Our Border Collie Skye:

This page is a bit self indulgent. Visitors to a Hotel Narrowboat site would expect pages to describe Willow our boat, and the holidays we offer on the Scottish Lowland Canals - not wax lyrical about border collies.

But we got so much kind reaction to Meg passing on at 15yrs, from past guests and from those that know us on the canals, we became very aware that many people do like border collie crew members, particularly when they share occupancy of a boat for a week.

So this page is all about Skye our new Collie Pup boat crew. If you've clicked on Skye's photo by accident, and you are looking for more information about our cruises just select the page you want from the menu on the left, and you will be quickly taken back to the relevant page.  '

Skye was born in September, 2013, from working parents on a hill farm in the Trossachs. To follow Meg, my companion for 15 years on the back of Willow, Skye has big boots (paws) to fill - but she's a border collie so I'm sure she'll do her very best. With only a month since Meg left us in October'13 we needed the dog crew training time - ready for the new season starting April'14 - so Skye arrived with us just one month later in November'13.

So for those interested in border collies here's a bit more about her background. We got her from Immeroin Farm deep into the hills at Glen Buckie, south of Balquhidder village in the North Trossachs. What a stunning setting to be born in - although a tough winter environment even for a hill border collie. Mother was 'Fern' born on the farm 4 years previously; Father is ''Moss', Immeroin's current top dog; with 15 year old grandmother, 'Spot' (similar markings to Skye), now retired but still present on the farm. All proper working collies and each having a nice nature. Availability of the pups was short lived and all were spoken for within a few days (with one pup going down to a farm in England).

We collected Skye at just 8 weeks, but for us the training/socialisation processes started immediately. Until her injections were completed, we had her at our Tillicoultry Flat, but soon she would need to get used to a narrowboat home with a big Perkins D3 engine running in an engine room. Getting used to a home that both floats on water and moves with great regularity. Tying up with mooring ropes - Locks (not to mention the Falkirk Wheel) and passing through tunnels will need to become the norm. Lots to learn and get used to before the start of the 2014 cruise season. All of that, together with learning all the normal puppy things.

At 11 weeks she had her initial introduction to Willow - which worked particularly well. Running Willow's Perkins D3 engine made her look up with head tilted to one side, but only with a mere hint of interest (no fear) - and she was already comes to the whistle. 'Potty training' had come on fine too - with no 'number two' accidents, and she had only made other mistakes if she got too excited.

Update (Start 2015 Cruising Season): Now adult with her first full cruising season already under her belt. We are delighted with Skye's progress as a 'Boat Collie' - love her to bits. She doesn't yet know all Meg knew, but give her time. Like Meg she's happy on the back deck as we cruise - although she likes to nip inside from time to time, just to check Irene's OK. She's now had her first two 'seasons' - we are leaving off getting her speyed just now to give us opportunity to have a litter, perhaps in a couple of years time.

Scroll down for photos - youngest first....

Immeroin Skye
Above: The approach to Skye's birth place - Immeroin - on a rainy November day. Above: 9 week old Skye
Puppy Skye Skye meets Willow
Above: Skye's first introduction to the helm of Willow - and dog friendly, Falkirk Wheel Boatmaster, Alison. Above: At ten weeks Skye intoduced to her 'cruising position' on the back deck (it was Meg's favourite place).
Skye Boot Skye at 9 weeks
Above: The old boot is in focus, but skye moves so quick it's hard to catch her focused when at play. Above: What can you say - Skye at 11 weeks
Skye at 13wks Skye Laptop
Above: At 13 weeks on an Antonine Wall walk Above: Border Collies claim to be clever - who are we to argue
Skye at 8 months Skye at 8 months
Above: Skye now at 8 months totally relaxed on the back of Willow
Photo Credit: Ann Squires, Durham
Skye at 10 months - if Border Collies were pedegreed, she'd be a show dog. Skye (11months) & Irene - Pals


A note on Meg (1998-2013) - Skye's predecessor.

Regular Guests were saddened to learn that we no longer had Meg with us. In October, 2013, her poor old central nervous system had stopped working properly and it prevented her from being able to stand properly - she had stopped eating and drinking. Thanks to the Vets Practice at Falkirk High for their help with that final act of kindness. For 15 years, she was my constant companian on the back of Willow - or wherever else I happened to be....

Nick & Meg on Willlow Meg
Meg and Nick at work on the English canal network, summer of 2009.
14 yr old Meg in September, 2012. Still liked a game of stick (or bark) throwing.