Saturday 16 August 2008

What a lovely English Summer!

WOW! We have only just dried out from the camping trip. What a washout! We managed to pick the worst three days of the summer, but in true British fashion we decided to go on in the rain anyway! Still, it wasn't an unmitigated disaster - there were some great bits as well as some extremely wet bits, and most of us had a good time.
We rode out on Monday, in light rain, from Chagford to Holwell via Bowermans Nose, and stopped at Hound Tor for a late lunch, from the van in the carpark. They do a sterling job there all summer, serving real sausages and burgers , and homemade cake, to tired walkers, washed down with a decent mug of tea ( in a real mug, not a plastic cup). The best, and cheapest meal around!

The rain became torrential as we arrived at
Holwell Farm, where Sebastien and Phillipa Hughes had very kindly allowed us to camp with the horses. The farm is one of the most picturesque spots on the moor, nestled in a valley, with views of Haytor and beyond. You couldn't find a better base for walking and riding. What we hadn't bargained for were the free range piglets! Cute and hilarious as they were, the horses were not impressed, and Red, who is quite phobic about pigs , became a jibbering wreck.

Poor boy! He couldn't settle at all. We turned them all out together, but Red spent the whole night standing on the highest rock in the field, stamping a warning and 'barking' like a stallion calling the alarm. It was a really wild night, and neither he, nor us in the field next door got more than a couple of hours sleep. The wind and the rain were deafening. Thankfully the tent was snug and dry, and we weren't washed down the hill in the rain.

Rain paused for long enough for us to venture out again, (this is the view from Bonehill Rocks, down the valley beside Chinkwell and Honeybags Tors) Normally we would ride into Widecombe and tie ponies up at the pub, but this time we opted to walk out without them. There is always a fire going at The Old Inn, and good food, and it is a great place to warm up.

Wednesday dawned dark and roughly. We sat in the tent for as long as we could, putting off the moment of getting drenched, but there comes a point when you just have to brave it! We did, only to discover that little Cleo was lame. The day was looking grim, certainly for the children, and then - we were rescued! As we rounded the corner to the farmyard, there was my friend's husband with the horsebox. Completely out of contact as we were (no phone signal in the valleys) everyone was starting to worry about us out in the storms. The little ponies charged into the horsebox, quite desperate to get home, just leaving myself and Kathryn, and her daughter, to ride for home as fast as we could.

So we have finally recovered, none the worse for our adventure, apart from Cleo who has strained her tendon, but is looking much improved now.

1 comment:

Amy Abshier-Reyes said...

The kids look so unhappy; is it wrong that I'm giggling? And the fact that Red has a pig phobia is hilarious.
But what gorgeous countryside, in spite of the weather!


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