(This trip was reported in Scotland’s Sunday Post!!!)
We left the south of Germany at the end of May on our 3-month road trip and rode up to the Hook of Holland. It took us four days to get there – we don’t travel very far in one day as we like to take lots of stops to stretch our legs. On the way, we camped in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bingen on the Rhine and Aachen.
When we camp, my place is at the front of the tent, where I can keep watch.
When we reached the Hook of Holland, I saw the sea for the first time. You can’t drink the water in the sea like you can in lakes and rivers and puddles as it doesn’t taste very nice. I also saw miles and miles of huge sandy beaches where I could run as fast as I could and play with lots of other dogs.
The next day we took the ferry to England. This was also a new experience for me. The steps up and down the different decks on the ferry are very steep but I managed them okay. What I didn’t like, though, was having to stay in a cage below deck on my own for 7 hours. I don’t like being on my own and I cried at first but then I went to sleep until my owners came back to collect me.
Our first stop in England was Ely, near Cambridge, where we visited friends who live by the river. This was a perfect location for a morning walk!
After Ely, we camped in a place called Theddlethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast. The beach here is even bigger than the one in Holland and was completely empty. I had a lot of fun chasing a stick on this beach and I also saw a starfish.
Our next stop was York, where I met some cows and I also pretended to be a horse and ran at top speed along York Racecourse.
After York we headed over to the Lake District along a very nice road through Wensleydale. Just like Gromit, I love cheese too, especially Wensleydale, so we stopped at the Creamery for a photo.
The Wensleydale Creamery is in Hawes.
In the Lake District, we visited friends who live in Kendal. I had a great time playing with Max, Emelia and Hattie and I was sorry to have to leave them, but they had to go to school and we had to continue with our trip.
From Kendal, we travelled up a lovely twisty road over a pass called Kirkstone towards Ullswater. You can’t see me on this picture as I’m hidden by our camping sack, but this is what we look like from behind.
We stopped at Ullswater for a refreshing dip in the lake as it was such a warm day.
At the end of this day, we arrived in Haltwhistle in Northumberland. We went walking on Hadrian’s Wall and I had a lot of fun running up and down the wall and jumping on and off it.
I also met my first sheep on this day.
That was the end of the England part of our trip. After that, we picked up my Granny, who lives on the Northumbrian coast, and headed up to Scotland.
Our first stop in Scotland was North Berwick on the Firth of Forth, where there is another huge beach to run around on. I could run on beaches all day, whatever the weather!
Unfortunately there were a couple of dead birds on this beach – a puffin and a seagull.
Our second stop in Scotland was Loch Lomond. I was able to run around on the beach and in the woods and also enjoy the views over the loch.
At the end, though, I was exhausted and I feel asleep on my blanket. This is a Scottish kilt and it’s my bed. Whenever my owners get it out, I know I have to lie down quietly and go to sleep.
After that, we went to the Isle of Arran. We took another ferry but this time I was allowed to stay on deck.
We stayed in a campsite at the southern tip of the island, where there is a big sandy and rocky beach and we met a seagull who was watching us for a long time.
We left Arran on another ferry and rode down the Kintyre Peninsula. Then we walked to the very end of the Mull of Kintyre. You can see Northern Ireland from here.
We also rescued a stranded gannet by calling the Scottish Society for the Protection of Birds, who came and picked it up and took it away.
And I met more cows.
After Kintyre, we stayed on a campsite in Oban. This was a great place because next to the campsite, there were fields to run around in, and next to the town there was a beach!
And the best bit was that I got some leftover haggis, potatoes and peas that evening. Yummy!
Our next stop was at the end of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, where there is a big sandy beach called Sanna which has dunes with high grass that you can get lost in.
After that, we went to the Isle of Skye. If you look very closely you can see me in this picture taken in Portree harbour.
While we were on Skye, we took a short ferryboat trip to the Isle of Raasay. There are lots of spaces to run around on this island, but unfortunately I had to stay on the lead because there were sheep everywhere (I get a bit excited when I see sheep and I bark and want to chase them). This is a picture of me on Raasay.
Our next stop after Skye was Applecross. This is a very popular place for motorcyclists to visit, because to get there, you have to go up a steep and bendy road. It was quite cloudy when we went over Applecross Pass but I enjoyed the ride anyway.
The pub in Applecross is very dog-friendly and I got lots of cuddles and attention from the customers that evening. And lots of people wanted to take my photo when we left the next day.
After Applecross we went to Gairloch, a place with very friendly people and a big sandy and pebbly beach. We camped in the dunes there and every morning and every evening for six days, we went to the beach for a walk.
And on hot days I splashed around in the water.
I also made four new doggy friends in Gairloch – two Springer Spaniels called Harley and Mack and two Black Labradors called Bonny and Lily. Harley and Mack were rescued from unhappy homes but now they live a very happy life with Robert, an SRS volunteer. Robert is great – he says he just likes dogs to be dogs. He was strict with us if we got too boisterous, but usually he let us do whatever we wanted. He took us all on a fabulous walk in the Torridon hills and we had a lot of fun chasing each other up and down the rocks and crags!
