Poor Dixie! Her birthday is the 5th November, but the poor dog is absolutely terrified of fireworks. This year she’d reached the grand old age of 10 too, so it didn’t seem fair to stay at home and let her suffer. The plan then was simple: to get away – anywhere really – where she was unlikely to hear any fireworks.
Friday afternoon we had a quick discussion. One of our favourite weekend haunts is the Wensleydale/Swaledale area, but how about somewhere different? We weren’t particularly bothered about any long mountain walks, but a short walk over the weekend might be nice. We plumped for the North Yorkshire Moors. Dixie must have been about 6 months old the last time she’d walked there. Geoff and I had backpacked across it many years ago, doing the last 3 days worth of the Coast to Coast, but not much since.
By the time we got there and found a suitably remote wild camp for the van, it was dark. We were right on the top of Blakey Ridge, about a mile south of the Lion Inn, and not a single firework was heard all night long. Bliss!
Saturday morning dawned grey, misty and drizzly, but still good for a look around our pitch and a half hour run down the Ironstone Railway. This is a dismantled railway from yonks ago which used to be used in the iron ore industry and has been turned into a track which goes all around the head of the Rosedale valley.
What to do next then? The dogs love a nice beach, although sand all inside the van isn’t our favourite, so off we went to Whitby. Well, Sandsend to be precise, just North of Whitby. Still blowing, still wet, but the doggies had a great time and got covered in wet sand to boot – even worse in the van!
And when you go to Whitby, you just have to have fish and chips for lunch.
We decided to go back to Blakey Ridge again for Saturday night as it seemed suitably remote to be quiet enough, even on Bonfire Night itself. We meandered back the long way, through all the little villages and down plenty of single track roads. By now it had cleared on top and we had a good view of the Lion Inn as we drove past.
Geoff had once flown to this pub in an RAF Sea King helicopter with his previous dog, Ragga, who he was training for Search and Rescue. This set me off thinking if we were all helicopters, what models would we be? I decided Dixie would be a Pave Hawk – sturdy and lots of staying power, and besides her muzzle looks like the front of a Pave Hawk. Tilly would be a Huey, as she’s always dashing about on her own secret missions. And Geoff would be an Attack Apache, due to his sharp wit (!) and uncanny ability to win any argument, even when he’s wrong. I didn’t think it fair to decide for myself which one I’d be, so I asked Geoff. “Silly bugger” was his reply, further endorsement of my choice of an Apache for him…
Dixie then had a special treat of being allowed to drive for a bit, seeing as it was her birthday.
Followed by an afternoon tea with Jumbones.
We had a lovely sunset that evening and then a quiet, peaceful night with no fireworks. Dixie was very happy.
Sunday dawned clear and cool, perfect for a walk. We fancied doing the ‘Ironstone Railway’ circuit, right round the moors surrounding the valley, but didn’t really have to time for a 10 mile jaunt, so settled for the 5 mile version instead.
We followed the railway for a short distance, dropped down into the valley for a couple of miles, then climbed back on to the moors to follow the railway again, back to the van.
This next picture makes me think of the film Ghostbusters. “Whatever you do, don’t let the lines cross!” (You’ve no doubt got to be of a certain age to get it…)
Once back at the van, we had 2 very contented doggies, and it was cheese on toast and Jumbones for lunch.
So, mission accomplised, Dixie had had an extremely enjoyable and peaceul birthday, and the afternoon saw us driving back to Derbyshire, listening to Dixie Chicks CDs all the way home.