had a very windy adventure to the Roaches – I’m sure Amos and Toby almost got blown away!

Amos is doing much better at coping with the wind, he used to find it a little scary but he’s getting used to it now and knows he doesn’t need to panic about it! He’s got me and Toby to look out for him ☺️

Then life got extra busy! Toby had auditioned for a pantomime in the summer and rehearsals started in December!

We’ve had a very very busy December with rehearsals and shows, we had an amazing Christmas, it was Amos’ first Christmas at home with us and boy did they get spoilt!

They of course had their own Christmas dinner and they got the most beautiful Collar and Lead sets from Fetch and Follow (www.fetchandfollow.co.uk) they were featured as the Christmas Special in Fetch and Follow also (we highly recommend you give it a read ❤️)

Toby has absolutely loved his time at the Panto, he got fussed by LOADS of people, got loads of treats and got to run around stage like he owned the joint!

We have done a total of 21 performance and just had our final panto weekend – it’s been an incredible experience and Toby has thoroughly enjoyed being fussed and pampered by all of the cast and crew! He got lots of cuddles from Fairy Sugar babe Amelle ❤️

Here he is with beautiful Belle ⭐️🎭

As much as we’ve loved pantoing and our busy few months, we are excited to get back to adventuring and exploring!

I think we’ve definitely missed things out of this blog post, as we’ve been such busy bees!

We will be getting back to more regular blogs now though – thanks for hanging in their with us! ❤️

The final chapter of #10mountains10months ⛰

A month ago we were preparing for / travelling to complete part 10 of our 2018 challenge!

For Part 10 we were climbing Snowdon – the biggest Peak of our Challenge and we were adding a twist!

We had planned an amazing end to our final climb – we were going to hike up in the dark so we could watch the sunrise from the top.

With the final walk being in October we wanted to make sure that we completed in early October to try and avoid as much of the bad weather as we could.

We checked the sunrise times and worked out exactly what time we needed to start our final climb, sadly for us this was at 4:00am!!

With this being the final walk we had roped in some other supporters to accompany us on our mission, we are forever grateful to those people who were bonkers enough to agree to climb a mountain in the dark with us!

I left home at 1:30am ish to ensure that I was at the correct carpark in plenty of time to meet the other walkers, Toby was most confused at being asked to get up at that time of day!

Once we all arrived at the car park and were donned in our various Purple and Orange charity shirts, headlights, torches and reflective attire we set off on our merry way up the Llanberis Path.

We had researched paths beforehand in order to ensure that we were using a path that would be safe in the dark, I have previously walked up Snowdon via the Snowdon Ranger Path, but I wouldn’t like to attempt that path in the dark. We spoke to a few people who had walked Snowdon in the dark to gauge which path would be best suited and Llanberis was recommended.

I don’t need to tell you that the path was steep for this as what more can we expect with it being the tallest climb of our challenge?!

Surprisingly for 12 of us walking in the dark I don’t think anyone actually fell over (impressive!) there were a few slips/trips which is understandable I guess when you climb in the darkness! We had a few little scares on the walk – mainly sheep appearing out of nowhere and making us jump! I can confirm that sheep are quite creepy in the dark, the way their eyes glint is slightly sinister when you have had limited sleep!

The climb although quite tough was extremely rewarding as we arrived at the top to the clouds parting and being able to see some beautiful scenery. Sadly for us we didn’t get to see a sunrise, we arrived at the top in plenty of time, we had made sure we packed plenty of blankets and extra layers in case we arrived early and had to wait around, but it was too cloudy for us to see the sunrise, which is a shame but we still thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Whilst we were at the top the clouds parted slightly and we managed to get a few nice pictures, as we didn’t get to see the sunrise and as it started to snow whilst we were at the top we didn’t wait on the top for too long before we began the return trip to the warmth of the cars!

It was odd going back down in the daylight as we didn’t recognise any of the scenery that was around us, we were able to use the land marks around to ensure that we were on the correct path down and had made a note of which side the railway was on etc. to ensure that we didn’t stray from the correct path on the way down.

The benefit of climbing in the dark was that all the really steep sections that would have been horribly off putting to see before you climbed, we couldn’t see – so didn’t actually know how long all of the very steep sections went on for!

This no doubt went in our favour as we did have a few walkers who needed a morale boost on the steep sections and those horribly steep sections would not have acted as such! I think with this being the tallest climb and us all being so tired we did have some dips in morale during the climb, but once we have got to the top and knew we had completed the hardest part of the challenge we all perked up considerably.

