Prince - a Collie amongst the Munros
by 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: 12/06/198618 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
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
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 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.
A wintery outing above Wrynose pass
Top of Crinkle Crags
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
Cottage at Tigh phuirt
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 . We traversed both peaks and found a way down thru the woods into the Glean a'Chaolais
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.
Somewhere on the Beinn Dearg group
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.
On the West ridge of Beinn Sgritheal
We were back at the cottage in 1990 and it was a snowy trip up the Easains.
On Stob a'Choire Mheadoin
He could hear a Mars bar being unwrapped from at least 200m They probably weren't very good for him but....
We also nipped up Sgurr na h-Ulaidh
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
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
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.
On Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig at the start of the ridge
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
Below Sail Liath
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 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 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
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
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.
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
Looking backalong the coast path
Camping at Barrisdale
Just above the camp - my favourite photo of him
On the ridge to Stob a'Chearcaill
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.
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
I have no real recollections of 1993, but at some point we did Ben Dubchraig and Ben Oss from Dalrigh
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
Achallader Summit looking towards Dothaidh and Dorain
Achalladair from Beinn a'Creachain
Then it was Stob Gabhar which we did from Glen Etive by the Aonach Mor ridge
Just below the summit
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
After that we did the circuit of Beinn Teallach and Bheinn a'Chaorain in Glean Spean
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
Draining our boots beyond the Markie burn
We returned by the burn-free route to Sherramore and walked back along the road
After that it was home through Perthshire we did the traverse of Ben Lawers from Lawers on Loch Tay
On the summit of the Stuc
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
On the big track up Glen Vorlich
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
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.
by Chris Mac » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:20 pm
by Sgurr » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:24 pm
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.
by Graeme D » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:44 pm
by Sunset tripper » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:12 am
All the best.
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- Joined: Nov 3, 2013
- Location: Inverness
by rockhopper » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:43 pm
Brought a lump to my throat but good memories for you as he enjoyed it so much.
by spiderwebb » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:52 pm
by dav2930 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:24 pm
by past my sell by date » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:26 pm
Thanks for all the replies - it's taken quite a while to assemble the photos - and to work out where they were all taken 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.
by 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
by dogplodder » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:02 pm
by Beaner001 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:19 pm
by Bob the Dog » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:33 am
Thank you for posting, It makes me yearn to be out again.
by tweedledog » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:46 am
- Mountain Walker
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- Location: Argyll
by 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 And after he'd been thru a conifer plantation - well it had to be seen to be believed