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Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros


Postby past my sell by date » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:01 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgorr Dhearg (Beinn a'Bheithir), Sgorr Dhonuill (Beinn a'Bheithir)

Date walked: 12/06/1986

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When I first moved up to the Lakes in 1986 my partner Audrey had a young Rough Collie. He had a long pedigree name, but he was called Prince and had a habit of behaving like one :lol:
This is his story

From a young age he absolutely adored walking on the fells, and when the boots appeared on the doorstep in Windermere, he would hurtle round the car barking and scattering the gravel on the drive to make sure of his place. Once in the car though he would settle down quite quietly, but on the rare occasions when he had to be left behind, his tail would go down and he would make his intense displeasure absolutely clear :lol:
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He took very well to scrambling - doing a number of gullies and other routes from "Scrambles in the Lake District" but if he became marooned on a ledge he would sit and howl piteously until someone came back for him: once the lead was attached, however there would be no problems. We took him up Sharp Edge where we overtook a party roping up Foul Crag :lol: :lol: and down Gordale Scar where I had to lift him down the final drop from the tufa. He also managed the North ridge of Tryfan where one of our party decided it was too difficult and retreated. Lots of other people kindly asked " did we want help with our dog" but it wasn't needed.
He chased madly after anything on the fells except sheep . He seemed quite wary of them and if we walked through a field of them he would hide behind us. I can only guess that he had been "tupped" - put in with the ram - when he was very small.
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above Haweswater
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A wintery outing above Wrynose pass
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Top of Crinkle Crags
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locations unknown
In 1989 in late May and early June we had the use of a cottage just outside Glencoe village belonging to a group of college friends, and we decided to take Prince with us. we would choose the same time in most of the subsequent years
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Cottage at Tigh phuirt
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and the view across to Ardgour
His first trip was a traverse of Beinn a Bheithir. We started up the "schoolhouse" ridge: but did not need to get him up the scrambly bits - he just found a way round - dogs do that :D . We traversed both peaks and found a way down thru the woods into the Glean a'Chaolais
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somewhere high on Sgorr Dhearg
He seemed to be quite happy sleeping on the back seat of my Alfasud sprint so we next headed North to Ullapool and did the Beinn Dearg four from Inverlael, and the Eastern Fannichs from Loch Glascarnoch.
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Somewhere on the Beinn Dearg group
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On the ridge near Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich
Then it was it down to Loch Duich, and round to Arnisdale where we decided on a quick trip up Beinn Sgritheal.
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On the West ridge of Beinn Sgritheal
We were back at the cottage in 1990 and it was a snowy trip up the Easains.
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On Stob a'Choire Mheadoin
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He could hear a Mars bar being unwrapped from at least 200m :lol: They probably weren't very good for him but....
We also nipped up Sgurr na h-Ulaidh
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Beside the Alt na Mhuidhe with Sgurr na h- Ulaidh behind

Then it was up to Torridon where we stayed for quite a while at Rivendell a B&B in Shieldaig where he found a warm welcome. and the children took him for walks :D
We went round to Lochcarron and did Moruisg and Ceannaichen and then Choinnich and a' Chaorachain where he chased a Dotterel :( but I have no photos
ditto Beinn Eighe where he didn't much enjoy the rough quartzite
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Somewhere around Torridon
Then we decided on a E to W traverse of Liatach. There was a quite pronounced little zig-zag track up the E ridge - which had not been there on my first ascent in the early sixties. We decided not to take him over the pinnacles, but he trotted happily along the exposed little track that traversed below them.
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On Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig at the start of the ridge
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On the summit of Spidean a Choire Leith
In the spring of 1991 I can remember him leading us sedately along a knife edge snow crest somewhere in the Mamores - but I didn't have a camera :( and in the Summer we headed up to Ullapool for An Teallach - setting out in the usual clockwise direction from Corrie Hallie
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Below Sail Liath
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On the summit of Sail Liath looking towards the Corrag Bhuidh
Getting him up Corrag Bhuidh needed combined tactics. We headed round to the Left where the rocks are less continuous: I would climb a short section and pull on his lead while Audrey pushed on his behind :lol: and he would scrabble up and lie quietly on a ledge: whereupon we repeated the process. We decided to bypass Lord Berkeley's seat - I had done it on my previous ascent - but even so it was a long very hot day . We returned to the B&B in Ullapool
The next morning when we went down to the car to see how was, he lay motionless on the back seat with a sad look - just the tip of his tail wagged a fraction. He was clearly very stiff :(
" Come on Prince" said Audrey repeatedly and ever so slowly he stretched first one front leg and then the other down onto the ground all the time with this very sad look in his eyes. Audrey had bought out a big bowl of milk for him, and slowly - ever so slowly - he got first one hind leg and then the other down on to the ground. It must have taken around ten minutes in all.
However just as he was about to tuck into his bowl of milk, what should see out of the corner of his eye - walking sedately down the middle of the road, but A Large Ginger Cat..
and Whoooosh - he shot after it :lol: :lol: :lol: Well of course the cat escaped quite easily - as cats always do - and he returned after a while looking a bit sheepish. We were in hysterics :lol: :lol: :lol:
After that excitement we headed down to Lochaline and took the ferry to Mull for Ben More. From the side of Loch na Keal we headed up the wrong ridge - traversing Ben Fhada and A Chioch to get to the summit, but it was quite an easy walk - as we descended the normal route
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Somewhere on the traverse of Ben More

