Saturday 22 October 2016

Wild Camping and Toby

I'm not doing too well with the old blog post writing these past months am I? Well to try and remedy that here's another catch up post, non-allotment related I'm afraid but maybe more adventurous instead :)

The weekend of 8th and 9th October, was seen as one of the last opportunities for us to get into the wilds of the Mournes and camp in our lighter tent for the night. I can tell you that this experience has changed the whole West Highland Way hike we have planned for next spring, truly it was a game changer. (I need toilets - I'm a lady!)

It all started out with us arriving at the car park closest to our destination and proceeding to hike with heavier back packs than before, across bog and squelch for a good 40 mins in the wrong direction. The wrong bloody direction! It was made pretty self evident during this time that I really need hiking boots now and my approach shoes aren't cut out for the ankle high water deposits and indeed the streams that one finds in bog land = wet feet and we'd only just begun. On top of that, I had had a horrendous week of mental ill health and had very little strength AND my double vision was simply nightmarish - somebody remind me why I was doing this!

We got on to the right track and thought immediately that this was better but lo! it too turned into a boggy, squelchy, slippery mess by the last third. I'm not really a fan of hearing my foot being sucked down into the earth, haha. But then came the start of the sunset and the sight of the stile over the Mourne Wall and our thus prospected home for the night. I am quite proud to reveal that I picked out our site and the views were beautiful, but there was no shelter and the weather turned out to be the opposite of what the forecast promised! We were in the Col between Slieve Lough Shannagh and just about on the slope of Carn Mountain.

sunsetting -

Col between Carn Mountain and Slieve Lough Shannagh with Mourne wall -
mourne wall and to the right the sunset on  Slieve Lough Shannagh
Sunset on Binnan where we had or last great summit adventure
The tent was up in a jiffy and soon dinner was on in the dark (though we had dessert first cause that's how we roll ), lovely soup with noddles added and a wee bap-  thank goodness for head torches! With this darkness came a huge drop in temperature and soon I had every extra bit of clothing I had on me and was in my sleeping bag shivering like a tent flap in a gale. Lucky I had my new bobble hat :)

tent up on the lower slopes of Carn Mountain -

the lower slopes of Carn Mountain -
pretty soft to lie on - lots of mosses, grasses and gorse
wonderful soup to warm the soul -

Saturday evening was spent playing daft drinking games and and listening to the heavy rain on the thin tent. But Lord, going outside for a pee was a deal breaker; it was so damn cold, wet and windy and pitch black with 'something' moving about out there. I returned to the tent with a tear in my eye - I'm too girly for this sort of nonsense, many nips of whiskey and multiple cups of ginger tea were needed. I think I slept, eventually for about two hours - I was a human icicle.

The next morning was cold! for quite some time but as we were packing up the tent it started to warm a bit and we heard another wild camp group down below us pitched by the lake
- a dad and two girls with their dog, laughing and chasing each other. (We later saw them on the track back to the car park and the dog had his own panniers, probably to carry his own food and essentials!)

lough shannagh
Lough Shannagh 
sparkley sun on Lough Shannagh -
Taken from Carn Mountain -   Lough Shannagh shinning bright with Doan behind it and Binnan in the clouds
Stile over Mourne Wall at the Col of Slieve Lough Shannagh and Carn Mountain -
Stile over the Mourne Wall at the Col
I took some photos and watched as around 20+ people came over that stile into the mountains at ridiculous o'clock. One guy had his crazy dog off the lead and it was worrying a sheep near to death, ggrrr, that make me so angry AND he was half way up Slieve Lough Shannagh in the other direction, completely unaware.

The way back to the car park was slightly treacherous for me due to all the rain during the night and naturally, like the clumsy fool I am, I slipped on a stone hidden in the bog and fell on my face. Oh! me knee, it was badly bruised and had lots of scrapes (still does) but I marched ever onward and sneakily changed into jeans and clean socks and shoes, by the car when no one was looking ;)

Off to find pancakes for breakfast! Lucky we know somewhere open on a Sunday morning which does excellent breakfast :P We chatted merrily about our learning curve.

But the real adventure, the life changing one, happened a few days later. It was Tuesday night to be more accurate and we drove all the way out to Limavady and found ourselves in the huge shed of a man whose dog had had puppies. PUPPIES!! And not just any old puppies -8 wk old mini schnauzer ones (like Maggie was). Eeekk!

The whole way there I was secretly hoping that I wouldn't connect with either of the two boys that remained of the litter, and I really wasn't sure I wanted a boy. But then we saw the little guys and the one in front was so bouncy and licky and excited and Andrew and I just died, died there on the spot, dead. We HAD to take one into our lives.

mini schnauzer puppies! -

And thus, drum roll please.....
We have welcomed Toby into our home and hearts.

Toby! -

An new companion, a new partner in our adventures; a wee dog that has already learnt his name, the command 'sit' and is no longer afraid of leaves. Life through a puppy's eye is magical and all is edible (he's getting better with that), he a fun, cute and intelligent little fellow and I hope he will be with us for a lifetime.

Toby collage -
From Instragram #it'sToby

Love Carrie xxx

Friday 7 October 2016

Photo update from last weekend

'Things' have not been good inside the head of your exhausted writer, my dear friends. The debilitation of Depression, Anxiety and BPD is real, really real and I have been in my own personal Hades for quite some times now. I rarely talk to anyone or go outside and life without Maggie is still almost unbearable. So forgive me for the lack of blog posts or comments in fact, if you have a blog yourself, I just haven't been able to think properly - I am experiencing a moment of clarity and am devoting it to this space. Little dialogue but lots of photos....these were the plots last Sunday.

24a is the real producer and it was time for some constructive deconstruction (you know I love that), as the courgettes, sweetcorn and climbing french beans are all finished now and needed composting. Sadly all our leeks had bolted too so 'goodbye' (the plot smelt like soup all afternoon!)

14b is the embarrassing little sister, going through her grunge teenage years and so unkempt but beautiful underneath it all. It gifted us some lovely squashes that we are eating now and loving. Here's Andrew's gorgeous photo of them.

Anyway we focused, as I said on the finished veggie beds on 24a and got as much done as we could before I just couldn't take anymore....

I tackled the bean wigwam and weeded the whole bed .I was so happy to find this little fellow/lady? ladybird which I put in a cosy spot on it's leaf. I LOVE ladybirds!

By that stage we stopped for tea and listened to the crazy lady pheasants running and squawking about. Andrew had by this time cleared the last courgette plants (one last wee harvest first!) and all those sweetcorn stalks. The sweetcorn this year was amazing - Swift F1 as always but a great year!

Back to it and the leeks were lifted (sadly) and composted whilst I did some really quite pointless weeding of the paths which had gotten grassy and slippy up by the arch.  I also noted that the broccoli and even the purple sprouting broccoli  had bolted! What the heck!! The carrots had carrot fly *sad face*, but the companion plants were very happy...

Andrew prepared the #1 bed for mulching with our glorious well rotted horse manure, look dear friend, I know you, as a true plotter will appreciate the wonder of our manure bin....

How lovely to watch such hard work, hahaa.

Sadly we didn't get to finish the #2 bed as I needed home but! it was fabulous to be there once again (bar seeing Maggie everywhere and her bowl sitting out for her). I am thankful for the good times and my amazing hubby who never gives up on me. Let's hope we have another nice wee time to treasure this weekend.

Best wishes to you all,
Carrie xx

P.S. Apologises for the poor photos at times, these are all unedited and from my phone (apart from Andrew's one - it's perfect) x