Following on from this walk I would love to do more climbs in the dark as it is so peaceful and I thoroughly enjoyed myself (I would also like to see a sunrise from the top of somewhere at some point!) so this is something that I may look at doing more frequently, also climbing in the darkness means you come across less people which I know Amos would thoroughly enjoy!

This whole challenge has been incredible, we’ve seen some utterly beautiful places and climbed some really interesting routes. We’ve managed to speak with and engage with several people along the way about Suicide Prevention and Mental Health and have done our best to raise as much awareness as we can to this really important topic.

Planning for the 2019 challenge will be underway soon and we will keep you posted on what we will be getting up to next year to raise awareness for these amazing charities.

Thank you again for all the support that you have shown myself, Sophie and Toby for this challenge – we wholeheartedly appreciate each and every message of support from you all.

Special Thanks to all of the people who have accompanied us on any of the walks we have done throughout this challenge, it really means a lot to the three of us (I include Toby in the appreciation) that you kept us company throughout the walks and helped us make the challenge even more enjoyable! ❤️

#10mountains10months Part 9 ⛰🐾

The last weekend of September we completed Part nine of our #10mountains10months challenge.

For part nine we tackled Glyder Fawr in Snowdonia National Park – it was a very very tough walk!

The walk started in Ogwen Valley which is somewhere Toby and I have walked previously, we have been there a few times to do the Devil’s Kitchen walk.

Parking is tight at the Visitors Centre and there is usually only a limited amount of spaces available, we left at 7:00am and arrived at just before 9:00am and the Car Park was already full! We managed to find a space on the road, but this can be difficult as the cone a large section of the road off – so this is definitely a walk to start early doors!

If you manage to get a space on the Car Park there is a charge of £4.50 for the day. There are facilities at the Visitors Centre, toilets are a welcome treat after a 2 hour drive!

There is also a coffee stall to get hot drinks and cakes after you have been walking!

The walk starts off fairly steady and the walk from the Visitors Centre is fairly straightforward, there is one fork where you veer right and you then carry on until you reach the lake.

The views from the lake are astonishing, it is such a beautiful part of the countryside. Toby always insists of having a paddle no matter how cold it is, he even went in wearing his jumper on this weekend!

The route is beautiful and there are so many places to stop and take in the stunning views.

The walk follows the Devils Kitchen Path for a fair distance around, thankfully one of the sections of the path that is very tough has had some repair work done, as previously when I have visited I have had to scramble into a waterfall and climb over the other side! Which although quite fun, is fairly difficult if there has been rain! Thankfully they have now made a bridge over the waterfall which makes it much easier to negotiate!

Once we got to the more difficult section of the walk (which is still following on the Devil’s Kitchen Walk) you are required to climb a little more and the path becomes very unclear as you pick your way across boulders and rocks.

This is the point that the path for Glyder Fawr leaves the Devil’s Kitchen route, so at this point the route was now unfamiliar to me – it was a shock!

The route was very difficult to negotiate – there was lots of clambering and quite a few sections that required us to use our hands. There were several sections that were just too big of a jump for Toby so we had to climb up and one of us pass Toby up – thankfully his Ruffwear Approach Pack has a helpful handle for such situations so he was easy enough to lift up!

Toby managed to jump and chin a rock and cut the inside of his mouth during this walk so we stopped for a little while to give him a once over and make sure he was happy to carry on – of course being the little mountain goat he is he was raring to get back to climbing and rock hopping!

We were lucky enough to see a couple of mountain goats whilst we were climbing, we named them of course … Alfonso and Romeo, they were having a little domestic unfortunately and we weren’t sure if they were friends or not and Romeo (the bigger of the two) looked to be a bit of a bully!

We managed to speak to a gentleman on this walk who had sadly lost his son to suicide, we had a chat with him about the charities we are supporting and about what we were doing and why, we’ve found this challenge has encouraged other walkers to open up, and it is quite shocking to see just how many people have been affected by suicide or know someone who has been affected by suicide.

This isn’t a walk I would recommend for someone with a dog, unless your dog is very used to climbing and walking in the mountains – some of the sections that needed to be climbed were very difficult and we saw several people struggling with the path and the climb!

