Grizedale Forest, Lake District, UK
It may sound mad, but my favourite times to visit the Lake District is either in Winter or set out before sunrise. A great day on the hills includes rain, downpours, layers of goretex.
Sure, bright sunny days are spectacular, however they're always incredibly busy and queuing to ascend a peak is not particularly fun.
So, we arrived in Grizedale Forest just before sunrise.
The forest visitors centre and car park completely empty.
Eerily quiet except for the occasional birdsong and 'baa' from the sheep nearby.
Aura leapt out the car, sniffing her way around while Andrew and Apollo geared up.
The plan was for me to take Aura on a quick walk and the guys would race around a black trail in the forest while it was quiet.
As we wished them luck Aura and I double checked the coffee shop opening times... no such luck, without coffee we ambled through the woods on one of the Forestry Commissions managed tracks.
The woods were peaceful, quiet, with the silence broken every now and then by a blackbirds song or rustle of a squirrel.
After about an hour on the trail an echo of Andy's voice reverberated on the hills - "Good Boy!!" he shouted. I couldn't make out the distance, whether he was on an opposite peak across the valley or around the corner.
Aura and I backtracked our steps.
As a fantastic hunting dog she stopped in her tracks and sniffed the air.
About ten minutes had passed since we heard the shout.
Then, certain of the scent, she bolted around the kink in the track, followed by her notorious barks of happiness.
Seconds later they raced around the corner...
Apollo feeling the adrenaline of a great ride and Aura utterly elated to have found the rest of her pack!
^ that little happy face gets me every time!
Panting and happy, they wound their way down to the little stream to cool off and rehydrate.
Utterly happy pups and two humans in need of a coffee...
Ahh Grizedale, you get me every time... better change those search parameters on Rightmove, perhaps we could make this a regular thing?