Walking for Water – Molly’s dog blog
Sorry to leave Grasmere, where we hooked up with Ian and Helen Grange, but as we headed towards Patterdale things got really interesting, with dozy-looking sheep all over the place. I was kept on the dog pull, of course, which wasn’t fair as there were other dogs racing about all over the place. Our team got all excited and called them ‘sheep dogs’. Sounded like some kind of weird hybrid, but they just looked like dogs to me. And they weren’t very effective at catching the sheep. They’d get really close, but as soon as their human blew a whistle, they’d just stop dead and lie down. Useless.
Then we were joined by Chris Barker from St.Mary’s, Mirfield. Now he’s someone who knows how to walk – and incidentally can read a map! Lovely day in the hills and ‘she’ even found time to do a short video blog on top of the mountain by some rescue hut (Though i think it was an SOS really) but nobody came so she had to continue her walk down into Patterdale. We’re staying at the White Lion; lovely Red Velvet cake when we arrived, but haven’t seen a lion yet. Looking forward to having tea with the Granges and ‘her’ wearing some clean clothes after they did her washing – though she wasn’t too keen on them seeing the vicars knickers.
Onward to Shap tomorrow, and it looks like a long slog.
Miles walked: 44 1/2
To do : 147 1/2
Dog miles : 311 1/2
What a fab day – sunshine. What a relief after yesterday’s rain. Absolutely chucked it down. Raining cats and clogs I think I heard one of them say – and such a distance covered! Well at least that’s what the humans say. I dropped out and the day was spent on a nice stroll around Grasmere being treated to lots of nice things from Trish and Rita, two of the support group. So not so much climbing for me.
Unlike the others who climbed 3,500 feet, had to negotiate wading through deep water to carry on their journey, and all with out my encouragement! They went on about it a good bit.
She’s feeling a bit better too, though I think I overheard her say that if someone wanted to sponsor her for £10000 not to walk she would consider it – though she really is having a great time. She says. But then I’ve only seen her lying in the bath with a Gin and Tonic to hand, so what do I know?
Back to the slog tomorrow, on to Patterdale, and the White Lion.
Miles walked – 37
Miles to do – 155
Dog miles – day off (Every dog has one)
When we set off this morning it was wet, but they were all going on about the way a ‘Full English’ sets you up for the day. I think it was the breakfast they had just enjoyed. Everyone knows that dogs smell better than people, and whenever they opened their mouths to speak I was getting bacon, sausages and black pudding. I was fobbed off with the usual dog’s breakfast of course, and if you’ve ever wondered why they call it that, feel free to join me one morning.
A pretty dreadful day all round – talk about walking for water we could just export it! No photos, except this snap of my Full English, just one long drudge of a day in the pouring rain. Anyone who thinks this is a walk in the park, think again. Even my blisters have got blisters – and I’ve got four feet, remember.
Keeping track of them all was terrible too. She was so slow and the other one so fast I had to keep running to and fro to round them up – I even managed to include lots of people who weren’t part of the original five.
Our room was great though – a luxurious bath which I wasn’t going anywhere near, and a huge bed I wasn’t allowed in. Or even on. It’s a dog’s life and I’m dog tired. Think I might take tomorrow as a lieu day and let someone else look after them.
Miles walked – 25½
Miles to do – 162½
Dog miles – 178½ (nearly 6 marathons in person miles)
A bit wet and windy for my liking, but that’s not why I’m looking down in the mouth. As you can see, I’m tethered. She calls it a ‘dog lead’, but she never leads me. I am always, and I mean always, in front. In the lead rather than on the lead, as you might say. What she does is yank on it to stop me investigating interesting canine and human discards, so ‘Dog pull’ would be a better definition, but the law of evolution demands that I remain in a subservient relationship with my human. Well that’s better off my chest.
Not a bad walk to Ennerdale Bridge, with a fierce climb up Dent Hill before we got there. We passed the Church of St Mary, built on the site of a medieval chapel around 1857 as I understand, it. All a bit confusing as I’m pretty sure there’s a St Mary’s back in Mirfield, and another one in Gomersal.
The highlight of the day was when we had to negotiate a so-called ‘kissing gate’. The two I live with had to take it literally of course, whilst the rest of us looked on. I don’t think any of the others had a go, but I might have missed it.
Miles walked – 15
Miles to do – 177
Dog miles – 105 on the standard scale.
Here we are, ready for the off, at St Bees. Don’t know why they call it that – not a bee in sight.
I did get a good swim in, though, just to get the old legs going, then we set off along the cliff. Great views they kept saying, but all I could see was miles of water. We soon turned inland, heading east according to the one with a compass. I was beginning to think they might know what they’re up to, until one of them lost the map, and had to turn back to find it. I ask you!
