After multiple times postponing our Aviemore holiday due to Covid and lockdowns we finally got to Aviemore!
Before we set off we took part in a night race at one of our favourite venues at Moors Valley, which is just an hours drive from home. This would be Zinny's first race back after mama duties and the first. time she has run competitively with the flups and solid boy Mars joined them, was also an opportunity to get the puppies used to a race environment. We mix our training up with hardpacked trails in the forest and lovely grassy trails of the Plain but the trail at Moors Valley was a little rougher than we are used to, due to forestry work and the lack of rain we have had. It was clear that Magpie did not like the surface so we kept the brakes on all the way round, and broke the cudos race rig in the process as the dogs did not want to slow down, the brushbow was hanging off so that's a welding job for the off season! The team took a respectable second place from eleven times but we will definitely rethink racing that trail again. Our malamute friend John Binding took Kara Muffin and Pickle out in the two dog (booted) and came first place pure bred siberian husky team in the class. Zips first race experience too and they had a lovely time meeting new people and getting used to the noises and excitement of other dog teams. Good dogs all!
We booked a lovely cottage (Ruby Cottage) near the town of Aviemore which was a cosy base to enjoy day trips amongst the beautiful scenery. The puppies became little pros chilling on the stake out lines and took a week sleeping in the van in their stride, they experienced all the weather too with snow, sleet, hailstones and drizzle! Humans had a kayak around Loch Morlich and the dogs had lots beach walks and duck chasing. We also visited an incredible secure free run field set amongst the Scottish mountains called Rabbit Rocks in Aberlour which was a scenic hours drive from Aviemore. Dogs had a blast and the zips channeled their inner mountain goat! On our way up and back down, we wild camped around the beautiful lake district enjoying walks with the dogs around lake windermere.
Busy March as always! Zips had their second vaccinations so we have had a busy month of firsts for the zips - first free runs, first long van trips up to Thetford, first overnighters in van and first beach visits! Taking everything in their stride and meeting lots of people the zips and puppy walks, they are very confident little pups.
Zips first free runs
Zips First Beach Visit
We started the month with a trip to the Flatlands of Thetford to train and see friends and we all had a brilliant time and the biggies enjoyed their leg stretch joined by their Zawkkast pals! Mama Zinny is back to business in harness too!
Busy season bringing on our first litter and making sure the biggies continue to have lots of runs and fun! Having a Winter litter is a bit of a juggling act! It has also been the most amazing experience and we are loving every moment.
Matt has been putting the miles on the dogs at training whilst I've been pup sitting and one of us has managed to make at least one event a month between treks and races.
Yearling Flups first race season and delighted with them both achieving their copper trekking title with AMWA, lark leading the team with Mars bar over nearly 13 miles on tough terrain, all working hard and digging in.
The zips had their first outing to experience the noise and bustle of a sled dog event and watched the biggies excited to be hooked up and they took it in their stride and even had a nap... They have now had their second vaccinations so we can start making their world a little bigger!
Goodness we have had a busy few months! So a quick update.
In December we welcomed our first litter from our wonderful girl Zinny and we have enjoyed every moment of watching them grow and their progress. Zinny popped them out in quick succession, casually eating dairylea on toast (her fave) between each puppy and she gave us five wonderful little people, girls dominated and we had four girls and one boy! All healthy and thriving.
Meanwhile the biggies have continued to have lots of lovely runs and over Christmas took part in the AMWA Salisbury Trek which was a nice 15 mile jolly on tough terrain. Dogs shouting for more as you can see from the above pic! Juggling new puppies and events is keeping us very busy so our aim is to take part in one quality event (trek/race) a month this season. We are missing Zinny from the teams but she is rather busy right now being a mama bear.
Whilst Mr E was puppy sitting I took the opportunity to start the new year by taking Magpie and Lark flups to run at some of our favourite trails at Rendlesham with BSHRA . We always know running with BSHRA that the trails are safe, interesting and foot friendly and give the very best experience for dogs. Life is too short for bad trails! Covid restrictions did a bit of a number on us attending events so the girls haven't had much race environment experience and they can get a little overwhelmed so we are building their confidence and setting them up for success. Girls did really well on draggy, wet, trails with lark single leading on a staggered line at 19 months. A text book pass of a team, and they passed loads of spectators on the trail and tip top on their turns and a mid table placing in first class competition. Super proud of them. They do really excel in a larger team, the other dogs helping their confidence so look forward to continuing their running journey with their pals. A short video of their run below and Magpie showcasing a rather beautiful fast trot. Love these girls!
Busy month as ever, running dogs in earnest looking for the best temperatures and lots of fun training with friends, mixing our dogs up on the passenger rig to run two ten dog teams, a veteran team and a younger team, short lighter, faster runs in the forest and of course regular free runs and walks keeping the dogs physically fit, mentally stimulated and content.
We attended our first race since the pandemic which coincided with the 25th Anniversary of the first BSHRA race, Racing for us generally involves a 10 hour round trip to get the best trails, we feel life is too short for our dogs to run on bad trails and that takes us to racing with AMWA and BSHRA race organisations. The aim for the weekend was to give Magpie and Lark a positive first race experience. With over 110 teams entered and herds of spectators it was an incredibly busy weekend with lots of new experiences for the girls.
Above pic is veteran brothers Mars and our guest Zen gave the Flups the benefit of their experience on extremely busy trails on the second day at Rendlesham. The weekend was a valuable experience for the flups and they even did their first ever pass of a team as you can see in the video above!
Pickle ran with her veteran pals Merlin and Pepper with our good friend Jenna (Janskcoo) below, and had a lovely jolly!
Runs with friends