Here we are standing on the top of a big crag looking at the fantastic views.
On our way to the Summer Isles, it rained heavily and we all got very wet. There is a waterproof cover on the sidecar, but I don’t like to go under it. I prefer to stick my head out and see what is going on.
I was cold, wet and shivering when we got to the campsite and I had to be wrapped up in blankets and cuddled until I was warm and dry.
But the next day the sun came out again 🙂
But it was still cold and windy on the west coast, so we went to the east coast because the weather is usually milder there. We stayed in a campsite on the Beauly Firth near Inverness. Firth is a Scottish word which means estuary or river mouth and there are lots of them in Scotland. When the tide is in, it looks just like a normal river, but when the tide goes out, you can go for a walk on the beach, like in this picture.
On this campsite I met a lovely lady called Lola. We played together a lot but I don’t think she liked it when I tried to kiss her.
When we left Inverness we went inland to a place called Lairg. The River Shin runs through Lairg and not far away are the Falls of Shin, where the river flows over the rocks very fast.
Here we could look through the railings at the salmon leaping up the falls.
It’s fun to watch animals in the wild doing normal things. After watching salmon leaping up the Falls of Shin, we watched seals splashing around in Loch Fleet. Loch is the Scottish word for lake, but many of the lochs in Scotland are seawater and you can often see seals and dolphins in them.
Our next stop on the northeast coast of Scotland was a small harbour town called Helmsdale. There is a big river in Helmsdale with a nice dog walk along the side of it and the town has lots of small white cottages.
That was the end of our tour of the east coast of Scotland. After that, we went back to the west coast and stayed for a few nights on a campsite in Scourie Bay. This is a great place because it has a long sandy beach with no sheep where I can run and run and run.
We met two Springers on this campsite: Toir, who was two years old and Ruaig, who was only six months. Their names are Gaelic, which is a language spoken in parts of Scotland, and they are both words that mean “search.” This is because Toir and Ruaig are working dogs who have to search for ducks and other birds that their owner shoots. To train them how to do this, their owner throws a dummy far into the water and the dogs have to go in and bring it back.
I found this very interesting to watch.
So I tried it too and I loved it!
The next day we went for a walk along Scourie headland. The rocks there are very high and steep so I had to stay on the lead in case I fell over the edge. If you look very closely you can see me sitting on the top of a steep rock here.
From the Scourie headland, you can look out into the Atlantic Ocean.
That piece of rock that looks like it’s sticking out of my head is called the Old Man of Stoer. It’s connected to the mainland a few miles to the south.
Scourie was the most northern point of our tour. After that, we started heading back south. Our first stop was to go to see my Springer friends Harley and Mack and the Black Labradors Bonny and Lily again. Their owners took us on two walks in the Torridon hills. The first was a short walk from Poolewe over the hills towards Loch Maree.
And the second was a long and steep walk up a mountain in the Beinn Eighe National Park. In this picture we are high up in the mountains where there are lots of small lochs where you can go for a swim.
And in this picture I am standing on a rock with Loch Maree in the background.
After a few days we had to say goodbye to my friends. We were all very sad but hopefully we will see each other again. We went back to Oban and camped in the same place as we did five weeks earlier. But this time the weather was cold, wet and windy.
It’s often windy in Scotland. On some days I have to have my hair brushed. I hate those days. And there seems no point in this weather anyway, as my hair just gets messy again straight away!
Oban is in an area of Scotland called Argyll and we followed the Argyll coast southwards. We visited a town called Dunoon which has a big pebbly beach next to the promenade.
Then we took another ferry to the Isle of Bute.
Whenever we travel by ferry, I have to stay in the special area where pets are allowed.
After Bute, we went to Largs, where there is also a long promenade next to the sea.
And a beach with long grass that I liked springing in.
On our way back home, we stopped for a couple of days in Glasgow and a week in Edinburgh. When we were in Edinburgh I celebrated my first birthday. I had a beef burger, some sausages and a blueberry muffin, which were all delicious!
I was a very proud boy on this day!
It was time to leave Scotland and catch the ferry back to mainland Europe. On the way from Edinburgh to Newcastle, we stopped at a campsite near Dunstanburgh on the Northumberland coast, where I had one last run along the beach. There are no long, sandy beaches like this back home and I’m going to miss them!
The ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam is a big one and there were a lot of other dogs staying in the “dog hotel”, so I didn’t feel as lonely as I did the first time I travelled by ferry, even though the journey was 15 hours. The sun was shining when we boarded the ferry in North Shields.
But when we arrived in Amsterdam it was raining.
From Amsterdam, we rode all the way down to the Alps because it’s near to where I live and we still had a few days’ holiday left. Here I am on the Rossfeld High Road near Salzburg.
And this is me at Schliersee. I’m panting because it was far too hot!
The temperatures were in the high twenties in Germany at the end of August, which is too hot for me. So on the last day of our holiday, we went surfing on the lake 🙂
And that was the end of my 2015 Road Trip. Phew! I’m exhausted. Time for a rest now, I think!