Christmas Group Hike

Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. On Sunday we decided to join the Walking for Pleasure Christmas Walk organised by Max Wieko. We have never hiked in a group before, so this was a new experience for us. My human is too anti-social and miserable to walk with other humans. Me, on the other paw, love being with other people and pooches. It was a local hike for us and in an area that we love. So, on this cold and foggy morning we packed the rucksack and headed off to the meeting point at Pontycyllte Aqueduct.

Setting off

Rather than pay the Β£3 parking fee in the carpark, Mr. Scrooge parked on the roadside close by. When we arrived we were greeted by a group of fellow hikers dressed for winter conditions and for Christmas. Festive attire was compulsory for the humans in the group. There were 24 two-legs along with 4 of the four-legged walkers. Max, the group leader, was adorned in the full Santa outfit. When I say full, I mean except for the huge split in his red trousers that gave a view from my level that nobody wants to see!

Santa Paws
Group photo taken by a kind passer-by on Max Wieko’s phone

Everybody was very friendly and welcoming with many of them familiar with each other from previous walks. My human recognised a few people from their on-line posts. A few were followers of mine from my blog posts. I was fussed over as they recognised me. It surprised me that they knew me. The four pooches met in our usual way. Butt sniffs and tail wags!

Across the fields

After a team photograph we set off towards the Llangollen Canal at Trevor Basin. It was still cold and damp as we walked a short distance along the side of the canal. Shortly, we headed off across fields where us pooches were allowed to run off-lead due to there being no livestock around. The humans chatted while the dogs investigated the smells in the hedgerows. Humans miss out on this because of a serious design flaw. Their heads are way too high above ground level. Evolution can be so unkind!

Some good sniffing!
Santa at the end of the tunnel
More good sniffing

After we had passed under a railway line and crossed a busy-ish road, we entered woodland on the side of a hill. The humans were busy taking photographs while the pooches took advantage of our freedom by running up and down the slopes. Hiding behind a tree was The Grinch dressed as Santa Paws. I was confused, but I didn’t bark at him because I was worried that I might scare him.

The first sighting of the Grinch
Strange human!

My human kept stopping to take photos, but what stopped us the most was the dog-unfriendly stiles that we had to master. The humans queued to climb the obstacles while us pooches were unceremoniously hauled over and passed to other humans. The pace was slow while the humans gabbed about human stuff. Us doggos spent the time more productively by picking up sticks and tree branches and chasing birds.

The Dee Valley
The dense woodland
Nearing the Sun Trevor
Decisions, decisions!

Our late morning break was supposed to be at the Sun Trevor, but we were a bit early and the pub wasn’t open. It was too cold for the delicate humans to wait around, so the decision was made to plod on. We crossed the A5 where we joined the Llangollen Canal towpath. This was very easy walking for the rest of our hike. The group was strung out by a few hundred yards as we dodged the odd cyclist on the route.

Llangollen Canal

Most of the walk was uneventful, but the views into the misty Dee Valley seemed to please my human. He pointed out Castell Dinas Bran to me in the bright sunshine behind us. One of our favourite places.

Eglwyswg escarpment in the background

On the opposite bank of the canal we saw the rare Welsh Tree Climbing Sheep as we hiked. We also saw the upside-down trees that seem to grow in these parts. If you don’t believe me have a look at the photographs that the big feller took.

The upside down trees!
Tree climbing sheep

As we walked we glimpsed a few sightings of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct hiding in the mist. It was agreed that we would have our mid-walk break at the end of our hike, at the Telford pub. The weather was nice enough to sit outside in the beer garden. It was a balmy four degrees, but sunny enough to sit awhile. My human nipped inside to buy a coffee, but came out with a pint of Guinness. I think that he has a drink problem. Only one mouth!

Inside the pub
My dad’s coffee!?
Waiting patiently for him to finish his pint
Looking back to the Telford

We stayed a while as the humans chatted before we said our farewells and wished everyone a Happy Christmas. My human said that we should go on another group walk again. I think that we both enjoyed it. It was a lovely walk with good company. Till next time!

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