Mabel Takes Charge!

“So…Ben Ledi?”

J raised an eyebrow and I tried my best to look sheepish. “Yes…Ben Ledi.” I mumbled.  The eyebrow shot up further then she turned to inspect the rest of the troops before heading off to work.  My proposed hillwalking venture was not meeting with unanimous approval.  The pups were in favour, but they were in favour of anything that might get them out the house.  Unfortunately J had, during the summer, watched me struggle to make it round the streets during the pups’ half hour evening walk so my announcement of a wee wander in the mountains was looked upon somewhat unfavourably.

I admit there are days when the muscles in my right leg are not are their best and yes, I can battle a bit in the evening, but things had definitely been improving with the little thugs causing a lot less damage to various muscle groups than they had a few months before.  Even my right arm, which had taken the brunt of their enthusiasm is almost healed.  This had allowed me to participate in the circuit training class for the first time in 6 months.  I’ve managed 2 sessions without major organ (or limb) failure.  With confidence running high on the back of those two sessions I reckoned we might make it up Ben Ledi…at a pinch.

J was not convinced.   She studied the pups before issuing her instructions.  I was ignored, not being considered reliable enough for matters of such importance.

“Ok,  Lottie you…”  She broke off in mid-sentence to stare at Lottie’s best, head down – eyes up – goofy blonde grin…and thought better of it.  It was a face with futility written all over in big letters.  She spun around to confront Mabel instead.  Mabel was sitting bolt upright to attention, eyes front.

“Mabel, you’re in charge.  Take them up and bring them back by 5pm.  One piece would be nice but not essential.  Got that?”

“MA’AM, YES MA’AM!”

And so we found ourselves half way up Ben Ledi, Mabel powering on at the front hauling both myself and poor little Lottie up the mountain at a relentlessly “got to get back in time” pace.  It was going to be a very tough day out…oh yes it surely was.

Important: The photos have captions.  The best way to view is to click on the first one to bring up the carousel where the full text is visible at the bottom, then scroll through the rest.  The story continues after the gallery so remember to scroll down!

The descent was as much fun as I had anticipated.  I soon found that having 50kg+ of Labrador towing me downhill was not one that was going to have a happy ending.  The bungee connection was replaced by individual leads.  The pups automatically dropped back to heel and down we dropped.  While the pups showed no signs of tiredness I could feel my legs becoming tighter and tighter with each downward step.  Not being able to use my poles was a big loss, especially as regards my balance.  I only fell once, on a muddy section where a clod gave way, so I reckoned the day was a remarkable success, all things considered.  We covered a miniscule 7km with about 750m of ascent.

All that remains to be seen is…will we tackle another hill?  I think so.  Choice of route will be the big thing.  The hill has to be short and easy so we don’t do any damage to the wee thugs.  No heavy bog…no boulder fields…no steep gradients…especially no running about.  And that’s just my “banned” list…you should see the pups’!

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8 thoughts on “Mabel Takes Charge!

  1. Wow! Impressive. Well done that man. But only falling once? Clearly I need to head north and show you how it is done. The views from Ledi remind me of most of the Corbetts I have done.

    • We were lucky…it cleared during our 30 minute lunch break – hence the change in the photos. Oh how I missed being able to use those poles…though it was the type of ground I’d have probably gone down on even with the poles. Before we headed out I was sure I could get up the hill…wasn’t so sure I could get down. The descent proved to be pretty hard on the legs but no obvious effects so planning to go out on Tuesday with Cap’n Jack. Just waiting to see where the weather will be best. Might be a bit breezy.

    • It was a challenge Helen but as soon as they went onto separate leads it became an awful lot easier. We were able to speed up a bit whereas before I was continually having to untangle them from the bungee not to mention control their combined weight!

  2. I remember the days of being towed up/downhill by a mad dog. I tried it skiing once, I went one side of a fence post he went the other. End result – Aha, just as I thought.

    Nice day out, driven past Ben Ledi hundreds of times, never been up it. Always fancied the long traverse to Benvane.

    • You might want to miss out the traverse…a lot of bog! I did it one December with a dusting of snow and sod all visibility. I have never felt so alone. It took me hours and needed Maisie to pull me up some of the bumps on the way back! There’s a photo from that trip on the next blog post.

      Would have paid money to have seen that skiing incident! 😀

  3. Due to Dixie’s deafness meaning that I can no longer generally let her off the lead, I know exactly how difficult it is coming downhill with a pulling dog! I find myself constantly having to brace against the force of a descending Boxer and it’s not easy. I’ve tried a pole in one hand and a dog in the other, but with not a lot of success – certainly couldn’t manage with 2 poles and a dog 🙂

    Glad you had no problems after your jaunt though – good luck on the next outing!

    • I’m lucky that the pups are pretty good on their individual leads. Unfortunately, because the leads are loose, I get no warning if one of them (especially Mabel) stops or slows suddenly. This is not good for my sciatica…but it’s better than being pulled constantly.

      Not sure what we’ll do next…my desire to rush up hills every week has nearly vanished but my problem is finding something I want to to and where the pups can get off the lead for at least some part of our trip. They can’t yet be trusted in most situations! : lol:

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