Why do you think British people are so mad about dogs?
I think in general the English are well known as animal lovers. Dogs are great company and make ideal walking partners. A companion for support and loyalty.
Convince me in one sentence why Springer Spaniels are the king of dogs.
Love, loyalty and laughter. They are the full package, once you’ve owned one nothing compares.
Do you ever walk without dogs?
My dogs are with me every day, if they can’t go, I don’t go. Dogs are social creatures and crave human company. We are so lucky that more and more cafes, pubs, hotels etc are dog friendly. They are family and love a holiday too!
Do you have a different walk for different moods?
To me any walk is a good walk. The Lake District offers diverse and varying terrain, low level walks can relax the mind within minutes and still deliver stunning views. More challenging walks will make the heart beat faster and give you a massive adrenalin rush.
Where do you go if you want to be alone with the dogs?
The area around the back of Skiddaw, Mungrisdale is a great place to get out on your own. More gentle moorland terrain and hardly anyone there. It is a great place to explore.
How about if you want to tire them out?
Luckily a Spaniel will manage that himself! We recently measured Paddy’s activity with a GPS tracker fitted to his collar, I had one attached to my rucksack. I did just over 8.9 miles. Paddy did 24.9miles. His top speed was 27.9 mph, mine was a lot slower.
If you are short on time?
Great Mell Fell is a cracking walk and again off the beaten track so fairly quiet. Take a flask (the hotel can lend you one) and a butty and sit on top. It’s great.
Some of the smaller hills offer amazing views for the least effort. Latrigg or Castlehead at Keswick are short walks but stunning vistas.
You have to be prepared for all types of livestock appearing anywhere. Our local sheep, Herdwicks have a licence to roam and do so. Cattle and ponies are often around, so have a good lead and use common sense.
Tell us about Max’s birthday walk.
We hold charity walks for all our dogs’ birthdays, it’s a great way to celebrate whilst raising money for charities. Max will be 12 in August, his family-friendly walk with great accessibility is around two miles with lots of swimming in Derwentwater. We start and finish at the Pencil Museum, we even have a doggy buffet with sausage rolls and loads of treats for the dogs. We also have a small buffet for humans. This year it’s in aid of the PDSA (People’s dispensary for small animals) we’ll have a raffle with some amazing prizes! 200 humans, and around 150 dogs. What’s not to love! Why not join us by signing up here?
How do you prepare to take three dogs out?
Easy, they are really well-behaved dogs. They have plenty of exercise, have boundaries and know what’s going on and how to behave. Having three dogs is just as tying as one.
Pet peeves/dog etiquette advice on a walk in the Lakes?
The thing I dread to hear is “Don’t worry he’s just playing”. This as an Alsatian is bounding towards you barking and growling. Just don’t let them do it. Also, extending leads, there’s no place for them in busy places and cause many a trip up.
But the main thing is if your heading to the Lakes, let your dog go to the toilet out of town, don’t bring them into a busy market place without walking them first, it’ll save you a load of embarrassment and a load to pick up!
Finally, any insider tips?
Hey you’re in the Lakes; it’s going to rain. Be prepared to get wet, muddy and fresh-air-tired. You’ll meet the same like-minded people, smile and say hello!