Dining from nature’s table with the Hideous Mutt

At the end of last week, myself, The Lovely Fiona and the Hideous Mutt set off for the wonderful isle of Islay on a mission, which we hope will soon come to fruition. While we were there we thought we’d take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and even fresher water.

We had decided to camp by the lovely beach at Sanaigmore – see pic above – on the island’s Atlantic coast, but before we embarked on our top secret mission we thought we ought to have a wee dip in the aforementioned ocean. There’s a very fine and sheltered bay just along the coast called Port Ghille Greamhair that’s ideal for a skinny dip.

When we arrived above the bay, a huge grey seal was lounging around in the shallows, but it swiftly buggered off when confronted by two naked middle-aged loons and their Labrador crashing into the icy waters of the bay. It was bloody freezing and I could only stand a minute before removing myself swiftly to the beach once more. Fiona and Dougal were having a whale of a time though, careening back and forth across the bay exhibiting a fine display of multifarious swimming strokes, well, breast stroke and doggy paddle anyhow. How that Labrador learned breast stroke I’ll never know.

Much invigorated, we set off on our mission, returning several hours later to set up camp. The forecast was not good, but thus far the evening was very pleasant and we cooked venison burgers on the trangia, which we washed down with a bouteille of Chateau Poop du Naff. Very pleasant. A sunset would have been nice, but as often happens, the Hebridean evening sky built itself up to an impending pyrotechnic display of oranges, reds and purples only to fizzle out in a damp, smoky grey squib.

Anyhow, here’s some teaser pics of writesofways new bomb proof tent. If you can guess the make and model, Mr Alan Sloman, there’ll be a prize in the post!

After a blissful night’s sleep, we woke early to the steady patter of rain on the fly sheet. Heavy rain was forecast for the day so, seeing as it seemed to have arrived, we decided to abandon our plans to walk out from Bunnahabhain and camp beyond Rhuvaal Lighthouse  on the north-west coast in favour of heading along the sound of Islay to the shelter of An Cladach (only the one ‘d’, James, Armin) bothy instead. Decision made, we drove off to Dunlossit. By the time we arrived, the rain had gone off. Hmm. The forecast had been bad so surely the weather would soon take another turn for the worse?

Unfortunately, the weather only seemed to improve, which was rather annoying, especially as I had waterproof trews on. Bah!

The Lovely Fiona skips elegantly across the outflow of the Abhainn Gleann Logain

Dougal was particularly enjoying the walk along the shore as it presented opportunities to roll in a very dead seal – yeuuchh! – and scoff a gannet’s head. Removing said item from Labrador’s mouth was made all the more unpleasant owing to the bird’s recent demise.

Various other body parts and poos of a variety of avia and fauna were also enjoyed by the hideous mutt before we arrived at the bothy. Once there, we got a brew on and Dougal took the opportunity to practice his thermarest surfing technique.

As the weather had continued to improve, Dougal and I went for a saunter along the shore while The Lovely Fiona stayed home and painted her toenails.

It wasn’t long before Dougal had found a sun-dried dogfish to eat, boy did he enjoy that!

The only problem being that he then walked round for the next few days going ‘hack, hack, hack’ every few minutes, presumably because of a bone stuck in his throat. That’ll learn him. Not.

During our 24-hour stay at An Cladach, we were impressed by the number of CalMac ferries steaming (so to speak) up and down the sound. Here’s the new MV Finlaggan coping admirably with that pesky incline.

The Finlaggan is registered to Glasgow, but was built in Gdansk. The Clyde shipyards were once the world’s pre-eminent shipbuilding centre…

The evening turned out lovely. So much for the doomy gloomy forecast. A pleasant evening was spent around the fire, munching further venison burgers and drinking litres of tea.

As night fell, so the wind picked up. By morning it was a very wet and windy scenario outside the bothy. Dougal was not impressed.

We eventually braved the outdoors and went for another wander along the shore, it was then that Dougal made another tasty discovery. This one was so much worse than seal, gannet or dogfish though. It really was quite bad. So much so that I was prompted to leave a note in the bothy book:

Do not poo upon the shore,

But walk 100 yards or more,

Then saunter carefully into the bog,

And leave it there,

Your morning log.