This final slog to the summit of Glyder Fawr was also extremely difficult, it was an extremely steep section that was scree, there was so much loose rock that every time you lifted your foot, you were sliding back down! Sophie fell on this section and hurt herself, with her having bad knees already we were getting a little concerned about carrying on up this section as it was getting steeper and the scree was all the way to the top. I was also concerned about Toby’s feet as he was getting his feet stuck in between rocks and was struggling to negotiate the very loose and moving rocks.

We decided to make a judgement call on this one – although this is a challenge we also need to ensure that we all stay safe, the challenge is to raise awareness which we are still able to do without be careless.

We also knew that as the route we were following was a there and back route that we still had quite a lot of difficult sections to get back down before we completed the walk for the day.

Walking back down wasn’t easy at all! The rocks that we had scramble up – we needed to scramble/bum-slide down …. We were very graceful about it of course!

Before we completed the walk and headed back to the car however we made sure we went to the little beach area around the lake so Toby could have a refreshing paddle before heading home!

The views from the beachy area are just stunning (as is the majority of the walk!!)

This was a walk I would not rush to do again in a hurry as it was so difficult – it also isn’t a walk I would do on my own! I will be back to the Ogwen Valley to do the Devil’s Kitchen walk as it is such a stunning area and is a really enjoyable walk – it is somewhere I would love to take Amos too one day, but when he is a little older and a little more established as a mountain goat!

The final walk of the challenge will follow soon!

Once again thank you all so much for the support ❤️

Day Trips! 🇪🇸🐾

As the bulk of our time on the road trip has been spent in Spain, we have been for some trips out around the local (ish) area!

Sunday was our first full day not travelling so we had a lovely relaxed day, Toby and I walked to the pebble beach that isn’t far from where we are staying, Mum and Dad showed us around the local area, to give us a few local walks for Toby to explore.

We had a climb on the rocks at the beach and spent the afternoon relaxing and unpacking for the stay, we also had to rescue my mum and dad who got stuck in a thunderstorm when they went for an afternoon stroll!

Toby hates thunder so we were trying our best to keep him calm and relaxed and then had a rescue mission to contend with!!

On Monday we had another walk to the pebble beach and a game of frisbee before we then had a human day (Toby was more than happy to have the afternoon off to snooze!!) we went for a mooch around the local shops and visited the Ondara Centre, which is a shopping centre!

After shopping till we dropped we then went back and took Toby on a little visit to the sandy beach, which is a short drive from where we were staying in Els Poblets, Toby was armed with his Ruffwear Float Coat and I was hoping that this holiday would be the first time Toby swam, my theory was he never paddled until I went in with him but I only ever paddled in shallow water (cold English water) so I thought if I went in deeper he would come with, the plan worked, Toby has swum on this holiday, he will happily go in for his frisbee, the float coat has definitely given him extra confidence in the water and has made me feel safer with him swimming in a sea inlet. He will follow me in to the water and is happy having a paddle, play and swim in the inlet, the waves of the actual sea are however far too scary for him!

Tuesday we had a little disaster, which resulted in a trip to the vets for Toby.

Before heading to Spain I had been advised about and had researched any potential diseases or illnesses that I needed to be aware of taking Toby with me.

The most worrying of these for the time of year we were visiting was Leishmania, which is a disease passed through a bite by an infected Sandfly, I spoke to my vets in Cheshire and also spoke to a Spanish veterinary practice in the area we were staying in to find the best way to combat the risk of this disease.

I was advised that Toby should wear a Seresto collar, which he should have on for two weeks prior to the trip and keep on for the duration of the trip, this would provided 85% protection, the vet had advised that the protection with a vaccination was only a few more percent – so I did some further research including reading some studies about the effectiveness of the slow release collar in the prevention of Leishmania, as a gigantic worry wart I was satisfied with the protection that the collar provided following speaking to the Spanish vet and doing my own research, the Spanish vet advised that it should be sufficient and if I was at all concerned when we were in Spain they could give the vaccination to give the extra percent.

The other things I had researched that would help prevent Toby being bitten were:

– ensure the dog is sleeping indoors (he sleeps with me so no problems there)

– avoid walking at between dusk and dawn

– make sure you keep windows and doors closed after dusk.

I followed all the above advice and made sure that Toby was inside before dusk and that his last pee walks were short and sweet!

On Tuesday however I noticed that a window was open, which had been left open by mistake after dusk, as I have said I am a massive worry bucket so I wanted to be sure that Toby was still ok – so booked him in to the vets for a blood test and if that came back as negative for Leishmania he would then be able to have the vaccine also.

