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


  1. Yes, you definitely need walking boots. I remember a particularly wet walk we did in Wales where we had to walk for several hundred yards through ankle deep water. At first the water is cold and horrible, but after a while your feet warm the water up inside your boots and its quite nice. Ha ha, but having said that I hope I never have to experience it again. And yes, wild camping. Its all very romantic waking early to the sounds of sheep and a gurgling stream, washing your face in fresh icy stream water and having breakfast sitting outside the tent watching the sun come up. But toilet business, especially ahem, post-breakfast toilet business, is just not the same out of doors. No. Not at all. Also TOBY! How lovely, I'm so glad you couldn't resist him. Love from Lynda

    1. So very glad you understand exactly what I meant about the whole toilet business! Haha. A girl needs a bathroom 😊 Toby is 10 wks old today and just met his Granny. Fun times xxx

  2. I'm afraid I'm not even a tame camping sort of girl. Toby is lovely but I hope that the other little guy finds a family.

    1. Never fear, camping certainly isn't for everyone but good long walks are another thing! Toby's brother was already purchased when we picked between them, a family was on their way to the place to 'take the last one'. So happy days 😋

  3. I'm rather thankful that my camping days are long past as it was always something that I did reluctantly.
    Toby sure is a delightful looking little softie. Flighty xx

    1. I only do things I like Flighty, it's my one rule in life!
      Toby is such a fluffy and floppy pup 😊

  4. I managed one whole night in a tent.
    No, thank you.

    Went hiking in Cape Point on Wednesday, and managed to step on the side of my foot, then limped thru Thursday. (We are so NOT clumsy fools!)

    Welcome to little Toby!

    1. Hey, at least you can tick that whole camping lark off your list 😁. Sorry about the hobbling, not fun at all!
      Toby says "hello".

  5. Hello sweetie ... this was an amazing adventure with totally remarkable photos .. I felt like I was almost with you but without the uncomfortable bit ? LOL
    I am so impressed you have gone through all of this .. you are amazing : )
    Love the shots of Toby with his brother .. I would be too soft and want both of them .. he is such an adorable little ball of fur .. a lot of work and watching but I just know he will be a little love of your life .. hang in there girl .. you are strong and moving on ! Thank you for your kind words , I appreciate them immensely!
    Take care !
    Joy : )

  6. I'm so so thrilled that you have a new (and already beloved) dog in your heart and home! Makes reading through all of your uncomfortable (though absolutely stunning photos) camping moments all worth it. Congratulations, my friend! And welcome to the blog, Toby!

  7. Hi Carrie

    As someone who camps a lot on the motorbike weekends, a MUST is a thermal mattress - not sure if you have one. They inflate slightly (so not too much huffing and puffing), but the difference in temperature is genuinely astounding. I got mine in Cotswold for around £35 - the big name is Thermarest, but Mountain Equipement serve the purpose equally as well. A liner for the sleeping bag folds into a tiny bag, and is a worthwhile thing to take in case the temperature plunges!

    LOVE Toby by the way - gorgeous!! Hope you and Andrew are well.


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