Today we went out hunting for Squirrel Nutkin! It was a beautiful day: full of sunshine and bright blue skies. There really wasn’t a single dark cloud in the sky that we could see. Nor was there any wind to distract us from our task.

Our destination this afternoon was an impromptu spur of the moment type of decision. To tell the truth, we hadn’t really decided where to explore at all. We only knew that we wanted to take Horatio out for a walk, and then began to drive . . . and drive . . . drive. We passed through Bowness on Windermere, Ambleside, Rydal and Grasmere. As we headed out towards Keswick, I noticed a sign which announced, “Squirrel Trail”. That was it! We would go hunting for Squirrel Nutkin!

This sign attracted our attention enough for us to stop, park, and take a walk in search of squirrels!

Thirlmere was looking its beautiful best from the Swirls Car Park as we pulled up into a space close to the trail. Indeed, there were several tracks to follow, but our minds were fixed on hopefully locating and observing the Lake District’s very shy red squirrels. And so we began to walk. And walked, and walked, and walked.

All was silent save for the subdued sound of motor vehicles negotiating the A591, once voted England’s most beautiful motorway. Horatio, leading the way with his gangly legs, strode ahead. I have never seen him keep his head down so often as he did here: constantly checking and sniffing the ground, grasses, stones, and rocks. One would think that he knew what he was doing. Really? My daft Great Dane? 

The paths were steep to begin with, and tiring on those lazy muscles that were presently working our legs. It was a good workout for the lungs too! Other gentler grass-bound trails were softer on our feet, especially after all that tromping upon stony ground, where uneven sharp-edged surfaces occasionally, but painfully, massaged our soles underfoot. Horatio, in his element, disregarded all such discomforts and urged us on.

Why did Horatio approach the squirrel hide? Why, to await the sighting of shy red squirrels, of course!

And then we came up to a squirrel hide. By this time, any hopes of glimpsing even one tiny squirrel had vanished; but the hide revived them again. Horatio led us around the hide. If it was to be a question of waiting in anticipation for hours on end, then that was never to be. We didn’t have the time nor patience to do so. And we sincerely doubted that any squirrel in its right mind would peep round the corner and say, “Aha! That is the most gorgeous Great Dane if I ever saw one!”

And so we carried on. Up more trails where tall upturned trees lay silently inert upon their trunks; the roots which once quickened them now lying grotesquely exposed, helplessly entangled and caked with that same life-giving earth from whence they had been untimeously wrenched. Horatio did not even spare them a glance, much less a sniff. Ah, such is Nature.

We continued along a circling route, our little minds now doubly assured of the fact that no self-respecting squirrel was going to show its face in the proximate presence of one large lump of an excitable dog. Duh! Should have thought of that before! Nevertheless, we had enjoyed our walk; exercised the dog; and found an excellent map on-site which provided details of another trail to explore on yet another day.

This is just one aspect of the magnificent views we enjoyed whilst walking the Squirrel Trail.

‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

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