The blood tests were not Toby’s favourite and although he was very brave, he was not a happy bunny! The 10 minutes we had to wait for the result was agonising!!

Thankfully it came back that Toby was negative for Leishmania, so he was able to have the vaccination to give him the few extra percent (and to give me a little bit more piece of mind!!)

After our traumatic morning we then headed to Benidorm as originally planned for Tuesday!

We went for a walk along the beach and Toby got to do some skating on the multi coloured path, which earned him some claps and lots of admirers!

We also took Toby to the Old Town and had a walk around the shopping area – we found so many places in Spain that were dog friendly, the majority of restaurants have tables outside and are more than happy for you to have a dog with you – Toby truly was in his element!

The day we went to Benidorm was another really hot day, Toby’s Ruffwear Cooling Jacket has been absolutely vital on this trip as otherwise Toby would not have been able to join in many of the activities or day trips we had planned – with his cool coat, he was more than happy to be out and about in the heat and was able to enjoy all the new places he got to explore without being too warm and over heating.

On Wednesday we went for a day trip to Calpe to do a walk, originally we had hoped to climb Calpe Rock, but after looking in to it they are limiting numbers that are able to go up due to the rocks being slippy and unsafe, the day that we walked in Calpe was also very very hot, so Toby wouldn’t have thanked us for a climb!

We did the Calpe coastal walk instead which is a seven mile walk with gorgeous views of the coast, a very refreshing sea breeze and has a handy bar three quarters of the way round to stop for a drink and a bite to eat!

It was an absolutely gorgeous walk – so many beautiful things to see! There are a few little beaches and coves in the route but a few of them had signs up to say “Perros No” so Toby wasn’t able to explore those!

It was a very warm 29 degrees when we did the coastal walk so once again Toby was very grateful for his cool coat, his Kurgo Bottle and the sea breeze! Toby got used to the heat fairly quickly and I ensured that he had regular drink stops and regular chances to have a rest if he was getting too hot.

Thursday was another relaxing day (not for my parents – they ended the day with a hole in the ceiling courtesy of two plumbers 😂) we had a beach trip with Toby and did some more swimming and then went souvenir shopping and to get plenty of presents for Amos 😍

On Friday we headed to Guadalest for another day trip!

I have been to Guadalest in the past when I have visited Spain and every time I have been it amazes me – it’s so so beautiful!

We had a lovely wander around taking in all the breathtaking views and stopped for a meal and an ice cream in a local bar.

Whilst visiting Guadalest we had another unfortunate incident!

We visited the Torture Museum which was dog friendly and very interesting, I discovered the downside of using the “shaping” training method however!

For those that don’t know shaping is training that lets your dogs work it out for themselves and encourages to use their brains.

Toby had been having a sniff round and a pose every now and then for photos he seemed to be enjoyed his trip back in time!

Once of the rooms had a stock / stockade in, Toby went round the back of it for a sniff (perfectly acceptable) he was still on his lead then he stuck his head through the hole and looked at me as though to say “this would be a great picture mum”

As I went to get my camera out Toby seemed to realise he had put his head in a hole and had a little panic, which resulted in a big panic as he couldn’t get his head back out!!

Me and mum tried our hardest to calm him down, my mum was being sensible talking to him and telling him his head must fit through the hole as it went in … I was trying to keep him calm by stroking him.

He was stuck for what felt like forever, he’s puffed all his fur up and just couldn’t get himself out, we tried lifting the stock but nothing seemed to work, after a little while Billy came up to the room we were in and got my dad to go and get the lady on the front desk, the poor Spanish lady didn’t have a clue what was going on but we all started trying to get him out, after a little while it was as though he realised he’d puffed up and he just pulled his head out!

I checked him over and he was perfectly fine and he just kept looking at me as though to say, well are you going to give me the biscuit or what?!

Needless to say I will continue doing shaping with him, but I will not let him near medieval torture equipment or small holes he can stick his head into!!

We had our final little day trip on Sunday we went to Javea to have a walk around the Arenal and have a meal out.

We stopped in the most beautiful bar overlooking the sea and the beach for a drink, they brought it a bowl of water for Toby as soon as we arrived which was a lovely touch!

The bar had beds and sofas to relax on and was a beautiful peaceful way to spend a few hours in the sunshine!

