Bruno Goes North
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
The suitcases came out and once again, we were off on our travels. This time though, much to my chagrin, I was restricted to the back of the car as Antony had fitted a dog guard preventing me from jumping over the back seat – I was not happy!!
The journey seemed to go on for ever, along very long straight roads with lots of very fast-moving traffic but eventually, we landed at a small cottage set within a tiny hamlet called Gilsland. We had arrived in Northumberland.
It was strange being somewhere different and I found it very difficult to settle so I decided that everyone should know my feelings, and I cried and barked and whimpered until my humans got the message and took me outside. Sadly, the house had no outdoor space, so this meant Julie donning coat and wellies at all times of the night and day. I was always ready for a walk.
The first day of the holiday saw skies of steely grey and threatening rain, so our humans took us for an early explore. Walking from the cottage we heard the mighty roar of very fast flowing water, and we went to investigate. A narrow wooden bridge spanned the width of a beautiful burn with brown frothy gushing water cascading over big stone slabs. It was so exciting. Shep and I rushed to take a closer look, but Julie called us back. The river was so fast moving and the current so strong we were in danger of being swept away.
Beyond the bridge and up a flight of wooden steps we discovered one of the mile-castles built by the Romans along the length of Hadrian’s wall. It was great fun running around the remaining stone walls.
When we got back to the cottage, the younger adults were up and about and ready to begin their day. Sadly though, the weather had turned for the worst. The heavens were bucketing down, and the wind was blowing a gale, but we were on holiday, so we just had to go out and see the sights.
First of all, our humans drove us up to Steel Rigg - a car park set up high on the Northumberland hillside. The cloud was so low and the rain so wetting that we stayed just long enough to see the massive stone escarpment upon which Hadrian’s Wall is perched. In spite of the weather, the car park was milling with humans – all sporting the brightest and latest outdoor walking paraphernalia.
We drove off to find somewhere more sheltered for our humans to have their lunch and by the time they had finished, the rains had eased off. We set off to explore another of the fortified remains along Hadrian’s Wall - Housesteads, which is jointly owned by the National Trust and English Heritage.
The climb to reach it was not difficult for us. Living in Malvern we are used to daily ascents to the top of the hills. Again, we shared the Fort with so many other people and so our humans kept us under tight control on our leads. In spite of this It was still so exhilarating, and the gusty wind clawed at our coats and we in turn tugged at our humans.
We returned to the cottage, but, at bedtime, I was too excited to settle despite sleeping in the same area of the cottage as Shep. Why did our humans have to go to bed? Surely, there must be much more interesting things to do!
For some reason, all of my humans were tired the next morning but, regardless of this we headed back up to Steel Rigg. The weather was much kinder to us, and Julie was determined to find a rather special Sycamore Tree that was made famous in a movie about Robin Hood.
I don’t think anyone realised what a challenge this was going to be. Our humans clung on to our leads as we clambered up steep stone staircases avoiding family groups on their way down. All the time the wind was blowing our fur coats the wrong way round. Between the stone steps, the ground was soft and soggy to our paws, and we squelched through the puddles. We climbed up and down several flights of very steep steps before finding the tree. Many other humans had come to see it too, but I only saw one other canine friend and his humans didn’t take him to the trees itself.
It was lunchtime so many people were picnicking beneath the tree, so we headed back to the car this time along a grassy bank below the wall itself.
Julie was amazed how many little humans were attempting the steep climbs, but Antony reminded her that she would have done exactly the same thing with Rose and Tom when they were little.
In the afternoon, our humans took us for a completely different walk at a National Trust property called Allen Banks Wood and Staward Gorge- which is an amazing woodland perched on the sides of a steep valley overlooking a magnificent river. How I would have loved to have a closer look. Just the sound of the water sounded so exciting but luckily for Julie, our path did not allow easy access to it. It was stunningly beautiful and what was more we were allowed to run free off our leads. We raced and wrestled and played in the thick carpet of rich autumn leaves on the ground, the sun broke through and turned everything to gold.
We were sorry to return to the car. Once again that evening I was too fired up to settle but Julie made sure that I was okay.
For the last day of our holiday, we made a foray into Scotland. It seemed to be a surprisingly short journey. The countryside was absolutely breath-taking but, the best bit of all was our trip down to the beach at Southerness which we found by driving down a long narrow road.
We stopped by the side of the road outside a kind of amusement arcade and our humans walked to the very end of the road which tipped down onto the beach. The sand was soft and velvety to our paws and there were lots of rock pools to investigate. A tall lighthouse towered above us, but Julie had one thing on her mind. She had to get to the water’s edge, and we were eager to follow. Shep’s eyes lit up as soon as his paws touched the sand and he and I raced along the beach with delight. The sun shone, lighting up the light-yellow sand and the sea just seem to glisten and sparkle.
Rose and Tom played ball with us, and we pounded across the sand and paddled in the water to retrieve it. It was wonderful and we hated having to go back to the car and head for home.
That night I slept better than I had ever slept before. Our humans didn’t hear a peep out of me.
The next day – it was packing day – we had to return home. But what a wonderful holiday we had had. I definitely want to come here again.