21/01/2020 and I was on the way from Patterdale to activate St Sunday crag. Not too far from the top something caught my eye - and it wasn’t the Herdwick sheep I was expecting. The two ears I could see belonged to a big dog - a husky or malmut or whatever, wearing an expensive looking harness. Then it saw me and started the barking. Not an agressive bark, but one of distress. No owner around and I wasn’t sure there’d be anyone else up here so early on the morning. The dog didn’t want to come near, and it didn’t appear to want to go either. A quick scout around just to make sure there wasn’t a body nearby confirmed the dog was probably lost.
I sat down and thought about what to do. Phone the park? The police?. Catch it? Cancel my activation? It didn’t want my proffered ham sandwich I’d saved for later. It circled me nervously interspersed by loud howling. A large identity disc hung from the dogs harness. I could photo it and perhaps later call the owner? Surely I couldn’t be that callous just to leave the dog just to get a few points. Could I? Should I?
But as a dog owner I couldn’t just leave her there. She could come with me, if I could catch her, but then I had no lead. Then I remembered my SotaBeams linked dipole! One of the winders for the coax also has a length of guying string I never use. Now I needed it. A length was cut off and an improvised leash was made. The dog was starting to get nearer and nearer. Then, just below me 3 women with a dog approached. Alas they weren’t the owners, but one had dog biscuits which the lost dog ate, and I soon had it caught and on the ‘lead’.
One of the 3 phoned the owner up. Much to our surprise and no doubt the owner’s too, she was unaware the dog was lost or that it was in the Lake District. We were told she’d left it in charge of her teenage sons and a friend and she had no idea where they were.
We took down the mobile number she gave us for her son and rang him. “Oh we let the dog off the leash and it chased a sheep and we couldn’t catch it”. This being near Patterdale!! The dog had wondered off up here on its own. How to re-unite them?
Just at this point a runner with a dog came by and mentioned that the’d passed a group of lads looking for their dog near the village of Glennridding. . And this appeared to be the dog! We contacted the boys and the runner now with an extra dog set off down the hill. And much relieved I carried on my way and just made my activation although it was 30 minutes later than I’d expected.
Just as I was completing my activation the same runner passed by again and he told me he’d returned the dog to the very relieved lads - with a stern warning to keep it on a lead due to the sheep. On my way down later on, I noticed numerous signs on the gates asking/warning dog owners to keep dogs on leads. But I guess young lads will always know better. Hopefully these will have learned a valuable lesson!
I felt quite pleased with myself as I walked back down. I’d helped a lost dog and I’d had a good days activating too! A good deed done!