Thursday, 30 June 2011

Day 55, 29th June

Another lovely day in Britain. It was so sunny in the morning that I was actually really warm in the tent at 6.15 in the morning when I woke up about 30 seconds before the alarm rang. I took a while getting up, not that I wasn't fit or the weather wasn't good enough to get going, but I continued to read a book – Midnight Sun (for the second time) – while I ate my dry muesli (very tasty!) and got so engrossed that I couldn't put it down for a while. But it did not matter. That way the ponies could rest and eat more and it was not quite so important to set off early as we knew where we were going in the evening.
We crossed known paths twice during the day. Interestingly, when we first got to the known part, Artax, recognising it immediately, wanted to go back north, which would have taken us in a little circle back to Airton where we had spent the last night. Yes, they had liked it there and had not been at all motivated to come to me or follow me when it was time to get them ready. After a few miles on the known road, we sent in a different direction again, which would keep us further away from large roads than on the way up and instead go through the Dales in more wild country.
I met two men along the way, one of whom said his son was a photographer for the local paper in Craven, so he said he'd call him to tell him about us. He took the phone from his pocked to dial, but it rang his end first with his son calling him. He told him about us and it turned out he already had my number from when the other gentleman had called the paper the day before. This time he did get in touch with me and we met in a village along the way to take some photos. I hope I can get some of them, they are surely really good.
Maggie, as always when she's feeling warm, had a couple of baths again. When the river – or whichever hole with water – isn't deep enough, to get quite wet, she always has a lie down for a proper cool off and is then ready to be on her way again a very short time later.

The second time we came along a known way was at the entrance to the property where we stayed. We had come to it from the other direction, so the horses had no idea until we got to the turnoff, at which point they looked and turned into it as if it were the most normal thing to do, like going home to their own stable. It's quite amazing how they know, or at least Artax. It is hard to tell with the little ones as they are somehow like passengers in a car and play a more passive role when it comes to directions, whereas Artax is always the leader, and a very observant one. We found a warm welcome again and the ponies were happy on their field that even had more grass than the time before.

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