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|Letting off steam at St Bees, start of the Coast to Coast||
Walking with dogs: An introduction
Walking guides - see all our background pages
An introduction from Buster
"Hello. No-one loves a good walk like us dogs! There are some brilliant walking holidays that you can go on, and your owners can come too!
Please let us know on booking that you'll be bringing your dog. We can then book dog-friendly accommodation for your walking holiday. There is no extra charge.
Your dog stays with you, sleeping on the floor (perhaps on a favourite blanket) in your own room. He or she will never be in kennels or yards or anywhere else!
Of course, adding a dog can be a restriction on the number of hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses that are available to us when booking your itinerary. We might not be able to use our usual, first-choice establishments. In some cases we might even be unable to put together a schedule as you would like, especially if your holiday is very soon or if some nights are in small villages where accommodation is already limited.
In all cases, dogs or no dogs, we do our very best to make your holiday happen. We've had great success in assembling successful itineraries at short notice, much appreciated by our clients.
Self-guided walking holidays are of course led by you, the walkers. You can go as fast or slow as you like and you can bring as many of your dogs as you like! As long as the route and the accommodation are suitable for dogs then everything is set up nicely.
If you're joining us for a guided holiday as a private group then you're also welcome to bring your dogs, and we're sure they'll have a great time exploring the hills with their human pack!
At the moment, our scheduled guided holidays and skills courses that are open to individuals are not suitable for dogs, we're sorry to say. We might in future bring in such trips, but we must consider those who don't like dogs. A private guided trip is always possible if you have a pre-formed group of family or friends, of 4 or more people; even for smaller numbers, it can still work. Please contact us for details any time.
As any dog owner knows, the UK has a wealth of mountains and countryside for walking. Access rules are generally very favourable meaning that all of UK Exploratory's walking holidays can be enjoyed by dogs. It's always exhilarating for your dog to get out into the fresh air, along the paths, lanes, fields and hillsides.
Some dogs aren't happy crossing stiles. All of UK Exploratory's holidays involve stiles at some point, and on some routes there are many. If your dog isn't adept at stiles or if you don't fancy lifting him or her over, please contact us for specific information about the routes.
Holidays with no restrictions
Coast to Coast
Extra note: Coast to Coast
Some stages of the CTC route in the Richmond area are quite heavy with the particular type of stile that can pose a problem for some dogs. We'll advise in detail when you enquire or book.
We don't feel able to recommend taking dogs on our continental European walking holidays, for UK or other overseas clients. Despite the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme, known as PETS, and the pet passport it can give your dog so that it can avoid quarantine, the practical difficulties of taking your dog abroad are considerable.
As well as the travel aspect, having your dog with you on a trekking or walking trip can be a disadvantage, or dangerous, for 3 other reasons. Firstly your dog's scent can warn wildlife about your presence earlier than otherwise with the result that you might enjoy fewer close encounters with chamois, ibex, marmots and other creatures. Secondly you might not be able to enjoy some of the more scrambly sections of path if you feel it wouldn't be safe to lead your dog up them. Thirdly, watch out for marmot burrows! Your dog might decide to investigate and you could be searching for a while.
As an example of the difficulties, the Aiguilles Rouges nature reserve on the North side of the Chamonix valley does not allow dogs, even on a lead. This prevents dog owners on the Tour du Mont Blanc from enjoying the spectacular stretch on the hillside under Lac Blanc, with views over the valley to the Aiguille Verte and Mont Blanc.
Walking holidays can make demands of dogs as well as of humans! The fitter your dog is and the more familiar he or she is with the countryside (stiles, sheep, rocky paths) the easier your holiday will be.
In the weeks leading up to your holiday try walking your dog along some routes of similar distance, height gain and duration to those you'll be tackling on your holiday.
Of course, take care to build your dog up gently to longer walks if he or she is not used to them. It's possible to over-exercise very young dogs. Be alert to your dog becoming too tired, shown by unusally heavy panting or lagging behind.
The usual responsibilities of walking a dog, such as cleaning up after it, apply to the mountains and coast as much as any dog walking area and will be well known by dog owners. Some extra considerations apply to the great outdoors.
Wildlife and lambing time
At lambing time take great care to prevent your dog chasing sheep; lambs can die even just from being chased, while the parents might attack your dog. The lambing season in early Spring is critical to farmers' finances for the year ahead. You might consider it best to avoid walking your dog near any sheep in this period, roughly mid-March to mid-May but possibly starting as early as February, to avoid any difficulty.
If chased by farm animals
On the lead?
UK Exploratory once met a dog and two walkers near St Bees. This particularly fit dog had carried all its own supplies for 14 days - an unusual feat!
Let us organise your next walking holiday for you and your dog. We book your accommodation and send you a comprehensive info pack containing our own routecards (highly praised by past clients), genuine Ordnance Survey or Harvey maps, and all the other logistical notes you need. You are then free to enjoy the walks at a pace suited to you. As well as our standard itineraries we are always delighted to quote for bespoke holidays - contact us for more information. Happy walking!
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