One thousand dog days
Tia is a Boffie – A BOrder collie/StaFFIE cross. She may be 10, but she can still run for Yorkshire. I can’t go that fast, but we still have to cover a lot of ground on daily walks to do her energy justice. Fortunately in East Cleveland we have plenty of wonderful places to go.
Our steep-sided wooded valleys were once worked for coppicing, but that stopped in the last century. Now they are Semi-natural ancient woodland (SNAW), with two areas each end of our village in the care of The Woodland Trust, and which I warden. Hagg wood and Cow close wood are local treasures.
But as we walk, I’m aware that the rough terrain, and slippery Yorkshire clay, are perhaps a bit dodgy for someone whose seven decades mean i’m not as nimble as I once was. And if I were to fall and break something, who would know where to find me? There’s no mobile phone signal here.
So I invested in a GPS tracker with an emergency button – open the flap, press the button, and soon an international monitoring station will have pinpointed me, and started a text conversation to get help. I have to pay a monthly sub, but it’s worth it for safety and peace of mind.
So far it’s never been needed. But there’s another benefit that I make daily use of – a built in tracker. Before each walk I set it going and when I get back there’s a map trail, and details of the distance walked and the time taken – I put it into a spreadsheet and on Easter Saturday we completed one thousand days. And what have we learned?
Well, in that time we’ve walked 2173.8 miles in 655.4 hours! Our daily average is 2.17 miles and we walk at an average speed of 3.3mph. Well at least I do… Tia flies about, schnuffling in the undergrowth, sometimes on ahead, sometimes lagging behind for a particularly interesting schnuff. Her mileage must be twice mine. I can’t believe the distance – when friends we know in walking clubs say they’re setting off for a 12 miler I think ‘i’d never get that far’ But then they only do that once a week – Tia and I do more, but a little and often.
And will there be another thousand days? I sincerely hope so… although in 2 3/4 years she’ll be in her mid-90’s (in dog years) and i’ll be pushing 80. But our Trust woods (and the tracker) will keep calling us to keep each other young.