In 1992 we were joined at the cottage by friends Norman and Ailie and the Ring of Steall was first on the agenda. The Water of Nevis was quite low, and while we crossed the Steall bridge he just waded thru. We went anticlockwise - up initially thru steep woods to Sgurr a'Mhaim and then round the circuit in perfect weather.
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Summit photos on the Ring of Steall
Then it was up to Kinloch Hourn, walking along the delighful coastal path and camping at Barrisdale, climbing Ladhar Bheinn and returning the same way. The weather was perfect, but there was no wind the fiirst night and the midges bit his nose :(
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Looking backalong the coast path
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Camping at Barrisdale
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Just above the camp - my favourite photo of him :D
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On the ridge to Stob a'Chearcaill
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Resting somewhere on route
After the others went home we headed for Skye and took the track from near Kirkibost to Camasunary and then on to Coruisk - returning over the Druim Hain and beside Loch na Creitich.
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On the path beside Loch Scavaig
While getting him over the "bad Step" my sunglasses fell off into the loch :( :(
I could see them sitting on the gravelly bottom in the crystal clear water, so I went back, stripped off and waded in - but it was icy cold and when I got chest deep they still seemed a long way down and I decided a £20 pair of sunglasses were probably not worth the risk of a sudden heart attack :lol: :lol:
I have no real recollections of 1993, but at some point we did Ben Dubchraig and Ben Oss from Dalrigh
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On Dubchraig summit - Ben Lui behind
1994 was a busy year. We based ourselves at the cottage and did Achalladair and Beinn a'Creachain by the standard route returning by Crannach woods
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Achallader Summit looking towards Dothaidh and Dorain
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Achalladair from Beinn a'Creachain
Then it was Stob Gabhar which we did from Glen Etive by the Aonach Mor ridge
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Just below the summit
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On the return, the bridge over the River Etive was locked and we had to wade - not too difficult in June - but he became marooned on a rock and howled as usual. I had to go back for him :lol: :lol:
After that we did the circuit of Beinn Teallach and Bheinn a'Chaorain in Glean Spean
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Always wanting to be in the picture
Then it was Geal Charn from the Spey dam on the drivable part of Wade's road. The path starts out on the East side of the Markie burn which drains a large area and was quite swollen from the melting snow. Prince was always quite frightened by the loud noise of roaring white water and wasn't at all keen, but we found a place where there was a bit of a shingle bank in the centre, and I wrapped his lead several times around the top of my pole and dragged him with me :lol: :lol:
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Draining our boots beyond the Markie burn
We returned by the burn-free route to Sherramore and walked back along the road :lol:
After that it was home through Perthshire we did the traverse of Ben Lawers from Lawers on Loch Tay
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On the summit of the Stuc
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On Creag an Fhitich - looking down at Lochan nan Cat
After a night at the Weem hotel - a frequent night stop - we finished by the standard route over Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin from Ardvorlich
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On the big track up Glen Vorlich
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Looking back to Ben Vorlich from the col below Stuc a Chroin
In 1995 we met up with Norman and Ailie again to try the Mullardoch circuit but we were staying in a B&B where they had their own dogs so we decided to leave him behind :(
Then in the Autumn bad news :( :( He was having trouble swallowing and the vet discovered a malignant tumour on his tongue. He lived on for a few more weeks and we did one of our favourite walks from Windermere Ferry through Grisedale forest to the Eagle's Head at Satterthwaite and back. he trotted along as usual and sat quietly outside the pub - not as usual

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Last picture - outside the Eagle's Head
He had done around 70 Munros, been a constant joy to us and should really have had two or three more active years , but his tongue was all cracked and bleeding and he was obviously in a lot of pain, so a couple of days later he went to the vet for the last time

