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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Post 2, Lincolnshire to Yorkshire Dales

I got to Newark on the 3rd of May, 363 miles in 28 days. An average of 13 miles a day. I stopped in my friend Sylvia's, yard for 9 days and had a good rest. Sylvia took me to a good little horse fair over on the Fens near Wisbech. While I was at Sylvia's, I borrowed a trolli off her and took Banana out each  day and did another 40 miles, as the mare needed practice driving on her own. A trolli is a useful sort of vehicle, much nicer to drive than a wagon as you have better visibility.  It was very kind of Sylvia to lend the trollli to me and Banana the mare, really benefited. Horses only get good with lots of consistent training.

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.
Going along beside the river Trent I passed Wilf with his wagon, who was also going to Appleby horse fair, some 200 miles away. We stopped and talked for a few minutes, before going our different ways. I first met Wilf at Appleby in 2005. It's a small world.
I stopped just north of Goole almost under the M62 bridge where it crosses the river. Plenty of grass. Headed north the next day towards York, I went through York city centre in the middle of the day and it did cause slight tailbacks but nothing to worry about. The horses are oblivious to the traffic.
One day a tank stops beside me for a few minutes, then trundles off.

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