COVID-19 Lockdown Diary

Keeping spirits up and minds focused during the COVID lockdown has had many of us learning new skills and trying out all sorts of creative activities.
One week I found myself trying to write short pieces of poetry, and the next step was to incorporate some of this into a short video animation.
We’re out for dog-walks once each day “Permitted exercise,” they say It keeps me sane!
We’re lucky, living where we do The hills are near, the beaches, too We roam from home...
What would they say if they could talk, To drop a hint about a walk? Let’s get my boots...
Anticipation, hope now stirs, We’ll soon be running through the furze Let’s get the lead...
The human likes to plan the way, He goes prepared in case we stray He’s got the maps.. . We always stop to scoop the poop, Besides the route, a furtive stoop We’ve got the bags...
And when we turn to wander back, We’ll take a break and have a snack We’ve got the bix!
And when we’ve been across the bay, We wander back our weary way Back home to rest.

Coronavirus Lockdown

This short video is a wistful vision anticipating  our next phase of activity after COVID-19 lockdown:
The coronavirus "lockdown" caused us to suspend our 2020 dog-walking meets, as the government advice has been to  Stay at Home; Save Lives; Protect the NHS Meeting up in groups has been disallowed, and personal exercise and dog walking during the lockdown has to be done locally - the rule of thumb interpretation of local being about 5 miles. We humans are advised too to maintain a social distance each each other of 2 metres.
Well, that does mean that the social aspect of the group has been curtailed, but several of us have used our exercise walks to keep exploring our familiar local routes and also finding new potential walks.
We all hope that CORVID-19 stays at bay and that in good time a new normal will be reached and we can get out in the hills and dog-walk socially one again.

Greyhound Style

We've learned a lot about how to deal with obstacles on our dog walks. We do try to travel equipped to cope with all sorts of challenges, and have learned all srots of useful strategies. One of the commonest obstacles we encounter is the ladder stile.
These have proved to be quite a barrier to greyhounds, especially. Getting a greyhound over a ladder stile can be a bit like pushing a giraffe through a cat-flap. The legs go everywhere, and you're instantly aware that greyhounds are only built for speed on the flat, interspersed with dozing on sofas. We were delighted when Archie the greyhound took up the stile challenge, and mastered it!
Thrilled with this success, Archie himself has collaborated with his human colleagues to produce this charming tongue-in-cheek publication illustrating his amusing take on the whole business of getting over stiles. It's available to buy on Amazon, with all profits going to Greenacres Rescue in Haverfordwest.

This is definitely essential re…

Dog washing

Spotted by my son whilst travelling in Sydney, Australia - a coin-operated dog wash! It seems that these are catching on here in the UK, too. Just the job for your muddy pooch!

Apparently, these sorts of self service dog washes are available in the following North Wales locations:
Farm and Pet Place, Mold |  Pet Place Abergele |  Farm and Pet Place, Gledrid, Chirk |  Farm and Pet Place, Llangefni |  Texaco Service Station, Beach Road, Bangor

What makes a good dog walk?

In the last 18 months, Madog Dog Walks Group have led over 100 dog-walks. We've had all sorts and shapes and sizes of dog (and their humans!), and we've covered all sorts of terrains. We've all learned a lot, and shared a lot.

Before we schedule a group dog-walk, a leader always goes out in advance and reconnoiters the route, as close as possible to the date of the event.  This is so that we know clearly what to expect, and can describe it in a way such that prospective participants can decide themselves if it's suitable for themselves and for their dogs. It's often difficult to determine this from published walking guides, so many of which are written without dog-walkers in mind.

Here are some of the things that we look out for, to make a good dog-walk great:
Variety and focus We believe that a good dog walk has plenty of variety along the route, and some sort of focus. It's not just about doing the distance, but it helps if there's something to aim for. I…

Circular hike around the slopes of the Moelwyns

4 mile hike skirting across the slopes of the Moelwyns, using a very convenient old tramway bed. The start point from the road is already quite high, which makes the onward ascent towards Moelwyn Mawr much easier. Parking is roadside on the gated minor road between Tan-y-Bwlch and Croesor, uphill from the entrance to Penrallt (farm).

What to bring Wear stout footwear, and expect it to be boggy in places. Bring a packed lunch, which we can eat while resting high up on the tramway, whilst admiring the sweeping view down to Croesor.

Obstacles: There is only a one low stile, high up on Moelwyn Mawr and about half way round the route.

The ascent is a long steady slope. Can be boggy after rain. You may want to scramble around the old mine buildings, but otherwise the going and the gradient is fairly even.

There maybe a few sheep grazing on the open moorland, but the vegetation is poor and so they are usually few and far between! It can be a bit damp and windswept.

Short (steep) walk in Cwm Pennant

Short and initially steep walk (of only 2 miles) up through woodland to reach the restored Cwm Cypwrth copper mine.

The riverside pool is a great place for paddling and picnicing (so maybe arrive early with a picnic ?!!!)

Parking place (and starting point for walk) is here:

The first 200 yards are across a sheep pasture - (so dogs on leads!).

There are two substantial post-and rail stiles, (which may need a bit of dog-lifting assistance for the less agile!), but no other sgnificant obstacles.

The short ascent through the woodland is by a reasonably steep stony path, though there are several points for a rest on the way up. At one point the route currently diverts around a fallen tree.

There is a good viewpoint for a proper rest after the second stile, so time to take a break and admire the panorama of Cwm Pennant.

After a further short ascent onto the open moorland of Cwm Cypwrth, the second half of the approach is a fairly even walk across moorland o…