Monday, March 02, 2009

Bentley’s Second Long Walk …

Or, there and back again with the Bogtrotter…

Hi Guys,

Here is the fifth in the series of first specials for my little pal, Bentley.

Today we see his second big outdoor adventure when Margaret, this time accompanied by Tilly, Joanne, Toby and Lucy, went for another walk with Bentley and I through Sunnyhurst woods in Darwen, and across the fields to the Royal Arms, pub/restaurant at Tockholes. This took place between Christmas and New Year just gone.

This time we had been gifted with some snow earlier that week and the weather was far colder, but bright. The occasional sun peeking through the clouds kept it nice. The ground was covered in parts through the woods with snow and parts of it near to the little stream with its waterfalls, which runs through it had a thick layer of ice, which made it pretty precarious, if you weren’t watching as you went.
We had half expected the path from the woods to the fields, which lead to the stile and the fields beyond, to the pub, to be quite treacherous in the icy conditions, as water freely flows from the top of the hills down to the reservoir at the bottom. We were all quite surprised to see that wasn’t the case.

The fields were quite frozen and hard underfoot as we crossed them. The sun was shining again and the views were very pleasant indeed. The three dogs were all having immense fun as they trekked on through the winter day.

Bentley is a very patient little fellow too as he sits and waits quietly whist I take photographs along the way. He is none too keen on other dogs, regardless of size, however, despite living with lots of other dogs that he meets along the way. Preferring to have his say about his dislike of the fact that they are travelling the same route as he and his friends, to the most oft times unsuspecting dogs, as he passes them by.

The pub again served as the perfect stopgap and we ate lunch, as we had the first time and had a pint, which again Bentley quite wanted to test, if he could…please.

Tilly, was the one this time that had not been on such a long walk 14 miles round trip is a far old trek for a young dog and a not quite as young as he once was, comic artist, if I am honest.

The food and drink were again absolutely excellent and set us right for the return journey. The fact they serve real ale is a plus and the inside is quite cosy and warm. The staff are friendly and helpful too and the overall feel of the place is quite homely. The three doggies again helped us to eat and drink our way through the pub fare.

Then it was time to set off back and being later in the year the sun was setting already as we set off from the pub. The long shadows told us it was late and we would need to keep a brisk pace up if we were to reach the woods before complete darkness was upon us.

This time we had not seen the bulls on the way up to the pub, we had seen some sheep, but nothing larger. The sheep were still there when we began the trip back, but the weather was changing and the sun had already set behind the hills on the horizon behind us, so it was still light, but getting darker by the minute.

Across the fields and hills behind the sheep the fog was drifting in over the high parts. By the time we had reached the stile, which was this time quite safe, the farmer had obviously done something about the dangerous wall and had followed the steep path down to the woods the fog was closing in fast.

By the time we reached the woods it was almost dark and I had everyone laughing, as we entered its depths, with my impersonation of the pub landlord always seen in the old Hammer films, who would be heard to say something like, “Oh you don’t want to go out now, not in the dark. Not in the dark, in the woods. Not in the dark, in the woods, with the fog rolling in…” in my best west country accent.

It reminded me of an old Fast Show sketch which did something similar, although I have bored folks with the impression since I was a teenager, so the fact I was getting a laugh at all was amazing really…even Bentley was sniggering I think.

It is amazing that out in the woods, in complete darkness away from the street lights under cover of the trees, one can still see, as ones eyes get used to the darkness. Although to be truthful there was the snow on the ground too, which may have helped somewhat…but it was very dark in there and I think Margaret for one was glad when we reached the gates to the woods.

Well, just as we had the first time, we returned home to sit beside the fire, watching TV, before falling asleep for a snooze.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
March 2nd 2009

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