Sylvia on Belle my 3 year old spotted filly.
Sylvia is 74 and takes her cob out most days of the week. Until a couple of years ago Sylvia was driving a bow top wagon and several times drove her wagon all the way down to Cornwall and back again. Often people tell me they would love to go off in a wagon, then make all sorts of excuses why they can't. Sylvia just gets on and does it and is an example to us all.
Sylvia with her cob Benny
I went north to Gainsborough and then followed the river Trent up to Goole, this is lovely flat easy country to travel in. When I've got inexperienced green horses I find it much better to walk the horses than trot. The faster you go with horses the more likely you are to have accidents. I'm quite happy walking alongside my cob, either leading or long-reining him, I enjoy the exercise, if I wanted to go fast I could always get a car. Walking along, there is plenty of time to think, listen to the birds singing and see everything. It's also easy to stop and chat to people. Near Goole a lovely old lady called Betty gave me a cup of tea and some cakes that she had baked. Acts of kindness like this are very common and it gladdens my heart.
The next day I crossed over the Great North Road and the motorway, by happy chance there were 3 wagons just pulling off the verge and I managed to take photos from the bridge. I caught up with them 2 days later. I prefer to take the quieter roads as much as I can and like to take the most scenic route. When I got to Middleham I turned left and cut across country towards Settle. This was about 40 miles out of my way to Appleby but it's beautiful country in the Yorkshire Dales and I wanted to meet a friend there.
Middleham in the Dales
Middleham is famous for its racehorses and as I drove out of town I passed about 100 racehorses being ridden back from the gallops. A lovely sight, many of the jockeys were riding and talking on their mobile phones which was nice to see!
I took this photo as I wanted to capture all 3 horses lying down. They were enjoying a nice warm day. I only moved one mile that day and they weren't complaining. The next day I did 8 miles to near Coverhead Farm and stopped near the bridge by a lovely beck, where I did my washing. I also tried out the solar shower for the first time. A friend gave it to me, you simply fill it with water, lay it on the ground for a few hours and the sun heats the water. Then I hung it up from the porch of the wagon and stood under it. The next day I had some very tough hills and getting down to Kettlewell there is a particularly long bad 25% down hill with hair pin corners and funny camber. I unhitched Banana the sider and let her loose as I didn't want her pulling down hill by mistake. I wound the brake on as hard as I could, to keep the weight off the cob in the shafts. Luckily there was no traffic about and I got down safely. Banana trotted up beside the cob as we got to the bottom of the hill and I hitched her back on. Horses are herd animals and stick together so I wasn't worried about having her loose.
A great stop to do my washing and a nice sunny day to dry it.
I next stopped in a pretty village called Arncliffe, the farmers were friendly and gave me a cup of tea. It rained heavily in the night and where I'd tethered Banana there was a strange "crop circle" in the morning.
Crop circle. No sign of Banana