Walkies on the Wild Side, a Border Collie joins a climb

There he was, big round bell on the collar, guarding his herd of cows at the vacherie above the Col St Martin, the Mercantour venue for that week’s outing of the Club Alpin Français, Cannes Division.

The Border Collie has an active, some would say hyperactive, mind. They like to keep busy, and hanging round Daisy and Buttercup all day was clearly a tad dull, so he came along with us. Six hours later he was having an interesting conversation with a Westie in the car park above La Colmiane as we boarded our coach.

A Border Collie joins a climb

It was great to have him along and, as he scoffed the last of my sandwiches, I admired how the coat of this blue merle matched the snow and rock of the great Maritime Alps. Not many of his cousins in the Scottish Borders, where this herding breed originates, could have made it to a spot twice the height of Ben Nevis – Mont Pépoiri at 2670m.

I don’t know if he knew the via ferrata we took for a short-cut on the way down, but a Border Collie can make it up as he goes along, and he gaily flung himself down gullies as we clambered in ungainly fashion across the falaise.

If he gets fired by the shepherd for dereliction of duty, he’s got a home at my place.

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