Winter camping

I went away recently with my two humans, for a few days in my motorhome. Camping at this time of year – February, wet, stormy, windy – is perhaps not the best but it’s sometimes good to get away and see new places. Or in my case, smell new smells. And the van is one of my most favourite places to be.

We stayed in a place called Rutland, on a campsite which had plenty of space to walk around and it had a dog walk too, in a wood. But it was muddy, very muddy, and every time we went out I had to go through that rubbing and cleaning of my paws when we came back in.

We went to a place they called Rutland Water to look at birds. Boy was it muddy there! I couldn’t go into part of it as it wasn’t dog-friendly, but there is another place in the bird reseve that is OK for dogs. We didn’t go there because my humans had enough of the mud they had to walk through to get to the bird hides. I stayed in my van, in the warm, and they walked me around the parking area and along the road nearby. Needless to say, it was wet and muddy. I think I came off best when I saw what was on their walking boots!

We went to a town called Oakham, which was very dog-friendly. I was welcomed into the Castle area and the old building which was a sort of museum with masses of horseshoes all over the walls.

The best bit of the winter camping trip was a visit to a huge country park with a massive posh house. It was called Burleigh House but it was closed (there were signs saying No Dogs so I couldn’t go in anyway) and we walked in the grounds. It was very windy and cold and I wore my fleece onesie, which keeps me dry and warm and clean.

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That ditch ha-ha thing & me in my onesie

We walked past the big house which had a ditch thing all around it. My humans said it was a ha-ha. I thought they were laughing or something.

We also went to the nearby big town called Stamford, which my humans seemed to like quite a lot. I suppose it was quite a nice place as I was allowed to go in everywhere. There are several churches there which I could go in as they were dog-friendly too.

What a difference it makes to find so many dog-friendly places to go to when we visit somewhere new in my van.

Dog friendly?

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAOk, so this isn’t me (Bosworth, Norfolk terrier) in the picture. It’s another dog who was my predecessor: Calan, a Scottish terrier. I know my humans must have loved him as much as they love me as there’s a couple of photos knocking around and they sometimes speak of him. But that’s not the point as this is about dog friendly places and it looks as if this place – the Hartland Quay Hotel in Devon – was not especially dog friendly.

From the photo, it appears that quite a lot of dogs have expressed their feelings about the sign as it’s gone very rusty round about the place where dogs, such as myself, would cock our legs and pee. Only to mark it, mind, as that’s what we do.

Seriously though, dog-friendliness has got a lot better over the past few years (I overheard my humans talking about this), so now when we all go out, I can mostly go into the places that they do. Some shops welcome dogs and have a funny sign saying things like “Dogs welcome, well behaved humans tolerated”.

Some shops have a simple sign on the door which says it straight: “Dogs Welcome” and that’s what we like to see. Same applies with cafes and restaurants – a sign in the window, a blackboard outside welcoming us pooches is good to see. At the weekend I went, with my humans and their friends who’d come to visit, to a local brasserie-style restaurant. They’ve started to welcome dogs and let this be known on a blackboard outside the door.

It was especially nice because the waiter brought me a bowl of water, placed on a serviette, on the floor. Once I’d had the few treats my humans had brought for me, I settled down under the table while they ate and talked, and then had some of that beautifully served water when I was thirsty. I behaved perfectly too, just like I’ve been encouraged to when we’re out.

One or two very good dog friendly cafes I’ve been to either have home made dog treats for sale along with the cake things the humans eat, or they bring treats to the table, for free. Free treats! Doggy heaven – well, possibly owner heaven too if they’re free. There’s a great cafe in Conwy where this happens.

Some pubs and cafes and restaurants are still not welcoming dogs, so we don’t go to those. These can be a bit annoying. We found a place in Combe Martin in Devon which didn’t have a “No Dogs” sign anywhere in sight, but when we went to go inside, they told us no, we couldn’t.

Aren’t some people funny? My humans were shouted at for taking me into a local charity shop when they were donating goods. There was a washed out “Assistant dogs only” sign on the door which¬† they couldn’t see because the door was wide open, supposedly inviting people in. But when we stayed in York, and they went looking around the shops, several shop owners smiled and invited us all in, saying they liked dogs.

A couple of useful websites with info on dog-friendly places, covering UK locations:

Dog-friendly pubs 

Dog-friendly beaches

And here’s my human’s viewpoint on dog-friendliness

Sunny, frosty Southport

We went to Southport me aP1080297nd my humans, in my campervan, and stayed overnight on a campsite we’ve been to before. It was sunny and cold, with this chilly white stuff they call frost covering the grass in the morning. The puddles were all hard with ice but it didn’t stop me from enjoying walks and exploring a very nice park with a big lake.

There were ducks and pigeons, and as I’ve recently got ino bird watching I sat still and watched a crowd of these feeding on food put down for them by someone. I’d have loved to have got closer to them, especially the pigeons as I see these in my garden, but I was held quite firmly on my lead and couldn’t budge.

The park (it was the Botanic Gardens – Ed) was dog-friendly and there were notices showing where dogs had to be on leads. In some parts – the wilder rougher parts, which I liked – dogs were allowed off leads.

The humans seemed to like this place quite a lot so here are a couple of photos of it in the sunshine. But blimey, it was a bit chilly though.