Thursday, 12 July 2012


June 15th.
It was nice to have a day off before my final day's riding in France, the more so because it gave me a chance to look at Anais's Welsh ponies, including a little gelding Cwrtycadno Rhys which I bred and sold to France as a youngster.  Here he is with Anais..
 A dawn start the following morning, and Anais's Welsh pony stallion Cadlan Valley Pirate comes to the gate to see us off..
Through the Foret D'Eawy not too far from Val Ygot..
which was a V-1 flying bomb launch site in World War II.  Fortunately the site was disabled in 1943 before completion, but the Germans went on to launch 'doodlebugs' against Britain from other sites from June 1944 until October 1944 when the last site within range of Britain was overrun.  Even during this short period the bombs caused great loss of life and injury, more than 6000 Londoners being killed by V-1 bombs.
I had hoped to visit the site en route through the forest, but somehow missed it.

At Freuville I was able to join the Avenue Verte..
This is a 250 mile London-Paris cycle path running from the London Eye to the Notre Dame via the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry.  There did not seem to be problem taking a horse along it, and in fact there was even a farrier right beside the track at Dampierre Saint Nicholas!

Zorbee looks thankful to have passed his final test on the GRP above St Aubin-le-cauf...
 ...a narrow path across a field between two strands of barbed wire.  I just prayed some skittish bullocks would not appear when I was halfway across!

and finally I reach the English Channel, (or should I say La Manche as we are on the French side!) to successfully complete the coast to coast crossing of Eurasia over three and half years after I began on the Chinese coast in 2008!  As far as I am aware, I am the first person to do this - but perhaps you know different?  You can just see Dieppe in the background.
But no flag waving crowds or brass bands there to greet us - only a rather bemused pair of swimmers on a damp day.

Zorbee had been a little reluctant to load when I initially collected him, but Mike and I had given him a few last minute loading lessons in the week up to our arrival in Dieppe, and he walked onto the lorry with no hesitation.     Then it was back to friend Ingrid Delaitre's to rejoin Zahira - the Shagya mare I had brought from Hungary.  Many thanks Ingrid for looking after her so well while I was riding across France!
A couple of days later all the horses (Zorbee, Zahira, Bolly) loaded quietly onto the lorry for the ferry to Newhaven.

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