Toby made himself right at home 😂

Me and mum also went for a little mooch over to the rocks near the sea as to let Toby have a sniff and a climb – again the views and scenery were just beautiful!

Monday was our final day in Spain so we decided to spend the morning at the beach soaking up the sunshine and letting Toby play with his frisbee, paddle and swim!

Then it was heading back for the dreaded packing and loading up the car before we set off the following day!

Toby also had his appointment at the vets to ensure he was treated for worms before he came back into the U.K. and to make sure that all his documentation was correct!

We left for our next stop Zaragoza bright and early on Tuesday morning and arrived early afternoon!

Our hotel was amazing and overlooked the cathedral – which was gorgeous! We had paid for a room with a view and my was it worth it!!

We spent the afternoon wandering around the city and Toby got to do a little more city skating!

The only thing we weren’t fond of about Zaragoza was the hundreds of pigeons that zoomed around at full speed! When you are sitting outside of a restaurant it’s quite nerve wracking when a hoard of Pigeons tries to fly and poop on your dinner!!

On Wednesday we had our final drive in Spain, from Zaragoza to Bilbao to get on the boat home!

I was fairly nervous about the boat trip – I wasn’t sure how well I would manage with the movement as I struggle to not fall down on a bus or train when they are moving and they are usually calmer than the sea …. 🙄

Toby had to be muzzled to embark on the boat, so we had been doing plenty of muzzle training, he doesn’t love it but he knows that good things follow the muzzle so was happy enough with it on.

The boat was the bit I enjoyed the least, I spent the first 16 hours in bed looking very green, thankfully Billy was fine with the sea so Toby had someone who wasn’t walking like they’d downed 20 vodkas to walk him on the exercise deck!

I found Queezibics (human version) a complete life saver and although Toby was coping well also got him some of the dog friendly ones to try! Which he loved! We saved some for Amos to try when we got home too! As they were ginger biscuits for our big ginge!!

Overall we had an amazing trip – it was something we would love to do again, Toby had an absolute blast and loved exploring in three new countries!

In total we drove 2520 miles on our adventure so I think we can officially call Toby an international explorer ❤️

Thanks for reading!! 🇪🇸

Road Trip! 🚙🚗⛰

We are currently road tripping through France, Andorra and Spain.

This is a holiday that we have been planning for around a year – possibly longer!

Amos is not with us for the trip as he is classed as a banned breed in two of the countries we are visiting, that coupled with the fact he would find the whole trip insanely stressful it wasn’t fair to bring him.

The trip was planned before Amos came to us and I researched before we fostered Amos the possibility of him coming with us, as he is unable to I had sorted his own ‘mini holiday’ months ago to make sure he was going to be happy and comfortable whilst we were away.

Of course we miss him, but in the big picture this trip would have been too much for him to cope with, too many new sounds, smells and locations to familiarise himself with and would have had a negative impact on his overall confidence which we have been working on for months!

Our trip started nice and early on Wednesday morning when we left home at 2:00am 😫 to drive to Folkestone to get on the EuroTunnel.

We took the driving in turns to get to the tunnel as both the humans were exhausted! So we took regular breaks and naps 😊

After a very long morning in the car we arrived at Folkestone a couple of hours early for our train, we were moved to an earlier train (at no extra cost! 🎉) so had an hour or so to kill.

The Eurotunnel has an amazing dog play area, and even has a separate one for females in season – I was amazed, I found it incredible, there is a little bit of agility equipment that people can use and a fenced in area to let your pups have a stretch of their legs.

The Eurotunnel was an experience – I didn’t like it much, we were parked near a window and the movement of the train but not the car really messed with my head!

Once we arrived in France we had another 5 or so hours in the car until we got to our first stop in Orléans.

It was such a long day that by the time we arrived at the hotel, we took Toby for a walk in the town and then went straight back to the room to catch up on some well deserved sleep!

We all slept from about 8:30pm for a full 12 hours!!

We had a little mooch around Orléans the next morning before we set off on the next leg of the trip, which was making our way to Andorra!

We decided we would stop on the way in Toulouse – it was a disaster! The plan had been to spend an hour or so mooching around, letting Toby stretch his legs and is stopping somewhere for a bite to eat. We instead spent over an hour in standstill traffic! We did have loads of fun people watching though – so every cloud and all that!

It was also the scariest place to drive as people just zoomed past on bikes/ mopeds and cars just cut each other up constantly – Billy did an amazing job of driving us though and we eventually (when we were safely out of Toulouse) stopped to get snacks at a petrol station!!

