Its a dogs life (at times) – Beinn Chabhair No 36

7 12 2014


View towards An Caisteal

View towards An Caisteal

With every intention to let circumstances conspire to scupper my plans to go out and avoid another summit, I woke and prepared to faff enough until the notion to go out in the rain got the better of me and I could put my feet up on the sofa and listen to some music. I really couldn’t be arsed. As misfortune would have it, every minor mishap – misplacing my iPhone charger, finding sandwich material and locating my gators (they would be needed!) – resolved itself and before I knew it Dennis was safely in the boot of the car and we were heading to The Drovers on Loch Lomond to park up and head up Beinn Chabhair.

I had been warned that it was a bogtrot of a hill and that it was a relatively easy walk. That being the case I decided it was a perfect walk to take Dennis as company. A bit about Dennis here. Dennis has only 3 legs, I’ve had him for about 3 years now. I rescued him from the cat and dog home where i saw him and fell in love with him. He was obviously lame and I was told that an amputation was inevitable and if I wanted him, I could pick him up in a couple of weeks minus a leg. I didn’t have to think twice. He is my companion and I love him so much, a more beautiful dog you could not imagine – and after Elvis’s death some years back, I never thought I could say that about another dog.

So, we unloaded at the Drovers, I got dressed, he got excited, and off we went heading towards Beinglass Farm which signals the start of the sharp rise up past Beinglass Falls, which are the waterfalls visible from The Drovers. Falls which I have viewed from the roadside in winter on my way to Nevis or Coe to climb, and wondered how they would climb when frozen? I hope to answer that soon now that I’m familiar with the access to them.

As we arrived at the Beinglass farm, we were greeted with a huge “No Dogs” sign. Not even a “Dogs should be kept on a lead”, no it was quite apparent that Dennis was not welcome. Equally as aggrieved that the guide book made no mention of this, I decided that I would keep him on a tight lead and continue. I passed through unchallenged, and before too long we were on the steep and eroded path beside the falls. There were a couple of times when I had to pick up Dennis and lift him through cattle fences as I climbed the high stiles, and a couple of times where the steep rock was too high for him to jump off his single back leg and needed a my help. Before too long, it opened up and we were on level if somewhat boggy ground. Dennis was now in his element, with his paws now finding soft wet ground he reveled in the new soft conditions. Never straying too far, he was free to explore his surroundings. Any time he disappeared from view due to the high bracken and grass, a sharp whistle would prompt the white flash on his tail to appear above the grass like a flagpole on a dodgem car, and he would come sprinting towards me. Any burn we crossed which offered a pool deep enough to lie down in, he would wade in then ease himself down on his belly for a cool down.

Dennis finds a pool big enough to swim in

Dennis finds a pool big enough to swim in

The weather was kind for us, we had a lovely day, I worried how he would cope and if it was to much for his back leg, but he was showing no signs of fatigue. We walked for 5 hours and for 15km. we ascended 940m. It offered me the perfect opportunity to memorise the words for my gig on Friday. I repeated them over and over, singing with gusto as the landscape unfolded before me offering both inspiration in its beauty and also reassurance of its solitude. Having satisfied myself that the words were now pretty much committed to memory and that any memory failure on the night would be entirely down to nerves, I moved on to some “proper” singing, well it would be proper singing if I could do it. Nonetheless, it is something which I am enjoying more and more. You’re never too old Bobby!

Lunch break at "almost the top"

Lunch break at “almost the top”

So, we arrived back at the car. I opened the boot and Dennis looked at me. I could tell, there was no way he was making it up into the car. I picked him up and sat him in the boot. He immediately curled into a ball. I got changed, and we headed home. I am so used to seeing his head in the rear view mirror excitedly pacing up and down in anticipation of a “walk”, but there was no sign of him, he was curled up cozy and sound asleep. I parked the car in the driveway at home and opened the boot, he hadn’t moved. He had no intention. I lifted him out and sat him on the driveway. He was going nowhere.

I had broken my dog.

After getting him into the house, he slept for about 4 hours in his bed. He could not get up onto his legs. I was worried.

An exhausted dog....

An exhausted dog….

He stayed downstairs as I went to bed, another bad sign! However, the night seemed to do him good, and when I woke in the morning, he was back to normal and looking for his morning walk. Phew!

As you know, I am doing this for my friend Corinne’s charity Finding Your Feet. For more information, you can go to and go and like the Facebook page too. Any donations for my Munroblagging will go to Finding Your Feet and this is my Just Giving page

Thanks! Catch you all soon.






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