Marty and the First Hike In Wales

Earlier in the week, I took Marty out on a hike to see if we could find a circuitous route with minimal traffic – so far we’ve only been up and then down the same roads. The map said our nearest bridleway was just to the left of the next village, and that it would bring us back round in a nice loop; but when we hiked there, we realised that it was accessed from a very busy road.

As many of the public rights of way round here are either unmarked and / or inaccessible, I didn’t want to risk leading Marty down such a busy stretch in case the promised bridleway did not materialise. Fortunately Ben and his navigating skills had come with us and he suggested crossing straight over the busy road and going on a slightly longer circuit beyond. This gave us a neat, 5.5 mile loop along very quiet country lanes – apart from the busy road crossing, which we did twice, we only met two cars on the entire journey – and even gave Marty his first distant glimpse of the sea. I’m not sure he knew what he was looking at.

Ben being with us also meant we got some photos! So come along on a hike with us…

 

The lane our farm is on is a dead end, and it turns into this permissible track which we think is an old droveway. Much like the hollow ways of the Punchbowl back in Surrey, Marty finds the confined space a little worrying, but he tries very hard.

 

After crossing the busy road, we passed by some very picturesque houses and met a very beautiful palomino pony in a field by the roadside, who was blissfully unaware of our presence until the last minute.

 

It’s very pretty over here!

 

This huge structure was the remains of an 18th century lime kiln; there were multiple openings along the roadside. Tiny stalactites had even formed in the entrance!

 

The sky is a bit overexposed here – we were walking into the sun so it was very difficult to get photos, mine didn’t come out any better – so you can’t see where it ends and the sea begins, but we could see it from this point.

 

Getting the perfect faked through-the-ears photo!

 

And this was what I was trying to get a picture of – standing stones down in the field.

 

Marty also saw windmills up close for the first time!

 

When we were on the pack trip in Austria, I noticed that when faced with an uphill climb many people would send their mules or horses on ahead and hold onto their tails to pull themselves up. I’m not sure that I actually want to hang off my mules’ tails, but I do want them to be happy with me leading from behind and handling their tail, just in case I did need to some day. It’s one of those things that will probably never have any practical application but is still useful to do.

 

We crossed back across the busy road and oh, look, another hill…

 

Luckily I have my buddy to help me up it! Also peach-coloured underpants. Huh.

 

That hill really was deceptively steep. Marty could have climbed another fifty of ’em, no problem.

 

Contrary to what the images might suggest, we didn’t actually leave poor Ben trailing along behind us for the entire walk like weary paparazzi. It’s just that the ‘from behind’ shots made the better pictures!

Marty and I are both very fast walkers, though. It suits us both. I like to play a game and give “purpose” to our hikes by pretending that it’s our job to inspect the local trails and make sure everything is in order. We’re not rushing, but we can’t dawdle, either. We’ve got to get things done! Hit some targets! Maybe finally get that raise…!

Oki, maybe I’m taking this make-believe game a little too far.

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Mulographer Sari

Sari was raised by cats which accounts for her solitary nature, occasional mania, and attraction to shiny objects. After riding and being around horses for 22 years, she discovered that she was, in fact, a mule girl and fell hopelessly in love with these extraordinary creatures. She lives in England and is married to Ben, who is potentially the best Ben who ever Benned.

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