Ey up me ducks! My name is Harry and I’m a Derby-based Westie, aged 10 and three months. For some reason I can’t get my fluffy head around all the people here call each other “duck”. I just don’t understand because I eat duck for my tea sometimes and I’m fairly certain I’m not eating human?
Anyway, I’m digressing. I’m not here to talk about ducks.The great thing about living in Derby is that I am so near the super dog-friendly Peak District. This is every dog’s dream, surely, because the Peak District is a mecca for walkies (and humans like it too because it’s pretty and there are sheep).
I love it when I hear my human Rachel mention the words ‘Peak District’ and my ears prick up.I’m a bit of a Peak District veteran having been there quite a lot during my ten years but if you’re a newbie it can be difficult to know where to start as there are just so many walks and adventures. Not to worry – Harry’s here to help!
For beginners, I would suggest going to Dovedale – you’ll be guaranteed a paw-some day out. It is very, very popular and if you go on a Bank Holiday or sunny Sunday it becomes Dog City and there are queues of us all waiting to sniff each other. But if you go on a slightly grey Sunday it’s magical because you’ve got the whole place to yourself. That’s a whole lot of grass for me to roll around in and I love it!
I went there on August Bank Holiday with Rachel, her boyfriend Chris, and their friends Jo and Ed, and even though it was busy, it was just as amazing always.
We started off walking along the River Dove where I jumped in and out of the water – I really like getting my feet wet. Then we came across the famous Dovedale stepping stones.Okay I admit I can’t get across the stepping stones because I don’t have very long legs – even if I do have four of them – so instead of wading through the water like some other dogs I am always picked up and carried across the stones. Personally I think that’s a great way to make an entrance!
Across from the stepping stones is the giant which is Thorpe Cloud. It’s basically a very steep hill and attracts a lot of dogs and humans keen to conquer it. Four legs come in very handy when climbing Thorpe Cloud – Rachel and co slowly made their way up but I ran ahead because it was just so easy for me! (Well, apart from when I had to climb up over a very big rock – I admit I needed a bit of help with that.)
Don’t underestimate how steep Thorpe Cloud is though – halfway up, nature called and I had to do my business. But it’s so steep that. when I did my business, my poo rolled down the hill and Chris had to run after it, poo bag in hand. Hilarious!
When we got to the top, my humans were amazed at how far they could see. But me being a dog my eyesight isn’t too great so I couldn’t make out Derby in the distance. Instead I spotted something much closer to home – a woman chomping on a very juicy apple. I couldn’t take my eyes off it – and I tried to take a bite when she wasn’t looking. Sadly I didn’t succeed – Rachel saw me just in time and kept repeating “sorry – I’m so sorry!” to the woman who looked shocked by my bad behaviour. What can I say? I love my apples!
Making our way down Thorpe Cloud was quite steep, but again my four legs carried me along and once we got to the bottom we went to the dog-friendly Izaak Walton Hotel and sat outside with drinks. There were some birds on a bird feeder out in the gardens and I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Told you I love my food!
Phileas Phacts: Dovedale and Thorpe Cloud
- For more information on Dovedale, Thorpe Cloud and the Peak District log on to www.nationaltrust.org.uk
- Izaak Walton Hotel, Dovedale, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. DE6 2AY Tel: 01335 350981; www.izaakwaltonhotel.com
- Dogs are welcome in the Izaak Walton Hotel – in the rear of the Dovedale bar – and can stay overnight with their owners for £10 per night per dog.