If you watched ITV’s ‘Britain’s Top 100 Dogs Live 2019’ recently, you’ll know that in Britain we are mad about our dogs. From Cockapoos to Collies, Boxers to Bulldogs, Britain is unmistakably a nation of dog lovers.
Recently Stuart Tobias-Reid, our resident outdoor adventurer, took a trip out to the Lakes with his Springer Spaniel Arlo and his wife Kay to join 100 like-minded humans and their dogs for an epic fundraising walk organised by the PDSA, raising an amazing £1,500! We spoke to him post-walk to find out more about this fun-filled family adventure.
Start Point: Dob Gill Car Park, Keswick, Lake District National Park, CA12 4TP
Date: Saturday 30th March 2019
The Mission: To have as much fun as possible out on the hills, while raising awareness and cash for this great charity.
Can you introduce us to your dog Arlo?
Arlo is a 2 year old Springer Spaniel who I’ve had since he was a puppy. Like me, he’s always felt most at home in the outdoors and we spend most of our time in the mountains. We love early morning adventures where I can clear my head and we can both stretch our legs. Arlo particularly loves following single tracks when I’m on my mountain bike where we’re able to cover some ground with speed. His excitable, caring and energetic character means Arlo is the perfect adventure buddy.
What were the reasons for the walk?
The walk was organised by the PDSA with support from Kerry Irving whose springer spaniels Max & Paddy shot to fame a few years ago when their funny social media posts went viral. They are now Ambassadors for the PDSA and Keswick. Their aim was to raise awareness and money to aid PDSA shelters and veterinary clinics. It was great to hear that the event raised £1,500.
How did the day unfold?
Dob Gill Car Park can easily be described as ‘back and beyond’, the ideal starting point for humans and dogs to really get wild in the Great Outdoors. The turn out was impressive with a real mix of characters taking part. By far and away the most popular breed was the Springer Spaniel, and I counted (with great difficulty as they rarely stand still) 36 springers, with my dog Arlo clearly the biggest there. After a quick route briefing by Kerry, we set off as a group on what would become a 2 ½ hour adventure along winding paths, through thick woodland and around the base of flowing waterfalls.
The terrain was ideal for the active, working breeds who loved the rugged paths, wide open spaces and the lakes and pools which I’d challenge any dog to resist. It was a joy to see the dogs making friends and having a great time splashing about in the water, while I chatted away to other owners. The walk, although demanding, was a great route for the dogs as it was full of wide open spaces, free of agricultural land and farm animals. This meant that the dogs could be off-lead most of the time, giving them more freedom to stretch their legs and explore. The path ahead was always a great hive of activity as dogs ran, climbed and waded their way to our end point with great enthusiasm. The atmosphere throughout the walk was happy, bouncy and full of fun. Overall it was a good family activity where humans and dogs could socialise while enjoying the stunning landscape of our most treasured Lake District National Park.
What advice would you give to someone looking to go on a walk like this?
There are a few things I always consider when Arlo and myself head outdoors. I always like to know the route, and more importantly the route back. Crucially it’s worth noting if your route crosses fields and farms where you need to be aware of livestock. Dogs who have not seen livestock before often react with a mixture of fear, curiosity and nervousness. In these areas it’s recommended that you keep your dog on a short leash and reward for calm behaviour.
We always make sure we’re dressed appropriately for the weather. In colder conditions, a chest coat is an essential for any dog’s wardrobe, while after-dark walks mean you might want to consider a hi-visibility jacket and collar. Also, I’d say take enough food for you and your dog; and treats are a must!
Want to do your bit? Support the PDSA by visiting their website to donate.
What does your dog mean to you? Share your dog adventures, snaps and stories on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tagging Millets and using #mydogismy