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 😂

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#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!