Zebby goes camping

Due to calving and other commitments Ash and I had one chance to get away and go camping this summer, so despite having a young puppy we thought we may as well get him used to it now and get away for a weekend. I found a lovely, remote looking site called Stable Fell Campsite in the Yorkshire Dales and we set off on the Friday morning for the 3 hour journey.

Zebby travelled amazingly! He’s been getting used to being in the car and in his crate, so after a good hours mooch around the garden with Guinness he was ready for a sleep and was either crashed out or just chilling the whole way there, with one stop along the way.

We arrived at the site and pitched up. Being tethered on a lead was very new for Zebby but he soon got the hang of it and I used his harness to ensure he didn’t strain his neck. He thought that Guinness being on a lead was a great opportunity for tug-of-war so I ended up moving them so that they couldn’t reach each other.

The campsite was getting quite busy at this point and Zebby was soon ooo-ing and aww-ing people walking past, many of whome couldn’t resist stopping to say hello. He took it all in his stride and his confidence with strangers grew quickly. He was also quite happy to lie on his bed with a chew or toy and watch the kids playing football and frisbee while people and dogs walked past. 

One of the great things about the campsite was they provided everyone with a firepit, although you could only use wood sold by the site, so we spent the evening relaxing by the fire, just like on scout camp. Thanks to the crate training I’ve done at home Zebby was quite content to settle in his crate with a blanket over it. It didn’t matter that we were in a tent, his crate was the same.

The next day we had a relaxing morning then headed out to the local town of Hawes. Hawes is lovely! I’d recommend anyone who is staying in the area to visit. It’s quite a busy town, clearly attracts the tourists, but for good reason as there’s a handful of quaint little shops, the Dales Countryside Museum and the pièce de résistance, the Wensleydale Creamery! We parked at one end of town and walked through to the creamery, Zebby once again impressing me with how confident he took to the hustle and bustle of town, both being on the floor walking and being carried.

Ash and I tend to avoid indoor attractions when we have the dogs as you have to take turns, but the creamery was not to be missed out. There is an outside seating areas by the cafe (which we only found out after I had been round, during which Ash had been sat on a bench by the front door instead) and luckily the weather was okay for us so I enjoyed a nice latte while Ash took his turn.

The experience starts off with a museum section of old milking and cheese making tools and looks at the farming lifestyle back in the day. It was really fascinating to see how it has changed over the years, especially as Ash has only recently started farming so stepped straight in to the 21st century way of doing things.

As you go through the creamery it talks about the history of Wensleydale cheese and information on how cheese is made. There is also a viewing window in to the factory where you can see it being made, but unfortunately there was no cheese in production when we visited (I think because it was a Saturday). You can pay slightly extra to see a cheese making demonstration but it was 40 minutes long so we gave it a miss.

In the shop you can go round and sample all of the different cheeses, and there are A LOT! This was my favourite part, so much cheese. Then there is a nice gift shop, a cafe as mentioned above plus a restaurant.

Afterwards we headed back through Hawes, stopping for fish and chips along the way, then finished off the evening at the campsite with another fire.

On Sunday we went out and about to explore, firstly visiting Hawdraw Force, an impressive, high waterfall that thunders down into a pool below! You have to pay to access the waterfall as it is on private property, but it doesn’t cost much and the dogs had fun playing in a shallow stream down from the fall.

Then we drove through Bainbridge and Askrigg before stopping at Aysgarth. We parked on a car park signed for Aysgarth Falls and took the shorter walk through the churchyard with the river on our left. We were able to get down to the waterfalls for one section but it looks like there would have been better views and access along the way if we had crossed the river first. Still it was a lovely walk and a stunning sight to see.

As it was our final evening away and the forecast was rain all evening we decided to treat ourselves to tea at Aysgarth Falls Hotel. We got lucky as only had a 15 minute wait for food whereas the couple who came in after us were told it would be over an hour for them to get a table. It was absolutely divine! Quite expensive but really nice, posh, yummy food. We sat in the bar area which was a nice comfortable, country pub atmosphere and it was a really enjoyable, relaxing evening.

Monday was my birthday, which was one of the reasons we had come for a long weekend as I had booked the day off anyway, and we packed up and stopped at Kendal on the way home. Kendal was a strange town, not very pretty or with much to do, although we didn’t go to the castle as it was a bit far so it looks like the castle gardens would have been nice. We found a lovely little chocolate shop where I chose some kendal mint cake, and after a mooch around we headed for home.

Zebby was absolutely fantastic for the whole weekend and I actually think he really benefited from it. I’ve been trying to balance his socialisation carefully as I wanted to be sure we had fun together and built a relationship before taking him out to experience more and more things, but then it’s also important for him to go out and get used to things while young. This was therefore the right timing for him to start seeing the world and camping was the perfect introduction, as we were outside, in the countryside, having a quiet, relaxing time but there was plenty of people for him to see and meet, plus we did small walks in different environments. 

Thanks to the amazing start in life he really took it all in his stride and wasn’t phased by anything. He saw motorbikes, cars, bikes, cows, pigeons, old people, young people, other dogs, went in to a river, walked through a town, sat by a campfire, learnt how to settle outside on a lead, and generally just had a lovely, positive time.

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