Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Glen Lyon

From memory, I think this is Scotland's longest glen - no doubt someone will correct me if that's not the case. (Definitely the longest - Doogs). It is certainly one of the loveliest: we rode up a track which runs south of the River Lyon - exquisite riding (marred only by the unfeasibly large number of gates).

We have it to a fine art now- I lean down from the saddle and unsnib it and Doogs 'breasts' it open with his mighty chest - bad luck if it happens to open towards us though!

The afternoon saw us plodding up the glen in the afternoon heat: the ponies' expressions suggested this was becoming 'trudgery'. The heat and insects started to become oppressive, but we made the most of a breezy paddock at Cashlie hydro power station (no-one about on a Saturday afternoon) for a couple of hours grazing and snoozing.

The ponies were able to have a good drink and rehydrate - their pee had been getting a bit darker and their droppings firmer through the afternoon, although skin pinching thankfully showed no real signs of dehydration. (Apologies if this is too much information - but it is a good way to monitor how the ponies are doing. I'll spare you reports on my pee.)

Along with lots of gates goes a proliferation of cattlegrids - these were no real problem until the last one by the dam - nailed firmly shut, for ever and ever amen! I corralled the ponies and went in search of the shepherd, who wasn't home. Luckily I ran into the lovely Ken, who managed to produce a painter's board (all of 18" wide) which we laid over the cattlegrid and the ponies ballerina'd their way across, bless'em.

I do have to apologise to Ken for the shape of the board after Doogs had crossed it en pointe: slightly bananaed, to say the least.

This all took time...which meant we ended up setting up camp (in a midgey bog, in desperation) about 11pm. Not recommended for peaceful slumbers for any of us - closer to nature, my ****.

Thanks to the lovely lady in the Bridge of Balgie shop, Bev and Julie from Meggernie estate who separately stopped to see if we needed any help; the tourists who gave us donations for World Horse Welfare, and of course, the cheerful Ken, who gave up a large part of his evening to spite of commenting that he'd 'never heard of anything so weird' (as riding around Scotland.) Promise you Ken, there's a lot weirder than that (perfectly normal) activity!

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