Welcome to The OBay Shelties blog! Our blog is an honest diary of our life with our dogs along with news from Obay shelties around the world.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Corrour to Rannoch Walk Scotland 2009

Dennis found this Corrour To Rannoch walk listed in The Sunday Times a few months ago and decided we should do it when we were up in Scotland. It turned out to be fairly local to our cottage so we picked a non-rainy day to try it out.

The walk consists of a train trip up one station from Rannoch station to Corrour station. You leave Corrour station and walk back through Rannoch Moor to get back to the first train station.The first train station "Rannoch" is quite pretty and it turns out it was used in the latest Harry Potter movie for some scenes. I am not sure which ones as I do not watch Harry Potter, but there you go! The lady at the cafe said they would be filming there again next month for the next film. We had a snack at the cafe while waiting for the train to Corrour.

Corrour Station sits at 1,350 feet the highest station in the British Isles. There is no road in or out of the station making it the most remote train station in the UK. It also had some significance in the cult movie "Trainspotting" but really do not know as I have not seen that either! So two train stations with movie references and I have not seen either one. Anyway,there were only 4 of us who got off at this station (Dennis and I and the german couple) and when the train pulled away...WOW.. it was really remote! We were surrounded by moors and hills and silence.

The day before, after mentioning the walk to our hosts at the cottage, they said maybe we should to do a shorter walk about Loch Ossian and then get the train back instead of the walk from Corrour to Rannoch. When we got up in the morning we had pretty much decided to do as they suggested. That was until we got to the train station and found that the next train back was in 6 hours. The walk around the Loch wouldn't take longer than 2-3 hours so we would have to kill 3 hours waiting for the train and there is NOTHING to do at Corrour station.

Then we talked with a German couple who were doing the Corrour to Rannoch walk and I think they talked us into it or maybe they shamed us into thinking we were being lazy! Either way we opted for the longer walk. At least since they got off the train with us we were able to get a photo of Dennis and me together for once! We did not take Zen on this walk because I did not want to have to deal with THREE dogs on the train.

The fact that there was a Loch Ossian youth hostel at the Loch made me think that there would be something around to kill some time....haha....can you actually find the hostel in this photo?

This is Loch Ossian. It was another stunning Loch. There were quite a few points during our 12 mile walk that I wondered why we did not just walk around it!

We made the decision to do the 18 km walk back down to Rannoch Station instead of the shorter walk around the Loch. I am now glad we did it but there were points along the walk that I thought OMG what the hell have we done?! The German couple started out ahead of us and seemed to get so far ahead. We were slowed down by me (slow walker), Dennis (taking photos) and the pups having trouble crossing streams. There had been alot of rain previously so the water was running fast in spots and the going was tough with loads of slippery mud! I kept thinking "please don't let me sprain something before the World Champs! Priorities you know? haha

Here at the start of the walk. Can you find the Germans already miles ahead? Luckily she was wearing red and we could spot them along the moors at certain spots. Eventually we needed the binoculars to find them in the distance; it became a game of "spot the german lady in red" for most of the walk until they got too far ahead to see anymore. They must have completed the walk in 5 hours while it took us 7 hours!

Just another stream and waterfall to cross with two pups and trying not to have the water go over the top of the boots! Zaz and Itzy actually got pretty brave about crossing these streams and bogs but I worried about them getting caught between rocks while jumping across.

This was one of the first markers along the walk. A sad tribute to a young man who died at Loch Ossian. After that there was no real markers other than the view of the Germans miles ahead of us over the moors! At some points during the walk I was loudly cursing those German walkers for getting us on this walk!

Some photos to show the huge expanse and loneliness and loveliness of Rannoch Moor.

More water.

Another landmark during the walk. A ruin of an old Scottish hunting lodge. We stopped there to have our "lunch" which were yummy scones that I luckily picked up at Rannoch Train Station. Meanwhile those Germans never stopped walking! I do like my luxuries like scones and jam eaten while sitting on a rock on a moor.

