Commemorating my best friend

Two things have happened this week. I finally got around to seeing some friends in Cumbria for the first time this year, and my 14 year old dog died.

The two things do not combine well for a post but heading off to Cumbria made me think about all of the trips around the Lakeland Fells which Dougal did over the years.

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Dougal, a labradoodle we got from a rescue centre when he was about 1 year old, loved to dig in rivers and bark at the stones. He would like nothing more than finding the largest rock to keep, which he could barely fit in his mouth to drag out of the river, and he got very upset when you insisted he left it behind. There’s been many a brick he tried to take home.

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He loved climbing mountains and has bagged more than some of my friends and certainly didn’t mind a night under canvas, though I spared him from wild camping trips.

In 2004 he climbed Ben Nevis on a very wet and foggy day, and that is the only mountain that ever left him aching and hobbling around, so the day after we spent the day heads out of the window on the steam train to Mallaig.

This is him at the summit of Scafell Pike with my mum in 2005, wet and misty as usual.

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And this is him (ear’s blowing in the wind) when we headed off on the second leg of the Pennine Way, from Standedge to Todmorden.

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He never shied away from daft outfits or having his photo taken. This is from a very windy day on Eagle Crag when mum was convinced he was going to get ear ache.

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Dougal loved travelling and only last month did he get to spend a month touring Scotland with mum and dad. I’m definitely going to miss him x

Pennine Way – Standedge to Hebden 2006 Day 2

I might have done this whole route nearly 7 years ago, but living in Marsden I regularly walk along bits of this route near my home. Something in the landscape never change! Looking back through these pictures has a tinge of sadness though, as my companion Dougal is no longer with me and he loved to roam the moors of the South Pennines.

Day 2 -Standedge to Hebden Bridge – 15.25 miles / 24.4km

We set off from Standedge in typical West Yorkshire mist and low cloud. This section of the Pennine Way is a nice one in good weather as you walk along the watershed of the South Pennines, first looking out over Delph and then crossing Buckstones Road you eventually reach Windy Hill radio mast and the bridge over the M62. Ok, not exactly the most picturesque bit of the route, but walking over what is the highest motorway in England its certainly interesting. (As a regular commuter on the M62 I can say it is never normally this quiet!)

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From here there is yet more moorland to get to Blackstone Edge. On this day you couldn’t see down into Littleborough and Hollingworth Lake; Dougal could barely keep his ears on his head!

As you cross Blackstone Edge you also cross the old Roman Road and pass the Higgin Stone before you reach the A58 at the White House pub.

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I’ve recently walked this next section a couple of times to see the new Simon Armitage poem ‘Rain’ which has been carved into the rock. Back when I walked this route though, the poem hadn’t even been thought of as a concept. Eventually you come to Warland Reservoir after which the route heads Easterly towards Stoodley Pike and views over Todmorden.

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From Stoodley Pike the route drops down to the Rochdale Canal leaving you half way between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge. Dougal and I then walked into Hebden Bridge for a well earned drink and the train home.