What a let down

Today I noticed that Lenny seemed to be eager to get out and about on his walk. Its strange as he is usually somewhat hesitant about getting his harness and double leads clamped around his person in the morning. It’s something to do with feeling restricted and uncomfortable in his harness. Apparently it’s for his own safety and so he doesn’t run off “like an idiot”. Yesterday he went to Knepp and saw some big deer and he was keen to see them again. Dad took his camera in the hope of getting a decent picture, instead of the grainy images we have become used to.

Off they set along the road and down the lane, whilst mum and I went in the opposite direction for a few miles of sniffing squirrels and rabbits. Lenny said the scent was high as they strolled along the lane, past the stables and the farms and then across the little bridge over the river. Turn right into the farm yard, say hello to the horses in their stables and then the fun was to commence. Dad told him to shush as they didn’t want to frighten the deer although he seemed to have forgotten that he was wearing a bright yellow jacket so the drivers could see him and Lenny as they walked along the road. In any case, they ventured through the big gate, along the stony track and turned left onto the bridleway. The scent was still high as Lenny pulled this way and that, with dad trying to keep as quiet as possible. With his hand poised on the camera they trod carefully, scanning side to side for signs of deer. They went along the track to the lookout landing which people use to have a hidden view of the wildfowl on the little lake. Nothing, not a sausage, was seen so they decided to retrace their steps back to the farmyard. As they exited the big gate they looked at the sign which had been pinned up after Lenny and dad had gone adventuring which said “Keep to the paths, Deer cull in operation”. That would explain why they deer weren’t coming out to play this morning. Sadly they plodded back along the road and after a seven mile walk returned home downcast.

I tried not to laugh at their misfortune but it was difficult. There was only one thing left to do, sun puddle and sleep off our exertions. Oh well, maybe another day.

Oh deer, what is that scent?

Boing boing boing arooo. Hurry up and get out of bed. Its Bank Holiday Monday and we need to do something instead of having a well deserved lie in. Lenny delivered the wonderfully precise kidney pounce on dad and, suddenly, the morning tea was being made albeit with way too much grumbling about “we should have got Labradors or poodles”.

The spit spot of rain on the windows didn’t dampen our ardour for going on a long walk to dexplore more of the local area. Where would we go today? No one had a clue but we were on our paws and ready. Out of the house and turn left at the end of the road. Up the lane and along the footpath, turning right at the far end and back onto another lane. We know this lane as its part of our regular walks so we can pull and jerk in all the wrong places to get to the scents which lie in the periphery of the drainage ditches and edge of the woods on either side. Just past the stables we saw the squirrels run for cover as we approached. At this point Lenny decided to see a rabbit which caused mum to grumble about her arm being pulled out of its socket. Down the lane and across the brook we went, Lenny and I having a rare old time. Then we stopped in the road and expected to hear that we were turning around to head back home. This was standard practice but something seemed different today. It was decided for us that we would walk a little way down a bridle path which led off one side of the lane. As soon as we got through the gate, my nose was filled with a strange and wondrous scent and I tried desperately to break free from my shackles. It was deer and squirrels all mixed with the heady scent of rabbits. Also there was a scent I wasn’t quite sure of at the time but it would become apparent in a very short time. We strolled along the wide path and came to a tall gate which spanned the width of the path.

This is going to be fun. For us.

Welcome to the Knepp Wildland, part of the Knepp Castle Estate, it read. Please keep your dogs under control and on a lead, it continued. Deer, pigs and various cows roam free within the grounds. Oh my, oh wow it felt as if we had just stumbled upon a veritable playground for Beagles. Within a millisecond my path to fun and frivolity was blocked by dad who told me to sit. I was instructed to behave, walk nicely and not to bay at any animals that we may encounter. You’ve got no chance I thought. I looked at Lenny and he was clearly getting a similar sermon from mum and was thinking the same as me. Our leads and harnesses were checked and double checked to make sure we were (more than) adequately shackled. This was unfair. As soon as we were told to walk on we pulled and jerked on our respective leads so much so that dad thinks he’s invented a new pastime of beagle wrangling. The scents were everywhere. All we had to do was see a deer and our morning walk would be complete. We saw some rather large cows away in a meadow but we really needed to see deer. We could smell them but it seemed they weren’t happy to come and play. As we walked further into the estate the scents kept on coming and we kept on enjoying ourselves more and more.

The smell of the pigs was there, a little faint but definitely around. Ok, that’s enough decided dad as we stopped at the gate which led through to the next field. This was yet another decision taken on our behalf and without consultation with either myself or Lenny. So it was that we were turned around and began the long, slow and very much beagle brake applied walk back to the lane for the doleful return home. I would add though that Lenny and I did make the return journey with silly grins on our faces.

When we arrived home we were subjected to the ritual wiping of paws and it was as much as we could do to bay loudly for our second breakfast. We had earned it, that’s for sure. Then we were off to rest and reinvigorate our weary bones and brains. Six miles of scent and sights were clearly enough for us today.

Is another trip to Knepp on the cards? Oh I hope so as it was so much fun.