Other than Peters stone and the hunting lodge it was just a matter of keeping to the wet boggy "track" which at times was hard to see. Some of the walking guides said "stick to the path as the water logged moor is rumoured to swallow people whole!" And then I started thinking about "American Werewolf In London" movie where they say "stay off the moors at night"! I can scare myself very easily without help from anyone!

Luckily we emerged from the walk onto the road and were very happy until we realized we still had another 1.5 miles to walk along the road. 7 hours after we set out and that last mile was the hardest!

We got back to the cottage tired but happy we completed the walk. I stopped cursing the Germans and was proud that I made it through the entire walk. I was also so proud of the pups for their first time on a train and their first really long walk. All in all a good day!

Scotland 2009

We are back from our trip to Scotland. We rented a dog-friendly cottage in Perthshire and took Zen, Zaz and Itzy up with us. The two oldies (Pax and Jordan) stayed home with our wonderful pet-sitter as we knew we would be doing too much walking for them.

Our cottage was, as the Scottish say, "wee"! But it was so cute and the owner made the cottage very dog friendly and even provided dog beds, towels and bowls if needed.

The dogs had freedom inside and outside the cottage as well as a fantastic field of 500 acres behind the cottage that was filled with heather, boulders, streams and sheep! It was unbelievably beautiful.

This is a view looking down on the cottage and main house from the hill behind the house. Don't you love that view?

The owners were fantastic gardeners. What photo opportunities! Zaz and Itzy were so good about posing for photos; it is as if they just grew up overnight.

The only drawback was the cottage was originally limited to 2 dogs but she allowed 3 shelties (as they are perfect aren't they?) and also had an indoor/outdoor kennel available if you needed during the day. There was a lovely fireplace which we lit every night after our long walks through the Scottish countryside. It was so relaxing to sit by the fire and read a book. There was no Internet (sad but good!) and a small TV but no satellite.

I don't understand how people can go on a holiday without the dogs. What is the point of taking photos without a dog in it? Dennis went crazy with his camera and we have so many fantastic photos of the dogs. Dogs on the rocks, dogs by the waterfalls, dogs by the Loch, dogs by the sheep, up a hill, in the heather, by the fire....yes we are crazy but in my mind what good is a view without a dog in the background.

More later!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

KC International Agility Festival 2009

I don't know why it surprises me each year when I am so tired after the KC festival! It is such a big show at nearly 20 rings and 2,600 dogs from 24 different countries. The walking seemed never ending! We had a lovely camping spot and this year all the camping was much closer than the previous years but it still took ages to get back and forth to the rings.

The grounds were lovely. They were at a stately home called Kelmarsh Hall. I thought it was great but wondered how the bride and groom who got married there on the Saturday felt! I personally would think it would be great to get married at a stately home with the worlds largest agility show in the background but I am not sure most normal people would be as happy.

We got there on Wednesday to help check in campers for Thursday. It was nice to get there early and just enjoy the scenery and the lovely grounds.

Of course the peace soon ended and the riff-raff started showing up and 24 hours later it looked like this!

Results-wise we had a good weekend. On Friday was the all-important Olympia Semi-final. We needed a top 10 place out of 40 dogs to qualify for Olympia 2009 and I knew it wouldn't be easy with all the border collies who were running. The course was pretty straight forward which is not usually good for us. We got lucky that alot of dogs had difficulty at the dogwalk-jump-long jump combination. Due to a tricky sequence before the weaves it was advantageous to be further down the line after the long jump. Because of this, handlers were leaving their dogs to complete the long jump on their own and so many dogs sliced the long jump and incurred a refusal.They then incurred an elimination once they continued on to the next obstacle.

Here is Zen's run which was going FAB until we sort of forgot there was that last obstacle! haha. I have had to work very hard with Zen to get her to go on after the last jump and for once she does it...but it was not the last jump! She was practically out of the ring! Bless her!

Karen and Todd also ran in their first Olympia semi-final and also qualified for Olympia 2009! Yeah for little Todd! (OBay One Helluva Charmer)

The rest of the weekend was good for Zen and I. Zen won the British Open which qualifies her to run for England at Crufts. She was part of the England 1 team along with Alan and Jude and Adam and Zoom and we won the Medium Nations Cup! I enjoyed running the British open and nations cup courses as they were set by the international judges. Good practice for the World Champs! Thanks to Alan and Adam for being good team-mates.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some European Open 2009 photos

While at the KC Festival this weekend I recieved 2 CDs of photos from the EO! Thanks to Nick Josty and Martin Cavill. I have been looking through them and laughing at some of them but sadly cannot post all of them! So here are a few that I liked.