We carried on our merry way to get to our next stop which was in Andorra, unfortunately the delay in Toulouse meant that we were a smidge behind schedule, so we ended up driving the most crazy mountain roads in the south of France in the dark, which was a frightening experience! The silver lining was it meant Andorra was lit up when we arrived and it looked beautiful!!

Our hotel in Andorra was fabulous, very dog friendly (€8 extra a night got Toby to stay) but he was able to come and sit in the restaurant with us for all our meals and was made very welcome by all the staff.

Our day in Andorra was spent exploring and climbing, there were a number of walks from the hotel, which I had wanted to try, the waterfall walk seemed the best bet as it meant we were always close to water to help keep Toby cool.

It wasn’t too hot in Andorra, but I obviously wanted to ensure Toby was coping with the weather.

We had a beautiful walk, the scenery was just incredible and utterly breathtaking.

The afternoon in Andorra was spent in Andorra La Vella, which was an experience in itself!

Toby thoroughly enjoyed mooching around the department stores and having a quick rest whilst I checked out all the stationary 😂

Some of the shops weren’t dog friendly but there were quite a few that would allow dogs inside which made a nice change from home!

It was a beautiful area to walk around, if you wanted to walk in the countryside or in a more urban setting, there were plenty of places to stop and get food where we would have been able to sit outside with Toby, we decided again getting food in Andorra La Vella as the food at the hotel was gorgeous! So we decided to head back for something to eat!

Our final morning in Andorra we went for another little explore around the local area and let Toby have a good stretch of his legs before the next leg of the journey – to Spain!!

From Andorra to where we are staying in Spain was another 6 hours in the car, Toby has been doing amazingly well in the car, he’s great at travelling – he just doesn’t sleep, so a day in the car is very tiring for him, he spends all day looking out of the window pretty much so when we arrive somewhere he is usually very sleepy!!

We take lots of breaks for humans and pooch to have a stretch of the legs, snacks and drinks which has made it much more manageable for Toby as he gets a break from staring at scenery 😂

When we arrived in Spain our first priority was of course a walk to the beach!

In Spain we are staying with my Mum and Dad, so are lucky enough to have two built in tour guides for this stretch of the trip!

Whilst Toby and I wandered off to the beach with Mum, Billy and Dad stayed back to unpack the car!

The beach close by is so beautiful, it’s a pebble beach (which doesn’t bother Toby at all) which eventually turns to a sandy beach, which is walkable but can take over an hour to get to, Toby is still adjusting to the heat out here so I didn’t want to walk him that far before he then got a run on the beach initially, he’s getting much better with the heat however, he just needed a little time to adjust!

That’s all for leg one of the trip … we’ll post another blog soon with the day trips we have done whilst in Spain!

I have too many pictures to try and squeeze into one blog 😂

#10mountains10months Part 8 ⛰🗻

For part 8 of our challenge we headed to Helvellyn in the Lakes.

We looked into the different routes up Helvellyn and were initially going to go via Striding edge, however we originally had a few extra people coming with us … safety in numbers and all.

It ended up just being Sophie and I (which isn’t a problem at all we appreciate people have lives, jobs and other commitments) but we felt that going up striding edge just the two of us and Toby would be too dangerous.

The challenge is just that; a challenge – but we still need to be sensible and ensure we are safe for the walks.

We looked into an alternative route that would be suitable and safe for the three of us and decided that the route from Thirlmere looked like a good alternative.

It was set to be another long day – Toby and I got up at 5:00am, packed the last minute items in the Rucksack, took Amos for a little wander round the block (he had the luxury of going back to bed until Billy got up!!) and then set off to Sophie’s house at 6:00am.

This walk wasn’t as far from Sophie’s house, only an hour and a half which was a lovely scenic drive and flew by!

We started the walk and I am not ashamed to admit – by going the wrong way, so we walked for half an hour or so without actually started the climb!

Once we realised we had gone wrong we turned back on ourselves and started in the correct direction.

The walk was a tough but beautiful one, the route from Thirlmere zigzags up, and it is continuously up for all of the walk, it was worth the tough climb however as the views were utterly gorgeous!

We had been expecting rain for the walk as every time I checked the forecast for the week it wasn’t looking promising. We were very lucky however as the weather was really nice! It was a little warm in some sections but there was a nice breeze and not too many clouds so we were able to see far and wide!

