Sunday, 26 June 2011

Days 50 - 52

Day 50, 24th June

We set off at 9.30 after I had had breakfast and waited for a short shower to stop. It was a quite nice day; warm when I walked, a little cool when I rode, but at least dry. The scenery was also very nice as we went into the Eden Valley with the Pennines on the left and the Lake District on the right, we had some lovely views and quiet roads with very few cars.

Just before Penrith a lady came out to see us as we went by, so I asked whether there was a field and we could stay the night. The horses got the field, Maggie and I slept in the stable where they even brought us a heat lamp to keep cosy and the lady got some veggie burgers specially for me for dinner – thank you! :o)))

What a night! The weather forecast for the night was very bad, so I fell for the idea of sleeping in the comfortable looking stable. It was clean, they kindly even put some new sawdust and a large sheet on the ground and I thought it looked extremely cosy with my mat and sleeping bag on top as well as a heat lamp to go with it that would keep us nice and warm.

I spent a while writing the blog and did not think much of the few very little (1-2mm) small creepy crawlies that walked across my computer screen while I was at it. Little later, I went to sleep feeling warm and comfortable. Then... a few hours later, I woke up feeling all itchy! What was it? Maybe the slight breeze making my hair move? Hmmm, strange... but it itched so much... I hid inside the sleeping bag in case it was the breeze, but it wasn't much better... I turned round to the other end of the bed... no better... so I lay there wide awake at two o'clock in the morning and spent the rest of the night very restlessly. When I found it was still raining at six o'clock when the alarm rang, I stayed in bed a little longer reading and having breakfast, and that was when I noticed all these little insects crawling all around... grrrr, yuck! At least, knowing what it was, rubbing all my skin and head stopped the itching quickly.

That was my lesson – I will never again sleep anywhere outside a house without being in my tent!

After waiting for the rain to be only a slight drizzle, we managed to set off at just before ten o'clock in just the light rain gear. Then, despite the bad forecast, it stopped raining after a short time and we had a lovely day with the Lake District on our right and the Pennines on our left and some very nice views. Interestingly, we were in the sun all day while the clouds were being blown against the Pennines – how lucky that we were not on the still unfinished northern part of the Pennine Bridleway.

At just after four o'clock, we came down into the village of Crosby Ravenworth where a gentleman, who had just passed us further up the road, was waiting to speak to us. He told me it would be about seven miles to the next civilisation if we continued along our way as we would be out in the open fells. With a look up at the skies that threatened to make us very wet in the near future, we decided to stay somewhere in the village. The gentleman suggested to ask a farmer who we could see a little way up the road or, alternatively to ask at another farm and B&B that was in the village. We decided to ask there and he showed us where it was and went in to ask for us.

They were extremely helpful; the ponies got a lovely field with lots of lush grass – actually it was partly a football field, but the grass was so short in that part that the ponies probably would not have much reason to stay there. Actually the field was apparently always used when the travellers came through to go to Appleby, so mine were not the first horses there. I was even offered to sleep in the house, had a really long bath to get clean right through – what relaxation lying in the bath reading a book on my Kindle – and a tasty meal along with lots of nice conversation with the family. Thank you, it was lovely!

Day 52, 26th June

That was interesting waking up... it felt like no more than five minutes after going to sleep, but it was seven and a half hours, my Kindle was lying half under me and the bedside light was still on. I couldn't even remember having read anything in the evening; must have been unconscious within seconds. It must have been necessary after not sleeping well two nights in a row.
After the breakfast I was invited in to – thank you! - we set off at ten o'clock in order to head further southwards. It was a lovely day – warm, sunny, just a few clouds that did not look very menacing at all. I could hang my washing to Dino's saddle without a problem and it dried in no time.

We went up the hill through/across the fell from Crosby and then down into a valley by a good (despite the number of gates) bridleway – wow! Then we met our old friend the M6 motorway again, crossed it, lost it out of sight for a little while, went next to it, under it and then on a lovely little road in the hills beside it again, but far enough away so that we could hardly hear it. Well, I had switched the MP3 player on when we first started going along it, so kept the noise out a bit anyway.

At just after five o'clock, we found a farm where the ponies could have a lovely field to share with 15 lambs, the friendly neighbour came over to meet us and I got a shower and some dinner – with strawberries :o))) for pudding!

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