Now, as my regular readers will attest, I am a dog who enjoys travelling – I’m Phileas Dogg, after all, and HOLIDAY is my middle name. But I have never in all my born days had a sniff of a trip like this – staying in a log cabin in the middle of a forest replete with deer and rabbits and SQUIRRELS to chase and hundreds of millions of trees to wee against. This is holiday heaven for a hound and no mistaking – acres and acres of forest to rampage through and I’m just the dog to do it!
When we arrive at our Forest Holidays cabin at Keldy in Cropton Forest, North Yorkshire there’s a Scrabble board on the coffee table and someone has thoughtfully spelled out WELCOME on the tiles. But I am not interested in Scrabble the board game – I am only interested in Scrabble up a tree to chase a squirrel.
The four girls (as they view themselves although in truth they are not girls at all but middle-aged women – in dog years, in fact, they are ancient) aren’t as interested in the forest as me. They are more interested in the hot tub on the deck of our cabin and the Stella McCartney shoes Jane has rather impractically packed for the trip and the bottles of Prosecco purchased en route to the Forest Holidays site. This is all extremely boring-bones for myself and my canine companions – Angus the Labradoodle and Jess the Labrador. Angus and I sit on the deck of our cabin and gaze wistfully out at the trees. This is a HINT and a Newfoundland-sized one at that. But Jane just takes another sip of Prosecco, sparks up another Marlboro Light and tells everyone what a bargain the Stella McCartney shoes were in TK Maxx.
Is this FURREAL? I can smell the forest and see the forest and feel the forest but I am not allowed into the forest. Frustrated, I decide to take matters into my own paws. So while the middle-aged women – sorry, girls – nip to the car to collect more bags and shoes and bottles of Prosecco I seize my chance and slip out of the door and away. Well – what self-respecting Rover would not dash out of a door leading to all this wonder and adventure? Should a dog see this door and not take full advantage of the world it opens on to, he is not worthy of the name of dog.
If the doors of the cabin are open everything would appear to dog as it is: INFINITE! And this forest certainly is infinite: I am in forest infinity and the trees and the smells and the squirrels and the chase go on and on forever. Until, that is, I hear a voice I know only too well call my name and the voice I know only too well has a wobble in it that I know only too well and that wobble tells me that Jane has realised I have absented myself from the cabin into the forest of infinity and she is distressed. Oh dear. Now I am in a quandary– infinite forest versus Jane’s distress; infinite forest versus Jane’s distress…. And, even though I have a brave heart, I have a loyal heart too and loyalty takes the day. I return, proud but pious, to the cabin and I am rewarded with treats and tears and fuss. And then I am punished by having to remain on a long lead for the rest of the weekend. Not-amaze-bones. Not a Rover Result.
Still, even on the end of a long lead the woods are wonderful and I do have the last laugh, rather, when Jane loses a Fit Flop in a swampy bog and it has to be rescued by Vicky and Jess. I can navigate the infinite forest with ease. Jane obviously can not. Four legs good; two legs with Fit Flops on the end not so good….
And check this chap out – he is a dog with a job and a very important and privileged one at that. (Not as important and privileged a job as mine as Britain’s top canine correspondent I’ll grant you but important nonetheless.) He drives the cart around the forest delivering logs to the cabins with wood-burning fires and cleaning the hot tubs every day. What a dog! What a job! Rover respect! (Actually I’m not sure he actually drives the cart – I think perhaps his master does – but he is clearly the brains of the operation, as all dogs are in four paws/ two paws professional partnerships.)
Phileas Phacts: Cabin in the Woods
- Forest Holidays’ Keldy site, Cropton, near Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 8HW Tel: 03330 110495; www.forestholidays.co.uk
- Prices start at £260 for a four night midweek break in a Silver Birch two-bed cabin at Forest Holidays’ Keldy site and Forest Holidays has a page on its website devoted to dogs –www.forestholidays.co.uk/types-of-holiday/dog-pet-friendly-holidays. There’s a charge of £10 per night per dog.