Saturday, 31 October 2009

Bingley goes to Druridge

Druridge Bay is about an hours drive north of here. An hour’s drive, of course, isn’t really that far, but an hour there and an hour back makes for the longest journey that Bingley has had so far.

Up until now we’ve just been having weekend trips to our favourite bit of coast at Souter; and heading that way, we can be walking away from the car within half an hour of setting off from home.

Bingley absolutely loves going to the coast. But it hasn’t got much to do with the sea, or the views, or the bracing air. He likes it, I think, simply because lots of other dogs like it! Some of these dogs he meets and plays with; but plenty of others have been and gone, leaving behind tantalising markers which Bingley enjoys following with unbridled enthusiasm.

The pleasure he gets from exploring that canine world is closely followed by the joy of digging holes in the sand. And boy, oh boy, does he go for it!

As I’ve already mentioned, the sea itself probably isn’t at the top of his big list of favourites. But he still enjoys playing in it as long as the waves aren’t to big.

We’ve been popping down to Souter all summer, but now that Bingley has become completely comfortable with car travel, we decided that it was time to try some longer trips. Druridge seemed a good place to start: not so far that if things went wrong, it would take us all day to get back; and once we got there we knew we’d find sand, sea and dogs.

Jane and I actually went up by ourselves the first time, partly for driving practice, partly to reconnoitre the place. But though the drive was nice and easy, the weather on that first visit was vile. Druridge Bay has a huge beach that runs alongside land reclaimed from open cast mining. On our first trip the weather was cold, grey and windy; the tide was out and the whole place looked bleak and oppressive. We had a cup of tea and came straight home again!

But the day we took Bingley up there, the weather couldn’t have been more different: blue sky, sunshine and positively balmy temperatures. Thankfully he was fine with both the ride there, and the return home. We’d been concerned that motion sickness might have been an issue we’d have to face, and in fact we took some tablets with us just in case. But as it turned out we didn’t need them. The only problem we had with the outward journey, was a bout of are we there yet whimpering. On the way home he was too exhausted to even move!

In between the two car rides we all had a super day, meeting other people, other people’s dogs, and walking the full length of the beach (and back again!). Bingley (who confirmed his love of kelp!) had a whale of a time, and so did we.

Back at the car, we put down a towel for Bing to lie on; and as we drank our tea, he happily settled down and chewed his Kong. It felt like being at home! The perfect end to a lovely day, and we’re now sure that this is the just the first of many long trips we’ll be having with Bingley.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Bingley's beach bonanza

There’s a secluded little cove not far from Souter, and many local dog walkers seem to stop off there during their saunters. It’s a pebbly little place, sheltered and private; when it’s warm most dogs seem to enjoy basking on the flat rocks, or bathing in the shallow waters.

Bingley of course is a different kind of dog. As far as he was concerned the flat rocks were places to bound across, and the waters edge something to eye with wary respect. Unlike other dogs, what he found most appealing was kelp!

I don’t think that he spotted it himself, and maybe he wouldn’t even have noticed it if I hadn’t drawn his attention to its existence. But having forgotten to take a ball with me, I went looking around for something safe to throw. Kelp seemed ideal: not as sharp and dangerous as a stick, but hefty enough to go the distance.

And chase it Bing did; and catch it Bing did. But that’s where the game ended, because once he got it in his mouth he realised that this was going to go straight onto his list of Good Stuff.

Crunchy, chewy heaven! He spent the rest of the visit tracking down more and more of this wonderful stuff, and he only stopped when we dragged him away from his last mouthful.

Kelp is good for us, I’ve been told; and is presumably good for dogs as well. Once home I double checked just to be on the safe side, and was relieved to find that my instinct had been right.

I’m happy for Bingley to be a kelp enthusiast: following his diffidence regarding the waves, it’s nice to think that he might be an old sea dog after all.