Ride 57 (walk and lead): Autumn in the Air

Wednesday, 5th August, Cadeleigh to Yeoford, 13.5 miles

The past few days have felt decidedly Autumnal.  The air has been cooler and I picked my first hedgerow blackberry, giving one to Tommy too.  Of course, this is ideal conditions for walking.  Overcast and not too hot.

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We waited for the shower to pass before heading out of the barn, past the apple orchards and ponies in the field by the lane to where we left off yesterday.  Still hilly and my right heel is very sore making every step a pain-filled reminder of what this is all about.  I thank God that this is the only thing that hurts right now.  We are managing the hills and sometimes I place a hand on Tommy’s neck to help me up the long inclines.

Today, we pass a land that is littered with vineyards and apple orchards,

and beautiful gnarled trees twisted around rock shapes and field posts.

And an even stranger convention of these figures which I find at odd places lying in the hedgerow along the way, some looking as if they have had one too many and decidedly worse for wear.

My route takes us through the top of Crediton and by the time we get to Yeoford, I am feeling knackered, having had to weather a few inconsiderate car drivers such as one pulling a caravan who refused to slow down sending Tommy into a spin.

Tommy is staying at Hunterswood Stables where we head to first.  A stable is ready and waiting for him, immaculately laid out with a thick bed of straw.  The owner, Christine Weeks, is away on holiday at the moment (in Cornwall), but her stand in, Caron, is waiting for us to arrive.  Between them, they could not have been more helpful and I am so grateful for everything they did for Tommy to make him comfortable.

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I know immediately, Tommy will be taken good care of tonight, and Caron kindly drives me down the few hundred yards to Warren Farm B&B where I am staying the night, barely able to walk the distance.  Thankfully, Will has very kindly delivered my kit which is in the barn awaiting my arrival.  My hostess, Winnie is French and charmingly chic, invites me in even tho’ we are a bit early.  Winnie is a pilgrim who has walked the Santiago de Compostela route and understands a pilgrim’s path.  I waste no time in getting my feet up whilst admiring her huge collection of hens, in all their glorious shapes and guises.  With Winnie’s permission, I take these pictures for my friend, Jane Gray, in Cornwall who makes hen-themed artwork and is potty about all things fowl.

Lying prone for a couple of hours and feeling revived, I wander over to the Mare and Foal pub next door to discover they are not serving food tonight.  Seeing my disappointment, the landlady kindly offers to cook me some ham, egg and chips which I gratefully accept, ravenous beyond caring.  Then back over the cobbles to the tranquility of my room and the oblivion of sleep.

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