Over the week between Christmas and New year, I had a chance to drive to Devon to visit my family who live there.
I very rarely go anywhere without a dog with me, especially on a long journey from Essex to Devon, I need a wing man. Usually it is Rocky my Yorkshire terrier, who is with me most days.
This time the car journey was no different, I packed my little case for the few days away, then packed Rocky's too. He had his food, treats, a toy, blanket, jumpers and coats, lead & of course a ball!
Due to work, we set off rather late, at about 9pm, this often helps as the daytime traffic has long gone and it's just the late lorries and a lot less traffic on the roads.
Rocky sat on his comfy bed next to me, harnessed in and excited to be on another road trip (he loves the car).
The journey was, as predicted, a nice quiet drive and I only stopped once at Leigh Delamere services for a much needed coffee and wee break for Rocky. Leigh Delamere is okay as a services, but I prefer Gordano, I would only stop at Heston for fuel!! (sorry- Gavin and Stacey joke!)
At 2am we pulled up outside my family's home "The white house", sneaked in and went to bed to wake up fresh for the next day.
After being spoilt with a nice vegetarian bacon roll and hot cup of tea we decided to go to the beach for a dog walk.
We drove the short drive to Paignton beach, parked where the locals park and all got out of the car. There was my sister Jackie, her husband Geoff, their dogs Luna, a beautiful elegant whippet, fawn coloured with darker patches & their 2 Italian greyhounds, Misty & Cosmo.
Misty is a 9 year old girl, so gentle and fun loving, Cosmo is a 2 year old blue coloured IG with some anxiety issues, but is a gorgeous looking dog who gets a lot of attention from passersby.
We made our way down the cobbled steps that led to the beach and rock pools with shallow clear water & small creatures waiting for the tide to come so they could move on to a new location. Children had buckets as they collected shell and creatures to study.
It was a beautiful sunny December day, the sun hitting the sea and making the sand sparkle, as the beach stretched out I could see this was a perfect winter dog walking location.
There were hundreds of dogs all having fun, some rushing into the cold shallow sea to fetch their ball or frisbee, some running up to everyone they could to say hello. The thing that struck me was there was hardly any barking and no aggression at all, these dogs were having such a social time, they were loving life!
My Rocky now 11 years old meandered along the beach often falling behind as he introduced himself to others, I could imagine him saying "Hello mate, I'm Rocky from Essex!"
He likes to savour the moment and took in the fresh Devon breeze as well as meeting every breed you can imagine. The funniest moment was when he encountered a "family" of Jack Russell terriers, the mum was there with about six of her puppies, about 8 weeks old. The owners were herding them along and keeping them as a pack as they tried to play with all the dogs around them. Rocky went over to say hi, before he knew it, all 6 pups had latched onto him, he was surrounded. He moved and they followed, some of them jumping on him and playing. In the end I went in and rescued him from all the love he was receiving!
We walked for the best part of an hour over the few miles of beach, the sun still bright and with a winter chill in the air. Horses galloped past us enjoying the shoreline. The beach got quieter as we moved on and my sisters dogs preferred this as they could relax more and play.
On my podcast "dogs", Youtube channel "Walking Tall.pets" and Instagram "walkingtall.pets"
I have shared some video and photos of this day.
It is a wonderful time of year to head to the coast with our dogs as it's a quieter time to visit and there are cheaper offers on pet friendly hotels, AirBnB or cottages. The beaches are fully open to dog walking during winter & as there are a lot less tourists, the roads are clearer to explore the area and all it has to offer.
Most places are dog friendly and I even took Rocky to church on Sunday. The church "St Mags" in Torquay welcomes well behaved dogs to the service. Rocky laid down on the pew next to me and stood up only when everyone did to sing a worship song! He loved it.
This isn't just Devon it's all around our coastline. A perfect weekend get away, just take warm clothes!
I'm going to the Jurassic coastline soon so I will share my experience of it.
Until next time...