Why are Zen and Indy jumping and barking like fools?!

Because a large funny looking man is throwing a big inflatable british hammer around and taunting them! Uhhhh ooooops unfortunately a slight deflation of british hammer occurred...

I liked the finger pointy split leg action on this one.

Ahhh cute team-mates.

OUCH! This obstacle is so hard for the british dogs because our tyres don't have frames.

Yeah I know I should be following through on the last jump but at that angle I could just afford to be HAPPY!

Just because she is beautiful!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

European Open Part 2 and UKA national week

The EO went so well I almost have nothing to blog about! Saturday was just great for me with Zen doing so well in the finals. Sunday was good but the scoring for the teams is really strange. It is nothing like the scoring for the World Champs so you really don't know who is in the lead until it is all over. It does not make it very exciting. Our medium team did well but a few errors and we did not get the 6 clears that we needed. The small team got 6 good clears and only placed 6th overall as they combine small and medium teams for placements. Kinda strange.

The trip home was smooth and uneventful which is the perfect trip home! We went directly to the UKA week long agilty show which was fun but it rained of course. Very dramatic rain which caused some flooding and moving of tents and caravans at night. Thank goodness our spot stayed dry and we did not have to move.

The UKA week was necessary for us to try-out for the IFCS World Championships next year. The try out process is confusing but so far it looks good that we will be on the team. During the week there were 3 rounds of their "Finals" and Zen got through to the last round and ended up in 2nd behind a border collie that is not trying out (heights are different for IFCS and the cut-off is 16" which cuts out most border collies). So her 2nd place gave her the most points for the dogs trying out and this should give us a spot on the team as long as our metres per seconds are competitive.

Zen was really tired after the EO. We are spending alot of our time over this next month getting her fitter for the World Champs. Her bounce back from this last litter of pups was slower than the previous.

This is what the dogs looked like after the EO.

We are off today for the KC International Festival. It is massive again this year with something like 20 rings of agility. Our medium Olympia semi-final is on Friday, so fingers crossed for both Zen and Todd to be at Olympia this year!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

OBay One Step Beyond "Vinnie"

Introducing: OBAY ONE STEP BEYOND "Vinnie"

Vinnie went to his new home on Friday. He was such a little character; a typical singleton puppy with a temper to match. Spoiled maybe? ha!

He spent a few days with Dennis at work while I was at the EO. Vinnie got lots of exposure in the office meeting people and getting used to new surroundings. Then Dennis took him along with the other dogs in the caravan to the UKA show. There he spent a few days learning to sleep in his crate alone and how to act in the caravan garden. I could not believe how much he changed in the few days I was gone. He turned into a proper puppy with attitude. I spent the last few days teaching him clicker tricks such as spin right, continued his shake paw and sit as well as increasing his tuggy playtimes.

Right before I left for the EO we had Johanna come visit for 2 days. She was over for a heelwork to music/freestyle competition and she also came to pick up Luna. How convenient for me! She spend two days getting to know Vinnie and used her sooper- dooper chicken clicker skills to teach him shake paw. When I left for the EO on Thursday morning Johanna convinced Dennis that the two of them could get a photo of Luna and Vinnie together. I think they were a little too ambitious and did not know the extent of the Vinnie personality!

Luna is a gorgeous girl even post puppy!

But you may wonder why Luna looks so miserable next to her angelic son?

Here is why....

Yet Vinnie knows to who to avoid! (Zaz)

And who to love! (Itzy)

So all is quiet now at the OBay camp. No puppies for another year and Luna gets to play "show dog" with Johanna in Denmark. I cannot wait to hear about Luna's adventures this year and know that she will shine. Vinnie has gone to an agilty home and I will get to see him at the shows. We wish Lyn the best of luck with Vinnie and hope that he is everything she hoped for and more.