Three unique dog walking routes
If you’re bored of walking your dog in the local park or around the block, you may want to take some inspiration from these three unique dog walks. While they may be a little further out than your nearest field and feature tougher terrain than the pavement, you may feel encouraged in the future to travel past your local park and experience some of the best dog-walking routes that the UK has to offer.
Lands End to John O’Groats
Okay, this route is a little too far for your average morning walk, but the story of Martin Fletcher and his twin Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs Jess and Tara is a truly unique tale. His walk, from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Caithness, was a 1,287 mile off-road walking route that took 68 walking days to complete, with an average of ten hours of walking per day.
Setting off on April 23rd 2012, Martin and his two canines followed the northwest coast of Cornwall and Devon, crossed Exmoor and the Quantocks, through the Shropshire Hills, along the Pennine Way and up to Hadrian’s Wall, through the West Highland Way along Loch Lomond and, on the Saturday 28th July, the trio made it to John O’Groats – “elated, sore and ready for home”.
Fletcher managed to raise just over £2,000 for the Veterans Association UK and plans to do the route all over again – next time with three dogs – in 2014.
Miles Butcher, a 65-year-old teacher from Kirkcaldy, and his dog Bilbo the Labrador managed to scale Britain’s tallest mountain, reaching the 1,344m summit. But this was no ordinary trek for Bilbo is guide dog and Butcher, who has been blind since he was 15, had to rely on his dog and his son-in-law Malcolm to reach the top.
He admitted that encountering boulders on the first half of the trip proved to be tough, as well as leaping over runnels and gouges in their path. However Butcher claimed the descent was, in many ways, harder than the ascent as it is much easier to fall down than to ‘fall up’.
Once the group reached the top, Butcher said there was beautiful sunshine and he felt the sensation of being in a “huge open space”. A fantastic achievement in one of Britain’s unique dog walking spots.
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk
Beginning at St Bees in Cumbria and ending at Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk is an extremely popular route for walkers and dogs alike.
Passing through three National Parks – the Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North York Mores National Park – the route is a 182 mile route through Northern England, meaning walkers and their pets will have to bring their camping tent with them or book a B&B on the way.
Those who have completed the route suggest walkers should keep their dog on a lead when venturing through farmyards – dogs have the potential to get a bit excitable when seeing cows and horses – while some areas of the three National Parks require a dog on a lead at all time.
It is a long trek but a unique experience for those who feel ready for a challenge.
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