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One of our regular Norfolk walkers is Beverley Saxton,
She only recently joined and since has tried her best to join as many walks as possible. With success!
Here is her story.
My Flatcoat Walks
My name is Bev and I have two dogs,
Ruby just seven months old and nine year old Eden who is an honorary flatcoat!
We bumped into Peter de Clercq at a doggie event last summer and since joining the group,
my husband Graham and I have been on several Flatcoat Walkies.
December 12th 2015 Winterton, north of Gt. Yarmouth Norfolk.
Having missed the Mega Walkies in September 2015, my first ever Flat coat Walkies walk as a new member was at Winterton Beach.
I was so looking forward to it. Ruby was just 13 weeks old and could now go out for walks since having her jabs. It took us an hour and a half to get from home to Winterton where after passing through the quiet village the road takes you directly to the beach.
It’s a lovely place, where the heath and dunes meet the coast.
There is a small cafe at the end of the road and although there was a car park there was plenty of parking along the quiet road approaching the beach.
On arriving at Winterton beach (we were a little late) I could see a group of people with dogs heading off in the distance, so we set off at a pace running after them.
This was particularly interesting because I was carrying Ruby under my coat not really sure what reception I would get bringing out such a young dog.
We caught up with the group introduced ourselves, having not met any-one at all before, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I needn’t have worried, they were all the nicest bunch of people you could imagine.
I don’t know quite what they thought of this crazy lady running up to them totally frazzled with a dog in her coat puffing with husband and a Goldie in toe – honestly, I must have looked a right picture.
Ruby was an instant hit (see Peter’s web page she’s in some of his photographs). Despite her constant protests to go down and walk the entire walk herself, she was carried most of the way. It seemed like everybody offered to carry and cuddle her which was really wonderful and made me feel instantly welcome.
As well as getting to meet humans and trying to remember their names there were load of dogs every-where around us. Absolutely wonderful! I knew then these walks were for us and we fitted right in.
As we walked we chatted and shared stories and just got to know each other. Even our golden retriever Eden was accepted by all the other dogs and they all mixed instantly and got on together so well the whole time, everything just clicked no growls or teeth, just all mingling together.
So, on we went. The weather was dry and windy and not raining. The ground was firm underfoot and the going was easy. This area is full of footpaths going off in all directions. We passed well weathered spruce, fir trees, gorse bushes and the occasional dog walker.
This was excellent dog walking territory as the dogs could explore off the lead and not get too lost and you can see them across the heather. (Except Peter’s dog which took a diversion into the woods on the return part of the walk!). Peter let us know about a small pool of water we were approaching and so he led the way. All of the dogs seemed to know where we were going and ran towards the pool and jumped in. It was like a doggie soup! There were dogs in, under, around, on the bank, all enjoying getting in and out and swimming around getting quite wet and muddy. This was Flatcoat Heaven. Ruby looked on and was so excited she tentatively edged herself down towards the water and then promptly went plop, with some encouragement of being nudged into the water by a dog or two. Peter was there with his camera just snapping away here and there. He managed to take some superb pictures that day.
We went back the way we came and had a group picture at the end. We gave our donation to Peter for the IFFR that the Group supports and is one of the main reasons for the walks. We have fun and the charity benefits.
After saying goodbye to nearly every one Peter and his family showed us the beach, just a short walk over the windswept dunes over the shingle to the golden sand at the water’s edge.
This beach has a resident seal population.
Ruby hadn’t seen the sea before but Eden and Peter’s three dogs did a lovely job of showing her what it’s all about. She had her first little dabble in the water before we headed home.
Our second walk was at Thorpeness beach, on the east coast of Suffolk on Sunday 5th March 2016.
Thorpeness is a lovely place to visit and is known for the “house in the clouds” and its boating lake with its swans, geese and ducks. We met at the beach car park giving direct access for the beach if you are on foot, with the tea room adjacent to the boating lake just across the road.
