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I walked for miles this weekend. Our friends Lucy & Paul were staying with their wire-haired vizsla so we went out as a pack. First we had to do a short 20 minute circuit for the benefit of my 17 year old lurcher Echo. It served as a hearty appetiser because it is uphill through the woods, has a fresh wind on the ridge and then a couple of fields coming back down where the younger members of the pack can really stretch their legs. The old girl senses we are past the half way mark and trots ahead a little bit until I need to carry her over the stile.
Echo went reluctantly to her basket and we carried on for the main event; down into Oakamoor’s Carr Wood and then back up past Orchard Farm and into the woods. We were out for a couple of hours and enjoyed the best of the weather. I had put too many layers on and ended up with sweater and heavy coat tied around my waist for all serious uphill stretches. Paul had a hip replacement only nine months ago and I was somewhat alarmed when there was a plaintive cry for help at the back and he was lying in the rut of the path. It is soft peaty ground, so luckily he was enjoying the drama of it.
On Sunday the plan was to meet Karen and Megan the spaniel and go for a 1 ½ hour walk in Cotton Dell, but the clock change meant that it was just Lucy and me and the dogs. My whippety-lurcher races up the track likes she’s been let out of a trap, my terrier checks all rabbit holes and the vizsla jumps straight into the river and all further muddy pools of water. This is a fluffy vizsla and a muck magnet, who must have wondered why we were so keen to throw sticks for her into the deeper parts of the brook. The sun shone, the birds were singing and the temperature was perfect for a long walk up hill and down vale.
Later, while I was gardening, a man walked past with his dog and checked directions with me. His wife had dropped him in Alton and he was hiking back to Ipstones – approx 8 miles. We agreed it is perfect walking weather.
Following the walking and gardening, my legs feel quite stiff this morning, so instead of the hour long return walk down to school I confess we went by car, taking all of 3 mins each way. Not the same at all!