Remember: Press F11 for a full screen view of this page.


" Sam, Hamsterley Park and Dougal "

Date & start time:    Thursday 30 th August, 2018.   11.00 am start.

Location of Start :   The car park, Hamsterley Forest, Co Durham, Uk ( NZ 092 312 )

Places visited :         The "yellow" forest trail at Hamsterley Park.

Walk details :             3.7 miles, 325 feet of ascent, 1 hours 55 mins.

High points :              Meeting with Richard and Caryl, Sam and everyone at Gunnerdale.

                               Tea and scones at Dee and John's at the end of the afternoon.

Walked with :             Richard and Caryl, Ann and our dogs Sam and Dylan.

Weather :                    Warm and dry, sunshine and high cloud.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


A busy day out as we travel over to County Durham for ourselves and Dylan to meet a whole host of new and old friends and family.

We have organised a day full of surprises, both for ourselves and Dylan.

Firstly we met up with Caryl and Richard and their dog Sam at Hamsterley Park near Crook, County Durham

and give the two dogs chance to meet and have a brotherly run off-lead.

Hamsterley Forest Park . . .
. . . we'll follow the yellow arrows !

This very sociable walk started with coffee and ended with lunch at the cafe above.

Our companions on this outing were Caryl and Richard from Hartlepool.

Caryl wrote to us a while back to say that she had found our web site by Goggle-ing "Gunnerdale"

and soon realised that their dog Sam was from the same litter as Dylan.

- - - o o o - - -

But we can't spend all day drinking coffee . . . time for a stroll.

The forest walk took us up the valley on an undulating track, sometimes wide enough for four people abreast.

In the first few clearings were wood carvings . . . here the scary Gruffalo  

A great photo opportunity for the kids and their parents, with the inevitable mobile phone in hand !

Dylan and Sam . . . or is that Sam and Dylan.

This was the first time the two litter-mates have met since they were both eight weeks old.

Richard leads Sam down the only short section of roadway on this circular forest walk.

On the entrance back into the woods was a steel barrier with a rather unusual framework.

The single post structure gave me chance to frame a picture of the two dogs together.

Why do they never stand still or co-ordinate their moves to confirm with the idea of the rule-of-thirds ?

We headed down to Bedburn Beck.

It's a tributary of the River Wear and joins it about two miles downstream close to Witton-le-Wear.

Dogs will be dogs . . .

Our return path took us down the northern bank of the stream . . .
. . . passing more forest sculptures on the way.

It is always a good sign when conversation flowed all the way round the walk.

Back nearer to the car parks and we re-enter the adventure play area.

The cost of car parking was £6 for the day but there were plenty of facilities for visitors to make it value for money.

Back at the car . . . the brothers sat together for a photo before we headed back to the cafe for a spot of lunch.

- - - o o o - - -

Afterwards we had arranged to see Deborah who runs Gunnerdale Dogs.

She currently breeds Golden Retrievers at her small licensed premises.

She also used to breed Shetland Sheep, Dexter Cattle and chickens but has scaled back her farm orientated animals

in favour of her main passion of working gun dogs.

Richard and Caryl were with us, so when we arrived

we had two dogs to say "hello" to the lady that bred them both, four and a half years ago.

However the older dogs couldn't come in to see to our next delight of the day

so we took turns to wait outside with them.

Ann and Deborah squat down to puppy-level.

There were eight bundles of fur rushing about the cage . . . four boys and four girls.

After just a little heartache we chose one of the boys to be Dylan's companion.

Say hello to "Dougal of Gunnerdale" . . . born August 1st . . . four weeks old this week.

The litter will stay with their mum for the next four weeks until they are weaned and socialised within their group

then we'll be able to return here and take him back to his new home in Cumbria.

He's too young at present to leave the litter . . .
. . . so with a new red collar he rejoins his brothers and sisters.

He is slightly darker than the other boys in the group but it was difficult to tell them all apart.

At four weeks they are all becoming more active.

He's about the size of my hand but will grow fast in the coming weeks.

This small barrier between the two puppy cages will soon be no problem to cross.

See you again soon little man !

- - - o o o - - -

Whilst we were there, Deborah introduced us to Dougal's parents.

There was an excited crowd of dogs in the other room !

Lilly, Oscar in the middle, Maggie and Jenny.

Oscar is Dougal's dad . . . and full of beans.

Jenny, Dougal mum was quieter . . . but then she has just given birth and reared eight puppies during the last month !

She is Dylan's sister from the same litter, so our puppy Dougal is actually Dylan's nephew.

Dogs will be dogs . . .
. . . but very soon the excitement passed.

Mum and Dad, Oscar and Jenny, sitting quietly once more.

- - - o o o - - -

Sam and Dylan's dad Archie has been retired from stud duties and couldn't remain with his own female offspring

so he now lives down the road with a neighbour and friend of Deborah's.

- - - o o o - - -

As we were about to drive away Richard and Caryl spotted a familiar looking dog at the end of the street . . . they called us across.

On the red lead is our Dylan . . . on the blue lead, his dad Archie.

They greet each other . . . I wonder if they could recognise the family bond ?

Archie greets his other son Sam with equal enthusiasm.

All three together for the first time in over four years.

A formal picture of son and father to end the visit.

- - - o o o - - -

After a second attempt at saying goodbye we finally parted company with Richard, Caryl and Sam.

They headed back to Hartlepool and we headed off to Durham, to join our friends Dee and John.

It was great to see them on their home turf,

and after a chat, a long look at the puppy photos and lovely afternoon tea and scones

we said our goodbyes and set the 'sat nav' for home.

What a busy day !

- - - o o o - - -


By the way . . .

For those of you who are able to make it up to the Lakes this week

it is the Loweswater Show this Sunday (2nd Sept).


All the fun of the country fair will be on offer

at this, one of the larger local Cumbrian Shows.

The event will be held in the Lorton Valley

between Lorton and Loweswater.


Proceedings start by 10 am and go on till about 5pm.

Maybe we'll see you there.

- - - o o o - - -

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . eight lovely bundles of fur.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 17-24th August - Jenna's week in the Lakes

A previous time up here - 9th March 2014 - Hamsterley Forest Walk

What happened next that day - 9th March 2014 - Dylan of Gunnerdale