On board as we head towards the UK are five dogs from Spain. They’re a great bunch of playful, friendly characters who all love their walks.

Rocco

In the port town of Tarifa β€” a mecca for sand surfers β€” we met up with Franciska, who arrived the night before from Morocco with lovely little Rocco, who she rescued from the streets. Franciska was working in Morocco when she found herself adopted by Rocco, and couldn’t leave her behind. It’s quite complicated transporting dogs from Morocco, and they’d had to wait a while for Rocco’s travel documents to come through.

The view as you drive into Tarifa β€” huge paintings on the sides of apartment buildings

The view as you drive into Tarifa β€” huge paintings on the sides of apartment buildings

The biggest tile in the world!

The biggest tile in the world!

It was a beautifully sunny day in Tarifa

It was a beautifully sunny day in Tarifa

Picturesque anchors

Picturesque anchors

No northern Spanish port would be complete without a fort

We could just make out the African coastline across the water

We could just make out the African coastline across the water

Franciska making sure Rocco is settled in for the trip

Franciska making sure Rocco is settled in for the trip

Rocco on the beach when we stopped near Valencia. She was initially a bit fazed by the sea, but soon got the hang of it.

Rocco on the beach when we stopped near Valencia. She was initially a bit fazed by the sea, but soon got the hang of it.

Scooby and Oli

We travelled to Estepona to collect Labrador Scooby and Terrier Oli, who belong to Mike and his family. The dogs been staying with sitters as the family went on ahead to the UK.

It took a little while to persuade the two dogs to pose for their photo

It took a little while to persuade the two dogs to pose for their photo

Five dogs from Spain β€” Finally, partial success!

Finally, partial success!

Resident Labrador Sammy was on hand to say goodbye to his chums

Resident Labrador Sammy was on hand to say goodbye to his chums

These great mates are sharing one of the big bedrooms in our van

These great mates are sharing one of the big bedrooms in our van

Tara

Lovely young Labrador Tara has been staying with Louis in Torrox, in the Malaga area. Now she’s on her way to rejoin her family in Scotland.

Five dogs from Spain β€” Tara ready for the off

Tara ready for the off

We stopped off in Nerja to say hi to Oscar, a handsome chocolate Labrador who travelled with us as a pup and belongs to courier M's uncle and aunt

We stopped off in Nerja to say hi to Oscar, a handsome chocolate Labrador who travelled with us as a pup and belongs to courier M’s uncle and aunt

Zara

In Almeria we called in on Joan, who we first met in 2005. She offers a safe haven for dogs in need of care and respite. She currently has seven indoor dogs and five in garden kennels. We collected Zara from her, a Doberman who was kicked out by her breeder because he couldn’t breed from her any more. Poor thing has a docked tail and clipped ears (illegal to do in the UK) which makes her look rather fierce, but in fact she’s a total softie.

Five dogs from Spain β€” Devoted Joan with Zara

Devoted Joan with Zara

At the beach in Valencia Zara couldn't get her head around all that moving water, so settled for a cuddle on courier M's lap instead

At the beach in Valencia Zara couldn’t get her head around all that moving water, so settled for a cuddle on courier M’s lap instead

Golf ball fun

The great thing about Labradors is that you can watch them reverting to puppies when there’s something to retrieve. We walked them by a golf range, and both Scooby and Tara proved really adept at nosing them out of the undergrowth.

Here's Scooby with one of his finds

Here’s Scooby with one of his finds

The full trove of golf ball treasure

The full trove of golf ball treasure

Oli really couldn't work out what all the fuss was about

Oli really couldn’t work out what all the fuss was about

Tara had a slightly experimental approach, tossing them in the air and catching them again, before dropping them at our feet

Tara had a slightly experimental approach, tossing them in the air and catching them again, before dropping them at our feet

On the way back to our van, Tara spotted water and food bowls behind another dog walker's car, so decided to help herself! Fortunately the owner was very understanding β€” and reassured us he had plenty more food for his own dog. Tara left a golf ball as a 'thank you' for her snack!

On the way back to our van, Tara spotted water and food bowls behind another dog walker’s car, so decided to help herself! Fortunately the owner was very understanding β€” and reassured us he had plenty more food for his own dog. Tara left a golf ball as a ‘thank you’ for her snack!