Ride 8: Ward Ways

Thursday, 14th May, Newbrough to Allendale, 15.54 miles

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I could have cut down through Haydon Bridge and shaved several miles off our journey today

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but I decide to take the scenic route over Haydon Fell and Muckle Moss, dropping in to see Helene, a friend of Annie’s, for some welcome refreshment: a cup of coffee and some fruit for me and a bucket of water and some carrots for Tommy.

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On the way to Beacon Rigg, we have to cross an iron bridge over the River Allen. I know this would be challenging for T so I get off to lead him across. The iron plates that make up the floor of the bridge against the iron plates of his shoes under half a ton of horse makes it a very clattery business indeed and we make our way across rather gingerly. I’m thinking, this is good practice for the metal ramps on our King Harry ferry crossing later.

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Despite the early sunshine, by the afternoon it has become cold and grey.  We stop to watch a family herd their cattle up the lane to new pastures.

Climbing the hills has kept us warm but we are grateful to arrive at Gayle and Brian’s farm where there is a stable and some hay that looks like it was cut yesterday, for T and a welcome cup of tea and a cheese scone for me.  Gayle shows me to the tack room where there is a roaring fire in the stove making it a wonderfully warm and cosy place to dry out tack, especially after a days hunting.  Brian tells me the single lane tracks around here that we have been walking along today are known as ward ways. This is a lovely farming family who are also associated with the Haydon Hunt, Brian being one of the joint Masters and he kindly suggests I take some contact details of hunt people in areas where we are short of accommodation. The following morning, Gayle packs me a sandwich for lunch and before we leave, I ask her if I can visit the lambs in the big barn. Adorable

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