It was one of the worst days of my life

Footnote I don't know really where to anchor this report, but as Beinn a Bheithir was his first Munro walk I've put it there.
Last edited by past my sell by date on Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
past my sell by date
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Re: Prince - a Collie among the Munros

Postby Chris Mac » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:20 pm

Fantastic! :clap: Thanks very much for sharing I really enjoyed that, Prince sounds like my kind of dog! You have so many amazing photos of him in incredible places with amazing mountain backdrops. It's such a shame he had to leave you early but those memories will live forever and it looks like he had an absolute belter of a time with you up the hills over the years, nice one! :D
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Re: Prince - a Collie among the Munros

Postby Sgurr » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:24 pm

What a lovely report of a great companion. My father-in-law had a very similar dog, but gave him nothing like the activity enjoyed by Prince, but then he was only a Major (father-in-law had been in WW2 and always liked the idea of being able to shout at superior ranks). Major had to make do with chasing the trains in a nearby field, but always did it with great gusto. Husband got father-in-law to Skye once (minus Major) where they managed a few hills in the Red Cuillin and he told everybody proudly that "We've been climbing in the Colons."

Your pics must have been pre-digital, but have transferred beautifully. Pre digital, we were lucky to get two decent photos per hill and would have been hard pushed to produce a wonderful record like this.
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Re: Prince - a Collie among the Munros

Postby Graeme D » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:44 pm

So glad I decided not to do my school work tonight and visit the forum instead. This has made my weekend and left me with a big lump in my throat. He looked like and sounded like a grand old dog. It is almost a year now since I lost my own faithful friend Lucy and I miss her still every day, not least when I am amongst the hills where we spent many a happy day. Thank you for posting that.
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby Sunset tripper » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:12 am

What a great life Prince had. A fine tribute.
All the best.
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby rockhopper » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:43 pm

Excellent report and what a fitting tribute.
Brought a lump to my throat but good memories for you as he enjoyed it so much.
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby spiderwebb » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:52 pm

Thank you for posting such a wonderful report, and a wonderful dog. Such memories are always treasured, they simply don't live long enough, and although I knew where it would lead, it still had me welling up :( :(
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby dav2930 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:24 pm

I can only echo what others have said. A marvellous account of a faithful friend on the hills who will never be forgotten. Sad that his life was cut short in that way, but what a happy life you gave him.
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby past my sell by date » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:26 pm

Hi all
Thanks for all the replies - it's taken quite a while to assemble the photos - and to work out where they were all taken :lol: I think his face shows how much he enjoyed it all and his orange colour contrasted nicely with the grey-green of the hills :) He also seemed to know when he was supposed to sit still and pose for the camera. :lol:
Last edited by past my sell by date on Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prince - a Collie among the Munros

Postby past my sell by date » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:28 pm

Graeme D wrote:So glad I decided not to do my school work tonight and visit the forum instead. This has made my weekend and left me with a big lump in my throat. He looked like and sounded like a grand old dog. It is almost a year now since I lost my own faithful friend Lucy and I miss her still every day, not least when I am amongst the hills where we spent many a happy day. Thank you for posting that.

I did think about Lucy as I was writing this account - Some dogs are just unbelievably special :D
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby dogplodder » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:02 pm

Like Graeme that struck a chord with me as I love getting into the hills with my dog. Can't do that right now as one has retired from the hills at 14 and the other is only 6 months. But I've got my memories and photos - just as you have. 8)
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby Beaner001 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:19 pm

Lovely report there, thanks for sharing :clap:
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby Bob the Dog » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:33 am

That was such a pleasure to read, and what a beautiful boy he was. The hills are such a great place for humans, but made even better with the company of a loyal, faithful dog.
Thank you for posting, It makes me yearn to be out again.
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby tweedledog » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:46 am

That was lovely, thank you. What a splendid dog.
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Re: Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros

Postby past my sell by date » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:12 pm

Bob the Dog wrote:That was such a pleasure to read, and what a beautiful boy he was. The hills are such a great place for humans, but made even better with the company of a loyal, faithful dog.
Thank you for posting, It makes me yearn to be out again.
bob 1.jpg

Thanks Bob - your lovely collie looks as lot more intelligent. Prince was very beautiful but brains was not his strongpoint - seldom is with pedigree dogs
Audrey also needed to groom him all the time with a comb and often scissors to chop out knots of fur :lol: And after he'd been thru a conifer plantation - well it had to be seen to be believed :lol: :lol: :lol:
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