Hattie Day and her two Spaniels Woody and Hen are trekking 300 miles of the Cornish Coast Path for Spaniel Aid.
When Hattie, 25, adopted her Cocker Spaniel Woody in 2017, he changed her life.
Having grown up around dogs, she knew the benefits they have for our physical and mental health.
At the time, she’d returned to Penryn, Cornwall from London for health reasons, and having Woody in her life made it so much more fun.
It inspired her to set up The Cornish Dog blog and she started a business as a freelance photographer and content creator for brands.
This summer she adopted a second Spaniel, Hen, from Spaniel Aid, and after a change in her personal circumstances, she wanted a challenge.
So Hattie decided to go on a 300 mile trek of the Cornish Coastline to raise money for the charity.
We spoke to her about her adventure and if you’d like to follow her, check out The Cornish Dog on Instagram.
You’re walking 300 miles with Woody and Hen, what inspired you to do it?
I first found out about the Cornish Coast Path after watching Sophie Pavelle’s ‘Sophie’s Wild Cornwall’ series on YouTube.
She set off to walk the 300 mile route as part of her masters degree, exploring how social media can be used to promote conservation and inspire others to get outside in nature. I’ve also really enjoyed Hiker in Estonia’s videos.
She often goes through hiking with her dog Luna and I was incredibly inspired by their adventures across Estonia.
So I thought hiking the Cornish Coast Path would be a great adventure for us!
In fact, plenty of humans have completed the route with their dogs. I loved reading 500 Mile Walkies and wanted to take on the Cornish section of the South West Coast Path myself.
You’re raising money for Spaniel Aid – where did the idea come from?
I grew up around Springer Spaniels as a child. When I moved back down to Cornwall in 2017, I soon realised my life would be more fun with a dog.
I found Woody online, he was from a neighbouring village and looking for a new home due to separation anxiety. I decided to go and see him and instantly fell in love.
He’s a working Cocker Spaniel, so slightly smaller than a Springer Spaniel but he’s the perfect adventure buddy!
There’s a stigma around adopted and rescue dogs being ‘broken,’ which I think is wrong. Woody was a perfectly happy dog, he just needed a new home.
About a year after adopting Woody, I started looking into fostering, as I wanted to do my bit to help break down these stereotypes.
I’ve been fostering for Spaniel Aid since January 2019 and chose them because of my experience with the breeds.
Hen was my third foster dog and I fail fostered which means I adopted him in June 2019.
I strongly believe every dog deserves a life of adventure and thought it was fitting to raise money on our walk to help foster dogs across the country find their forever homes!
How is Hen getting on with Woody?
Woody and Hen are definitely partners in crime! They’re always up to mischief together on walks and I just love watching them play.
Woody’s definitely found a best friend and they compliment each other’s personalities perfectly. Hen’s also blind, which just adds to his charm.
He doesn’t let it stop him though, he loves adventure! So far we’ve been paddle boarding, rowing and mountain climbing together.
The Cornish Coast Path will be another great experience for us to share together!
Have you ever done anything like this before?
In July I climbed Snowdon with Woody, Hen and our foster dog at the time Snoop.
I really enjoyed the hike and committed to completing the Cornish Coast Path while at the summit!
I haven’t been on many other big adventures with the dogs, however I have gig rowed 2 marathons of the Thames, as well as doing the Duke of Edinburgh at school.
Oh and I’ve been trekking across Morocco as a child and teenager but I don’t think that counts because I spent most of it riding a mule!
What do you think you might find challenging on the trip?
My main challenge will be managing my Myalgic Encephalomyelitis also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
I was diagnosed with ME at 12 and have had two major flare ups in my life. I’ve learnt to pace myself quite well but obviously this is a huge adventure!
I’m going to make sure we go at my pace, so we can enjoy the experience rather than treating it as a race.
We’ve got a lot of things to carry with us, particularly as we’ll be camping along the way.
There’s no way I could fit it all in my hiking backpack, so the dogs will be carrying their belongings with them.
I’ve got them two rucksacks and they’ll mostly be carrying their own food and treats, as it’ll be hard to restock these along the path.
Restocking food will be a challenge too, which is why I’m planning on bringing my own.
Supermarkets aren’t typically dog friendly but I’m sure we’ll find a dog friendly café or two along the way!
I’m not quite sure how I’m going to negotiate campsite showers with the dogs yet… They’re cheeky things and know how to escape from a zipped up tent, so I definitely can’t leave them alone!
What are you looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to visiting all of Cornwall’s dog friendly beaches, it’s one of the main reasons I’m doing the walk.
There are so many beaches we’re yet to visit, so it’s the perfect opportunity!
I’m also excited to find new dog friendly cafés, pubs and businesses in Cornwall, as well as spend more time enjoying the outdoors with my dogs.
Did you do anything to prepare yourself and the dogs before setting off?
Not really. We’re quite active already, the dogs are used to walking long distances.
I have made sure I’ve got a first aid kit for them, along with specific supplies that are hard to find on the high street, like paw balm and a fine tooth comb to help treat cuts and remove grass seeds as we go.
How can readers support you?
We’d love to hear your recommendations on places to explore en route, be it beaches, campsites, cafés or attractions. I want to experience as much as possible.
We’re collecting donations for Spaniel Aid via our JustGiving page and you can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook, where I’m sharing daily updates of the route and our adventures.
If you’d like to join us on a stretch of the walk, let me know, I’d love to meet you!
Where can people find out more?
The best way is on social media where you’ll be able to find out exactly where we are as I’m updating our stories every day.
We’re on Instagram:
And on Facebook:
And if anyone would like to support Spaniel Aid you can do so on their website:
If you enjoyed this story, you might like to read How Sherry is running a marathon on two legs for Dogs4Rescue or How Rocky The Traveller and his owner Danny have travelled the world.