That dog will eat anything.


17 responses

  1. I started off reading this post fuming that you had called the lovely Dougal a hideous mutt. By the end I agree that he is rather revolting, no way that I would share a tent with that beast. Reuben only eats things that smell of roses.

    Ahhh, An Cladddach bothy, what a lovely spot, the nicest bothy that I have stayed in. I would be happy to have that as my own private little spot of heaven. I hope that your trip to Islay bears the fruit that you went there for.

    I have some bothy bum plans brewing at the moment……………………..

    BTW the tent looks like it could be made by the North Farce?

    • Aaarrgghh! ‘Bothy bum plans’? I’m not sure I like the sound of that. An Cladddddddach is surely a little corner of heaven, except when the previous incumbents have pooped upon the shore. Unfortunately we met them as they were walking out so I had the unpleasant experience of being able to put a face to the little specimen (so to speak).
      The tent is not a North Farce, so nul points for you Mr Boulter.

  2. Blast! How did you do that? I suspect some witchcraft afoot. Nonetheless, I’m as good as my word, so if you email me your postal address (risky I know), I’ll pop your prize in the post. Secretly, I knew that this would happen.
    The poo-eating incident occurred after the night in the tent…

    • Thank you kindly Young David. I’m actually trying to keep the mutt away from small childrens’ poo recepticals as it goes.
      I hope the cake-eating is progressing apace. I found that I started baking vast trays of blueberry muffins every morning for months after the HRP; did you lose much weight?

  3. Disgusting little tyke that dog. Pack him off to the Home for Bad Dogs immediately On the bothy pic,the one with the TLF sitting outside,there appears to be a very large skull perched upon the window ledge.Would this be the remains of aforementioned Mutts lunchtime snack perhaps ? What on earth is it ?
    I`m away to the map to see if I can figure out the top secret mission now 🙂
    Forgot to send you the rest of the pics.Do you still want them Pete ?

    • Hello Alex, the skull is a pig. It’s teeth (tusks!?) are hideous. I’d hate to fall over in a pig pen. I assume it belonged to the croft at some point.
      I’d be very grateful for those pics, Alex, the book will be better for them.

  4. Look on the bright side at least he only rolled in the seal…there’s a hairy crater only a few feet from where I’m sitting who would try to swallow the bloody thing whole!

    Look on the bright side; you shouldn’t need to take dog food with you…as long as you’re regular. (Urggghh…did I just write that 😳 )

    • I thought; ‘what could he possibly mean “as long as you’re regular”?’ Then the penny dropped. That’s really bad, Ken. I felt disgusted enough when some wild goats had excavated our al fresco latrine on Rum, but I’m not having my own dog doing it, no waaaay!

  5. I remember my late dog had a lovely habit of finding old cowpats now crusted over, breaking through the surface with his paw and then licking out the softer inside. Kind of like a doggy Milk Tray box. They truly are filthy, disgusting, loveable rogues :). Reading yours and James posts about Dougal and Reuben has me pining for canine company on my adventures again

    Enjoyed the trip report Pete, beaches on Islay look marvellous

    • Hello Andy, ‘…doggy Milk Tray box’, hmm, I see what you mean. Friend of mine had a lurcher that loved eating horse poo for which she was severely chastised. She stopped doing it eventually, but then when she found a horse poo she’d stand over it with her jaws wide open and make as if she was going to scoff the lot before running off laughing wildly. They do have a sense of humour these beasts, i’m sure of it.

      If you ever want to borrow a Labrador…

      The beaches on Islay are fantastic and there’s loads of them too.

    • Hello David, yes, the Finlaggan came sliding back down hill into Port Askaig the very next day. Dougal is actually a very lovely dog with many endearing qualities. His undiscerning appetite isn’t one of them…

  6. Hi Pete.I always used to think it strange when folk (including my aunt) let her dogs lick family faces and hands.Who knows where that tounges been five minutes before.Mine even chewed an old brillo pad as a pup and chucked pink vomit up all over the house and garden for two hours before it recovered.
    Looks a cracking bothy.

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