Elizabeth Hill contacted me at the beginning of the year on the issue how to get sponsors. And when I heard about the trip she was doing and the joy she should, made me ask her if she couldn´t write a little article to be published a couple of days before she left. However, I just missed the deadline and she has travel her first few days with that great and romantic team of hers! this is really what it is all about, just the pure joy of travelling, having a break in life to get perspective and most of all, this is the way we humans are meant to do. Travel. Continuously on the move, not having a boss or somebody tell you what to do. Elizabeth are doing what we all should do! Read her report from her preparations and than head for her blog!
Riding around Britain
May we introduce ourselves? We are Artax, a 19-year-old Arab-Haflinger;
Dino, a 16-year-old Welsh B; Dazzy, a 13-year-old Shetland; Maggie, a
2-year-old water dog mix and Liza, a 30-year-old human, and we are
setting off in a few days to go on a little adventure that will take us
about 2000 miles around Britain.
Having ridden since I was five, worked with horses, toured with them,
lived in a few countries (the least of which from where I have my
passport), taught English to people from all over the world, I now find
myself back in Britain (yes, that’s where the passport is from),
unattached and with no better plans for what to do apart from the normal
work from early till late, with no prospect of change… it made me
wonder why I should just continue like that. Couldn’t I just stop
everything for a while and set off on a little adventure?
I’m in great need of it. I haven’t had a real holiday since 2007 when I
toured from Germany to Spain with my horses as a slightly different way
of “moving house”. I’ve been an English teacher for almost eight years,
but I hardly know the language’s country of origin because I have lived
abroad most of my life.
In short; it’s a perfect time to break out of normal life and set off to
do something just a tiny bit different.
The idea came about spontaneously in mid January 2011. I still had a lot
of the equipment from the last trip, so thought it would be a really
easy task to just train the horses, saddle them and go.
That was until I contacted the Long Riders’ Guild, told them about my
plans and suddenly got deep into all sorts of things. It was not going
to be like the last trip when I had just got the maps, done some
shopping and set off a bit over a month later. I was put in touch with
all sorts of interesting people who had all sorts of interesting
information and experience – thank you! Then I wondered why I should not
find some sponsors for the trip, then I thought it would be nice to
publish the story in some places and then there were of course charities
that do so much good and important work in Britain and rely heavily on
donations. Thus, this journey has already taken a slight turn from “a
quick escape from normal life” to a quite big project.
The shopping part was finally completed just a few days before the trip.
We are much better equipped than on the last journey. The amazing water
filter bottle should save me from any stomach problems; the Satmap GPS
is sure to make navigation much easier; Dino has a pack saddle from
Custom Pack Rigging that will make his job a lot easier; all the ponies
have brand new Easyboots kindly sponsored by Trelawne Equine, the UK
EasycareInc distributor; even Maggie has boots and a backpack for her
own water and food kindly sponsored by Accapi UK, who supply RuffWear
The physical part is also quite good. After three and a half months of
regular training, we all seem fit enough to set off.
And the charities - Wales Air Ambulance, Compassion in World Farming and
Lluest Horse and Pony Trust – are organised and now I just need to
collect money for them. Hopefully people will be very generous!
The route is more or less laid out now. We will be starting in South
Wales and heading in a straight line east over to the border between
Wales and England, from where we will turn north and follow the border
and Offa’s Dyke. In North Wales, we will turn eastwards again and go
over to the Pennines, thus missing the larger cities like Birmingham and
Manchester. There is apparently a very good bridleway that goes the full
length of the Pennines to the north of England. At the height of the
Lake District, we will turn off left again to go up nearer the coast and
into Scotland, where we plan to do a circle clockwise and then head back
by more or less the same way, apart from going around the west part of
Wales instead of the east. Sights on the way will be a lot of castles,
especially in Scotland, otherwise we have no special places to go yet.
Most nights, I will be camping and I have a mobile electric fence and
hobbles for the horses in case we do not find any place where they can
go on a field. Hopefully there will be a lot of nice people on the way
who will let us stay at their places and will not be frightened by the
odd sight of a girl with three ponies and a dog.
The trip is to take between three and five months, but there is no fixed
schedule; the plan is to just take things as they come and travel about
40km a day.
I have a blog, that will be updated as regularly as possible from the
road. Please stop by and have a read:
The Long Riders’ Guild has launched the world’s toughest equipment
test, to prove the durability of the famous Canadian adjustable
pack saddle. Can one pack saddle survive ten expeditions, made by
ten different Long Riders, in ten varied portions of the world,
over the course of ten years? Long Riders have already used
Kelly’s pack saddle to explore every continent except Antarctica.
Now Elizabeth will be the first to use it in Europe. Read more here!
© Copyright 2013 Explorer Mikael Strandberg | Photos and texts Copyright Explorer Mikael Strandberg