It was not a very good forecast.I left it to Alex to pick a hill.For a change our friend John was coming with us plus his wee dog Chalky.Picking them up on the south side of Glasgow then Alex out east meant north of Glasgow was out due to this long uplift time so a trip south was the easy option.The best weather was down that way in any case.Also the lack of snow would suit the dog`s wee legs more (and mine too!)
Left Glasgow in a snow storm and headed out past East Kilbride on the road to Girvan.Troweir Hill, right above this seaside town was our destination of choice.
Parked on the edge of an OK housing scheme next to the lane up the hill.Easy walking,although the track soon turned to thick mud due to a herd of cows mooching around a fodder dump further up in the woodland.
These were curious but didn't charge us,always a concern when you mix bullocks, or cows with calf's and dogs in the same field.Chalky was soon renamed Manky as he gamely waded up the mire which was up to his chest in places.
Anybody who has a Bichon Frise (or Tenerife Terrier as they are also known.) will know that they have an amazing personality for such a small fluffy dog.Fearless,confident,bright and playful,not at all the nervous snappy,aggressive type of small dog that you get with some breeds.Quiet too,doesn't bark much.
It also has the air of a dog five times its size and is never daunted meeting the largest hounds.Its no wonder they were popular in the days of sailing ships for company and as a mascot for the sailors who took it around Europe`s ports.Little white dogs similar to these have been recorded on ships since long before the time of Christ.
With so many good qualities going for it he had to have some bad traits to balance up the other side of the scales.In Chalky`s case behind those cute black button eyes lurked the mind of a natural born satyr,nothing in a fur coat was safe from his attentions.As soon as he saw another dog,male or female,big or small,he was straight over for a sniff,trying to get his leg over,normally with comic results.I`ve never seen a dog try so hard,so often and with such fearless devotion to the task in front of it.Snarling Alsatians,straight under quickly and sniff the bum.A ruthless furry charm offensive then a sudden dash in for the clinch before the surprised and usually unreceptive victim batted him off like a human swatting away a troublesome fly.
"He`s some wee dug that!" said Alex admiringly." Never gives up".
" I know". This from John wearily,used to the embarrassment with other dog owners."Tried everything in the book to cure him. He`s just a dirty wee bugger."
This was probably a trait much admired by the sailors as well I`d imagine.
Grassy,mostly featureless slopes on a dull but dry day carried us up the hill to the top where we met the local farmer tending his sheep.Chalky was on the lead by now,as soon as we`d spotted the woolly ones ahead.(Copulation should be impossible but you never know.) There was a lot of electric fences on this hill.Chalky and Alex had to be carefully lifted over each one.
Only joking.He`s a middle aged jumping jack really,puts me to shame.
I suggested John lower Chalky`s private parts onto the electric fence just to see if it would cure his problem with other dogs but neither of them seemed keen on that idea.
Alex got his summit tick,views were reasonable but not spectacular and we decended via a drier path and a puddle sized loch back to the car.
Byne Hill across the valley looked good (bagged last spring in a prevoius blog entry here.) but I was happy we`d done a dullish hill on a dull day as I like to save the good stuff for better weather.