Then things got interesting – we found a pub – who’d have imagined such a thing! It was called The Dog and Partridge, which sounded interesting, until we were faced with the incomprehensible news that they don’t admit dogs. They were non-committal about partridges, but this looks like a case for the Trades Description mob to me. A stiff letter is called for, at the very least. Everyone else seemed to think it was hilarious, which doesn’t bode well for the two weeks ahead. Spent the night back at St Bees. I was worried we might have to do it all again tomorrow, but apparently we get taken to where we reached yesterday and set off again. Sounds crazy, I know, but that’s the way we’re doing it.
Miles walked – 5
Miles to do – 187
Dog miles – don’t even think about it.
Here I am folks, sniffing out a field of barley and wondering how they ever manage to turn it into beer. I’ve tried a lick, but there’s no kick. September’s arrived and the panic’s setting in. It’s easy to say ‘192 miles’ (well it is if you have the right kind of vocal chords, which I don’t) but it’s another to slog away at it for a fortnight, day after day, mile after mile. Of course, I’m expected to do more. She persists in confusing dog years with dog miles, telling people “Oh Molly will be doing far more than any of us.” I don’t know if she’s winding me up or not, but if she thinks I’m going to do 192 x 7 miles
The money side of things is going well. She has a target of £8000, which seems a lot to me just to provide clean water for a village. Why can’t they train their people to just put a bowl of it down for them every day? Easy. Anyway, she tells me that the fund already stands at around £6000, thanks in part to three generous donations from Roberttown Pop Choir, John Cotton’s, and St Martin’s Church Brighouse. And that’s before we get our boots on. Not that I have been offered any such protection for my feet – even though I’ve got more than anyone else, and statistically a far greater chance of getting a blister. If I have to be rescued, I just hope there’s one of those fit looking St Bernard’s on the case. More when we hit the road.
Well, she’s off to Tanzania now. No thought about who will take care of me, of course. I just get farmed out around the parish while she swans around visiting water projects in Africa and sees how the money we raise on our Coast-to-Coast walk will be put to good use. I could have had a really good time over there – I hear they have wild dogs and I just know we’d have got along fine. In fact I was a bit wild myself when I realised I wasn’t going.
Anyway, she’s asked me to tell you about her recent visit to our Church School at Battyeford, so here goes. The children have been thinking about ‘Water for Life,’ with all sorts of activities to bring home the importance of access to clean water. The teachers organised a water assault course, and naturally Maggie had to wade in. She also demonstrated water carrying, African style, but with a tiny cup of water instead of the four gallons I understand is normal over there.
The great bit, though, was that the kids were given a milk bottle to take home and then encouraged to bring it back full of loose change. Loose change! They came back with £1,124. If I was the sort of dog that wore socks, they would have been blown off! Well done teachers, kids and parents!
More when she gets back – after a good long walk, that is.
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Molly. I am a fine example of a Springer Spaniel. I live just behind the Church of Christ the King along with two humans, both now quite elderly in dog years.
One of them, the one they call Maggie, has courageously undertaken to walk across England later this year, and I am to act as main support. I think it’s because we have a bond. We both wear dog-collars. She’s a Canon, and I’m a Canine.
I’m looking forward to it, as there will be plenty of chances for me to let her off the lead. I’ve noticed, though, that when there are sheep about, she likes to be kept on it and under tight control. I’m not sure why, but sheep do sometimes look anxious as she passes, so I think it’s just as well.
The reasons for taking on this project are not clear to me. I’ve heard her barking on about ‘walking for water’ and I’m all in favour of that – it’s my favourite tipple. I lap it up.
It seems that she knows some people in Africa, wherever that is, who don’t have access to clean water, and she wants to help them. This, surely, is an ambition we can all tap into.
I can’t quite figure out how walking across England is much help, but she associates it with ‘sponsorship’ (sic). She still uses words that don’t make much sense, even after all the years we’ve been together. Fortunately,
I am a patient sort of dog, and know how to bite my lip.
Anyway, we started ‘training’ a few weeks ago. Back in the day, training meant learning that it’s considered unacceptable to get caught weeing on the carpet, and that I’m expected to bring back sticks she loses.
Now, though, it’s just like walkies, only better because we go further. We both get dog tired.
As well as being ‘Main Support’, she wants me to keep people in touch with how things are going, so expect an occasional bulletin as the weeks go by. I won’t get paid for it. Being what she calls ‘person’s best friend’, I just chip in what talents I have in support of whatever cause she takes up. More sound bites soon.