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Picture of Doodle - a 
black cat

Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

I would love to be able to say that Doodlecat is all my own work, but it isn’t. Much of the outdoors content is courtesy of the splendid people who participate in the annual TGO Challenge (there is a section entirely devoted to this unique event) and many others.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

A Dunnerdale Daunder

Regular readers will know that after a thoroughly enjoyable Pre Walk Daunder I had to forego the TGO Challenge to have a few weeks of radiotherapy. This was a bit of a setback, as I felt as fit as a butcher's dog at the time. Anyway, the RT finished three weeks ago and I've now got five more months of drug therapy before, with any luck, I'll finally get the all clear - just in time to apply for next year's Challenge!!

So it's now time to get back to fighting fitness all over again. Miss W, with her customary efficiency, planned a series of walks of gradually increasing distance and finally declared me fit enough to go and try a couple of hills. So an invitation from Alan Sloman to join him for a little jaunt in the Lakes was irresistible - and we were to be accompanied by Shirley 'Peewiglet' Worral and her six month old Border Terrier, 'Piglet'.

"Aha", I thought. "With Shirl having a wee puppy to slow her down, this will be a breeze"

How wrong can you be ?

We arrived at Turner Hall Farm campsite in Dunnerdale ( after an inspection of the Newfield Inn whilst waiting for the rain to stop) and pitched in what we thought was a sheltered spot, before returning to sample the full range of real ales and have a meal with lots of chips. The night was clear with the moon rising over Brown Pike as we turned in, looking forward to a good kip and a great walk over the tops in the morning.

During the night the wind got up and I woke up to the sound of the Akto rattling as though it was in a wind tunnel with the rain hitting the flysheet like shotgun pellets. We finally awoke to grey skies, wind and persistent rain, but got ourselves breakfasted and packed as Shirley turned up with Piglet. With a temperature of just 7 degrees (this is June!) and foul weather, the plan to go and wildcamp high was abandoned in favour of a walk up and over Walna Scar Road to Coniston, and then to see what developed.

Walna Scar RoadWalna Scar Road rising from Longhouse Gill

Less than halfway up the hill I began to feel that something wasn't quite right. I was as weak as a kitten. And the 'puppy' that I expected to tire easily and provide some respite was belting on ahead. I resorted to my standby solution to running out of gas (eating a few Jelly Babies) but to no avail. There was nothing left in the tank. I called a halt and said that I was turning back, and felt really, really bad when Alan and Shirley ignored my protests and insisted on escorting me to the bottom of the track before they started the ascent again. The wee dog scampered up and down, impatient to get on.

Sitting here at home I have (belatedly) read my radiotherapy notes which say "Tiredness can be a problem for some months after the treatment has finished...". Maybe that was the problem ... maybe the night in the Newfield Inn. Maybe I was attacked by vampires. Who can tell?
Platypus Wine Preserver
Fortunately I was able to do something useful by driving over to Coniston to scout out and book a campsite. Then I met Shirley and Alan at the Bull for haddock & chips and couple of beers after their very wet and windy walk. We ambled back to the campsite at Coniston Hall, and, when the tents were up, Alan produced a bottle of decent claret from his wine Platypus
and we enjoyed an impromptu Cheese & Wine party in the improving afternoon weather (smashing saucisson from Shirley as well). Then a walk back to Coniston to enjoy another pub's selection of real ales and for the still bouncy Piglet to woo some new friends who all went

stepping stones over River DuddonSunday morning: no rain! We drove back to pick up Shirl's car and parked under High Tongue for a walk up the river Duddon, over to Birks, back through Dunnderdale Forest to the river and then down Wallbarrow Gorge to Seathwaite and the pub for lunch.

It's a very scenic walk (and easy too!) with just a few grunts up and down in the gorge. Maybe it was the improved weather, or maybe the lack of a long daunting climb, but I felt full energy levels beginning to kick in and thoroughly enjoyed the morning. No Jelly Babies required.

Which was just as well. During the drive over from Coniston Piglet was in the back, and after a while she stopped looking out of the window and disappeared amongst the rucksacks. Shirley said that she thought Piglet had found my Jelly Babies on account of the contented snuffling sounds.

"Nah, don't worry, they're zipped up in a pocket", I said.

On arrival I realised that I had underestimated Piglet's ingenuity. The pocket was mesh, and she had managed to get the bag inside to split and then sucked the Jelly Babies through the mesh, like multi coloured spaghetti. Yuck!!

Piglet, the Border TerrierThe innocent look of a Jelly Baby blagger - this is Piglet

I had a great time even with the falling over bit. Thanks to Alan, Shirl and the Jelly Baby guzzling Piglet for a thoroughly pleasurable weekend.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaaaah! What a lovely picture of the innocent wee Piglet Monster :) She's on my bed, dreaming of your Jelly Babies, as I type.

Thanks again from both of us for a wonderful weekend ♥

June 9, 2009 at 3:40 AM  
Blogger mike knipe said...

It's a ratter! (the dog, that is....) Keep plugging away there Phil. You've got however many days it is on Weird Darren's blog - 300+, quite a lot... Miss W will get you properly whipped into line.

June 9, 2009 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Ay, Mike, I reckon that wee pooch could deal with a rodent or two. Shirl said something about Borders having very large teeth relative to their size (must keep in Piglet's good books).

Worry not - I'll be applying in ... mein gott!! Just three months!

June 10, 2009 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger Alan Sloman said...

"She's on my bed, dreaming of your Jelly Babies, as I type..."

Well, Phil. Not many girls would dream of your jelly babies.

Three months, eh? I have this route that heads west out of a possible start-point...

June 11, 2009 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

"I have this route that heads west out of a possible start-point..."

Uh - oh!

June 11, 2009 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger John J said...

Good man yerself for getting out! Shirl & Alan's consideration is only what would be expected in the circumstances....of course you shared the Jelly Babies.

You did?
Didn't you?


June 12, 2009 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Yes, I did offer to share the remainder of the Jelly Babies, but this was after Piglet's theft by slurping. Oddly there were no takers ('cept me!).

June 12, 2009 at 5:05 PM  

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