It was a very cold and windy day so we all donned wellies, hats and coats and off we went along the shingle beach into the wind. All of the dogs charged into the surf, jumping, running and playing as we faced the elements. Some of us didn’t mind the weather; actually I was a bit fuzzy round the edges so I didn’t mind too much. (I was still suffering the effects of anaesthetic during a hospital stay, a few days before). We walked along for about forty minutes or so up to a wide concrete water breaker that led out into the sea. Some of the dogs and owners were hardy enough to walk along the top and they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves in both the surf and the spray.
After walking back along the water’s edge, we arrived back at the car park, the dogs had clearly all had a marvellous time. They were all soaked through but very happy. Some people departed and the remaining group joined together to go to the local pub The Dolphin Inn, for something warm, knowing it supposed to be a dog friendly establishment. When we got there however, we had to sit outside, I understand they didn’t want us in with our wet dogs at this time. That was fine as we stayed and ordered a bowl of soup and a cheese sandwich and other refreshment. It was pouring with rain by this time so we were glad to take shelter under their covered patio. We stayed a while despite the weather, said our goodbyes and looked forward to our next Flatcoat Walkies.
Our third walk with the group was in the afternoon of Saturday 9th April, at Wells next the Sea, north Norfolk coast. By now Ruby almost smelt the sea before we arrived after an hour and a half drive. The car park is part of the Holkham Estate so the tariff is not cheap but well situated for getting onto the beach.
We all met at the Beach Cafe to start our walk. I must tell you, this cafe is excellent. There are dog bowls of water and a watering can to rinse them off with and in summer they have the best thing ever; on the front patio there is a free dog wash which consists of a steel container with a little ramp for the dogs to walk up onto a covered platform and there is a hose and sprayer so you can completely clean off your dog.
When finished your dog walks out the other end! It was completely free (last year). I have used this on my dogs and it’s absolutely brilliant, what a sensible idea. This cafe gets my vote! Your dogs can also come inside with you to warm up by the open fire or sit beside you at the table
There were about nine dogs all together on this walk; in addition a lady who was on holiday in Wells who had two flatcoats also joined us for the walk. We headed off going west along the footpath track through the pine woods which is very picturesque. The path led us towards the boardwalk that leads over to the beach. The dog friendly part of the beach is further along from the main beach area so this first part of the walk was ideal. There are a few poo bins this side of the beach, which was very handy (thank you to my Graham for running all the way back to make a deposit). The dogs all knew where they were heading and were getting more and more excited with the smell of the sea and sand on the air. They practically pulled us up and over the boardwalk in their eagerness. It was going to be fun. The tide was far, faraway out in the distance and the golden sand stretched on for-ever. Once on the beach and free of their leads the dogs ran and chased about, jumping in and out of the pools, picking up shells or bringing the odd stick to which ever adult was nearest in anticipation of extra play. Once again the dogs got on so well together, all of them being so accepting of Ruby even though she was quite young she was giving it her all and ran with the pack in and out of the water, chasing sticks with the best of them. After walking along for a time we headed back inland towards the line of dunes and walked back through the woodland. We then had a group photo and Peter was on hand to collect our donations for the IFRR charity. Several owners said their goodbyes at this point and the remaining few headed back to the car park. By now we were all utterly soaked; the dogs were soaked, sandy, tired and very happy. We all decided to put the dogs in our cars and go to the cafe. It was very busy but warm inside with a hotchpotch of tables and chairs, armchairs and sofas. There was a large golden retriever in front of the fire, (It wasn’t one of ours) gently steaming dry with several coats and hats around the fire quietly drip-drying. We soon found a table and sat together to warm up. Our hot drinks were most welcoming as was the food; it was only cafe fare but pretty good here.
The beach at Wells is famous for its very colourful row of beach huts often seen on postcards of the area and its vast expanse of sandy beach that stretches for absolutely miles and miles. We didn’t have good weather and it rained nonstop however, we had a brilliant walk. It was lovely to meet new people once more and of course, new dogs too; Hattie dear, you stole my heart, you are a beautiful dog!
If you have a story to tell about your walkies, let us know, comment below or send us an email (email@example.com)