No 403 – Hiking With A Dog

In June 2016 Rose set off on the Pennine Way. A 270 mile route up the spine in the northern part of the UK through two National Parks which finishes the other side of Hadrians Wall.

On this trip she decided to take Pip her 3 year old Springer Spaniel who is up for a walk anytime of day and anywhere. The more muddy the better.

However this time the dog was carrying a pack along with Rose and they set off from Edale on an overcast and dreary day. This podcast is all about all the long term preparation, planning which goes into a walk like this and unforeseen circumstances which can suddenly happen and change everything in the blink of an eye.

It all started at Christmas when I said I was going on the TGO Challenge and, as usual, we couldn’t go together so Rose decided to find a walk she could do with her new walking partner ‘Pip’.

Pip is an enthusiastic 3 year old Spaniel who is up for anything muddy, dirty and wet.

A proper outdoor dog in other words, so she knew she wouldn’t have to drag her out of the tent each day.

So the planning began, initially maps and books. Then talking to customers at who had done it and shared their experience and gave good advice.

Finally came the gear selection, being ruthless and trying to balance this with comfort and pleasure too, for both of them.

In the end the pack weighed over 13kg, which is 4 kg above Rose’s comfort limit and Pips was near 3kg. Although she should be able to carry 4kg, it felt too heavy for her also, however the plans were set, and basically it was a case of making the best of what they could and setting off.

Pen-3The day was mixed, the views you can see here. Jacob’s Ladder was about the only decent part of the day. But the first day is the longest and because of that, it is also the hardest too as everyone is still getting used to the weight and the working in sync with each other.

As you’ll hear the first day ended in a simple accident, which sadly became a big issue and the following day Rose found sores on Pip which also required healing.

So within 24 hours, after months of planning and preparation, it was all over!


  1. stormin'

    Hard luck Rose and Pip,sounded like the start of a great trip ,You have to go again,it’s just a matter of timing.


  2. lozsing

    dog sores probably not helped by dog carrying a pack. . I tried it with my dog but didn’t feel it was the right way to go.


  3. Heather Elston

    Rose I’m so sorry to hear after all your planning and preparation you were not able to finish. The way time is flying by, next year will be upon us before you know it.


  4. Martin Angell

    Rose, such a shame you didn’t get to finish the walk. I have taken my dog (a cocker spaniel) on the Cumbria Way 2 years ago, but I used Sherpa Van for bag transfers, and stayed mostly in pubs! He got a thorn in his paw on the penultimate day, so we had to get a bus to the finish and had a trip to the vets, but overall it was a great walk. Obviously he didn’t need to carry anything and I just had a larger than usual day pack.


  5. John D

    If you found a way to clip a quilt direct to a mat, rather than to the nest, you would have a product which would sell to anyone travelling with a dog, regardless of whether they were backpacking. I think the cover should have cute pictures such as bones and puppies.


    • theoutdoorsstation

      Clipping the quilt to a mat (aka dog Bivvy) is one solution, but as dogs move about it can be quite restrictive. Clipping the quilt to the edge of the nest floor allowed movement for the dog but still kept the mat and the quilt in place. So the dog didn’t feel restrained and it worked really well.


  6. Mick Graham

    Sorry to hear about your accident after all the time and effort you put into the preparation.Makes me feel like a wimp as I started the PW last October and have still not reached Crowden! Just don’t enjoy driving through Manchester. Last time out my Border Terrier picked up several ticks on Bleaklow and that was in March with snow on the ground. Think its all the Hares up there.
    Hope you have another go when you are fit.
    Love the station!


  7. Tim Jayes

    Sorry to hear you didn’t finish the walk. I Backpacked the Beacons Way with my whippet in May. I carried all his food plus posted a parcel ahead. He’d not a robust dog but I was glad how he handled everything. He had a harness which he didn’t mind plus the handle on top came in handy. Could you had picked a slightly easier trail first time?


  8. David Sewell

    More practise before you set off. Dogs are not designed to carry weight and mine have nevet carried weight. Springers are a bit hyper and are not a distance dog. Short walks about 5 miles shoul help.


    • theoutdoorsstation

      You could argue, that none of humanity was ‘designed’ to carry weight, including ourselves, horses, donkeys and camels. However over time this has happened. However as I hope we made clear, our idea is not to weight the dog down, but have it assist with carrying a small contribution. However as you’ll hear from a later podcast, the second attempt was completed without her carrying any weight at all thanks to a change in accommodation.


  9. Paul

    Interesting to read about Pip’s sores. I started the Southdowns Way with my 5 year old springer. He has the same pack made by Ruffwear that you used and after day one he too had sores where the straps routed under the legs. I am going to make some fleece sleeves to put over the straps and see if that reduces the chance of developing sores. If you found a solution I would love to hear about it.



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