This walk was tough right until the last stretch where the path then becomes more gradual and undulating which then leads to the Trig Point – we went over to have a look at Striding Edge when we were on the top section of the path and it made my knees feel funny.

It is something both Sophie and I have said we would like to do but maybe in a few years when we are better prepared for it!

We did have a few negative comments made on this walk about Toby – which always irritates me.

People either love or hate his back pack, that’s fine – but as the saying goes: if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything.

Toby was called spoilt and was called a “poor dog” and there were a few other comments made throughout the walk – I’m sure if they knew what kind of a life Toby had, they wouldn’t have that attitude, he goes on more adventures than most of the dogs I know.

His happiness is paramount in my mind, he loves adventures, he loves his little job of carrying the first aid kits and he LOVES posing for photos (it always ends with a delicious treat!)

Negativity aside – we also managed to speak to a couple of lovely people who asked us all about our challenge and the charities we were doing it for, which is what this challenge is all about, we had a couple of people ask us about the labels on Toby too, his backpack is usually a great conversation starter and the labels have certainly helped spread the message! For this walk he was wearing “Lets Talk Prevention”

Helvellyn is a walk I would love to do again – it was beyond beautiful.

On a little side note – I am so proud of Toby for the part he is playing in this challenge, he helps motivate Sophie and I, is a great conversation starter during all our walks and I’m proud that he is helping us do as much as we can to dispel the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health.

Remember – being silent isn’t being strong it’s time we talked about it.

Once again thank you to all the support throughout the challenge!

When life gets in the way 😬🙄

Sorry about the lack of blog updates we have had a stressful few adventures over the last couple of weeks!

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A will give a little potted history about what we have been up to the last few week to catch you all up!

Since our last post Amos has passed his Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze Test – which we are very very proud of him for! He has now moved up to the Silver classes which he is doing very well in.

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We have been on an adventure to Loggerheads in Wales, where the boys got to explore the dried up river bed, which made for lots of interesting sniffs and smells. We also had a little climb which Toby thoroughly enjoyed!

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We went for a disastrous adventure to Quarry Bank Mill – which is somewhere I would be happy to never return to!

The walk was lovely and the area was really nice, but we came across far too many rude dog walkers for me to want to return.

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Amos can be noise reactive on walks – and let’s be honest who can blame him? He normally has a woof or two and then calms down, there were so many people who stared at him, made rude comments or just had no manners and allowed their dogs to run into him – which is a pet peeve of mine anyway, even worse for a poor dog that can’t see what is approaching him .. but his lack of sight doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that he doesn’t get to explore new places and experience the new smells and sounds that come with it!

Following that disastrous adventure I was a blubbering wreck so wasn’t in the right frame of mind to write about it (the above is the short version of that story!!)

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In more positive news, we have found a little secret woodland near our house – so the boys can have a morning sniffari every morning nice and early before they begin their day – which they are both enjoying!

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Last weekend we went for a mini adventure to the Cloud in Congleton which is a lovely walk – we went super early to try and avoid as many people as possible as I didn’t want a repeat of previous weeks.

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Amos is such a good mountain goat, he has the odd bump on the walk but he handles uneven terrain really well and he really enjoys the sniffs and sounds he hears whilst he is out and about!

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We were rewarded with beautiful views and a really peaceful walk – I managed to get lots of nice pictures of both boys!

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The boys have been taking turns coming to work with me on a Sunday for the past few months too – which is doing Amos’ socialisation great as he is experiencing lots of new noises and smells whist he is playing receptionist!

Last week was Amos’ turn and as usual he’s fit for nothing when he comes home from work so Toby and I headed out for a little bit of we’ll deserved one on one time!

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I will be back to regular blogging from now – Promise!

Thanks for reading! ❤️

#10mountains10months Part 7 ⛰🏔

Saturday was #10Mountains10months part 7 – we headed to the Lakes to tackle Great Gable ⛰

