To the Cairngorms and back with Debbie, Roxy and Rapha
We find out about her favourite places to take her two adorable trail dogs Roxy and Rapha in the heart of the beautiful Scottish landscape. As well as finding out how she prepares them for every adventure, no matter how big or small…
Hey Guys, meet Roxy and Rapha, my two awesome trail dogs. Roxy has transformed from the naughtiest Springer Spaniel pup into the most reliable and loving trail dog. Always the first to come and lick my face when I have a crash, she has done an amazing job of showing wild Rapha the ropes of being the best trail dog.
Rapha whose just celebrated his 1st birthday! is the crazy one in the pack who always make us laugh. In true Cocker Spaniel fashion, he gives everything 110% but has also been the easiest puppy to train.
- So Debbie, come on, you’ve ridden more places than most, where really is your favourite place to ride and why?
Thats such a hard question when we have so many amazing trails on our doorstep but I’ve got to say, one of my favourite places to ride would be anywhere in the Cairngorms. Haha, vague but its so true, I can’t give away all of its secrets but it has so much to offer from trail centers a stones throw away in Laggan to big mountain adventures in the Rothiemurchus forest and beyond with multi day bothy trips into the most beautiful Scottish scenery. There is no better place, especially when we are lucky enough to get a summer like last year.
The Cairngorms are also home to some amazing dog friendly pubs and campsites! I love nothing more than taking our camper van away on a long weekend and choosing one of our local spots to chill at after a bike ride. Roxy and Rapha get to put their Chillbreaker Coats on on and we pop into the bar for a quick drink. Then back to the van to relax with the heating on. For me, getting to put my feet up as the doggies are snoring away with a glass of wine is the perfect end to the day.
The Pinemarten Bar at Glenmore, Aviemore is a great place for aprés ride food and drink.
Scotty and Katie at the Pinemarten Bar are super friendly and love welcoming new dogs to the bar, where you can now order food in too which is awesome! They even had some doggy beer too! Why should they miss out on the fun!!! As long as your doggo doesn’t mind a few laughs and maybe a little noise, you can be sure to meet many fellow dog lovers in this place. They also have accommodation, full camping shop and Snowbadgers Ski Rental for when the winter when the doggos get to transform from trail dogs to powder hounds. They love chasing us down the slopes. Ski touring gives you a real sense of freedom and my favorite four legged friends get to come too!
Ecocamp at Glenshee offers amazing dog friendly accommodation and campervan pitches where you can meet the llamas and goats as well as their own pack of dogs. It’s a dog lovers dream.
Closer to Home, Aberdeenshire has some amazing natural trails which the dogs love. Roxy and Rapha know every trail at our local forest – Drumtochty, and I’m sure Rapha would have all the King of The Mountains if we set him up on Strava. Occasionally he will try and sneakily cut the corner to overtake you, so my cornering skills have improved tenfold over the last six months!
Talking of which, hows Raphas training coming along? His training was coming on ten fold the last time we went out riding, whats your secret?
Rapha is a fast learner and always keen to please. His recall has never been a problem, he is always by my side. I would love to take credit for this, but Roxy has done an excellent job of showing him the ropes. In the space of a few months he has learned not to put himself in the firing line of my front wheel and sits nicely off the back wheel on the descents. The only problem is, this pup is high on life so whatever jump or drop off you are going off he will be “sending it” right behind you. I am always mindful of this so slow down or avoid entirely to stop him from hurting himself. Also, having only just turned 1, I don’t let him run flat out for a long period of time. It’s important to gradually increase the time out on the trails for younger dogs. On a fast-flowy trail (such as Laggan upper red) I would always stop a couple of times on the way down. I want him to still be able to hit the trails when he is twelve.
It’s also important to think about your trail dogs needs, before and after your ride as well right?
Your dog’s health and wellbeing should be your number 1 priority, no matter how exhausted you are after an awesome day out. Before you head out, it’s really important to make sure you have everything they need to keep them hydrated, fuelled up, warm and out of danger. Here’s my kit list below that I swear by:
I have had to abandon rides before because I have forgotten something, so best to get it right to avoid disappointment. Here is my list of essentials to chuck in your rucksack. Also make sure you dog has an ID tag with contact details and is microchipped.
- 2 in 1 Bungee Lead
- Chillbreaker Coat
- Poo Bags and carrier
- Collapsible water bowl
- Doggo treats
- Food if you’re out all day
- Wuff Buff (important to look good on those trails)
Post ride give them a good wash down, you never know what they might have picked up on the trail, they always love a good rubdown with a Trail Towel. In the summer they inevitably will have picked up some tics so have a good check over them and remove with a tic remover.
Check their paws. These can easily become sore especially if you have been riding on gravel trails. You can use a paw wax to build up protection beforehand. Ive heard through the grapevine Bark + Ride are launching there very own Paw & Nose Balm next month! I can’t wait to use it!
And lastly, any further words you’d like to say to our Bark + Ride community?
I think this quote sums up how we all feel about our love for trail dogs perfectly…
“Dogs motivate us to play, be affectionate, seek adventure and be loyal” Tom Hayden
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