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It was set to be a long old day for me and Toby as for the walks in the lakes I drive to Sophie’s to car share, Sophie’s is an hour or so drive from my house.
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We then had a 2 and a half hour drive with Sophie to get to the start of the walk!!
I left home at half six to set off for Sophie’s and the plan was to start the walk shortly after ten ish.
We arrived at Sophie’s slightly later as my sat nav had a mind of its own and took me all around the houses!
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That had a knock on effect on the whole day so we didn’t start the walk until 11 ish!
We had company on this walk, Abby and Harry joined us, Abby had joined Sophie on her Scarfell Walk last year in memory of Rob and had wanted to join us for one of the walks this challenge!
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It was lovely having extra people with us – as we have found with previous walks, people seem more inclined to talk to you about it if there are more of us!
Harry was an absolute trooper! Him and Toby (the two with the smallest legs) were absolute stars and did so well with this climb!
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Great Gable was a tough walk for Toby as a lot of the route is loose rocks and boulders which he finds difficult to negotiate, he as always reverted to mountain goat Toby and other than hurting his foot (which is why he is backpack-less on the photos from the descent) and being carried down one short section he wasn’t phased at all!
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This walk we didn’t actually plan a route as such, we did some research about the route and looked online for some alternative routes and information but we wanted to start from Wasdale and the routes we found didn’t really allow that.
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We spoke to a very nice farmer when we arrived and he told and showed us one of the routes up, which was the path we chose to follow.
The weather was against us for this walk – it made a change from all the warm weather we have been having.
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When we arrived it was quite chilly and most of the climb we were walking inside a cloud! I had checked the weather forecast and knew it was set to be foggy, so wasn’t expecting the views to be seen by us!
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It made it quite difficult to negotiate the descent as the path isn’t very clear towards the top as you are just walking amongst boulders and cairns – there are several cairns so even if we wandered away from the path we did manage to find our way down without getting too lost!!
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The fog and cloud lifted on the descent so we were rewarded with some beautiful views towards the end of the day!
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We got to talk to a few people about why we are doing what we are doing and chat to them about our challenge so far, a few were interested in the walks we had done and what we had left on our list of climbs!
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This was an emotional walk for me as we did this walk the day after what would have been my brother’s birthday, this time last year Toby and I walked the Yorkshire Three Peaks with my mum and dad in memory of Phil, so I had been thinking about him more than usual over the past week.
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We are already planning next years challenge – we’re still in the ideas stage at the moment but we’ll be sure to think of something exciting to keep us busy next year!
Once again thank you for all the support throughout our challenge and for the help raising awareness for these two amazing charities 😍
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Being silent isn’t being strong – it’s time we talked about it.
Be someone’s shoulder to cry on – make yourself available to friends and family and ask them how they’re feeling.
❤️

If you go down to the Woods today 🌲🌲

We didn’t do a blog last week as we didn’t have the best week (stresses of adult life sadly) and we didn’t really get out for much of an adventure – I got up early doors last Saturday to take Toby for a mini adventure to Alderley Edge for him to have some one on one time.

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He had a whale of a time and it was a good start to the weekend!

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We didn’t get up to much else other than a late evening walk with both boys and a trip to the pet shop to stock up on goodies and to weigh the boys;
Toby is 8.7kg
Amos the tank is 18.4kg 😂😍
We had another less than exciting week (again adult life saga getting in the way of fun time adventures!) we got a few little adventures in but the weather has also not helped us getting out for adventures as it has just been too blinking hot for the boys!
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They’ve had lots of pool time in the garden and have been enjoying early morning walks and late night strolls to avoid the heat as much as possible.
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We ventured to Spud Wood on Wednesday evening for a little adventure which was lovely and somewhere different for the boys to explore! It was a really peaceful walk too which me and the boys really enjoyed!
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We woke up to rain on Friday morning which was bliss! The boys had a delightful morning sniffari on Friday enjoying all the fresh smells in the wet grass 😍
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This weekend I wanted to make sure the boys got to go to somewhere fun – so we headed to Llandegla Forrest.
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I knew Llandegla would be a challenge for Amos as he gets confused by the noises that bikes make – but from memory the bike and walkers paths don’t cross all that often!
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Amos struggled a little to begin with as every time he heard a bike he woofed, he’s making progress though as once it had gone past us he stopped woofing and carried on sniffing 😍
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Towards the end of the walk he was doing a throaty noise rather than full on barking so he’s improving constantly!
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It’s a slow old slog with Amos, he has some great days and some terrible days and sometimes things that he’s been fine with (noises wise) can completely freak him the next day!
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It’s all a learning curve – but no one can say he is having a boring life – he’s getting to adventure and explore with his pal Toby and is enjoying all the new experiences!
Hopefully this week will be better all around (for adventures and the pain in the bum adulting I need to do)
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Hope you have all had a much more fun filled few weeks!
Thanks for reading!