Sunday 8 December. We had finished but still had to get home. He was standing by the gate of the field with an alert and lets get on with it look about him. I thought he does know this is a home run. So, after breakfast, we tacked up again and set off up the drive to reach the bridleway. On the steep bit of the hill he chose to trot. It is easier than a plod at a walk and he wanted to get on. That was fine but when we turned to go down the steeper grass slope I did wonder how we were going to do 16 miles with this level of impatience. He calmed down and we went back along Broadway High Street without any fuss, though the marquees and tents on the green were all billowing which did attract careful watching and need an extra yard of road width going past. We trotted up to Snowshill and then walked on.
We were due at Lower Langley by 2 pm so I was aiming to be in Winchcombe around 1.30 and, inevitably, when I am worried at the possibility of being late, we were running early and tied up on the hill above Sudeley for a bit. I had some lunch and Strider expressed his annoyance at the delay by fidgetting and damaging both the lights on his front saddlebags on the gate he was tied up to. I rode him down the hill very carefully as it is steep and the road is slippery. Further down a car passed us and stopped and out got Edward and Alison, pleased to see us and delighted that we had got home. In Winchcombe we met Angie on Santa (he was looking impressively clean which as a grey that loves rolling in anything he can gives Angie a lot of work) and Rachel on Gina who is impressively big. They had come to escort me the last few miles and turned back to join us. At Lower Langley Sian had gathered friends, and produced champagne and was holding a large donation the riding school had raised for the charities. A brilliant homecoming from somewhere that Christine, Chloe and I had all ridden at and been grateful for excellent tuition in years gone by. Santa and Gina stood as steady as a police escort while i made my visit and then Christine and Chloe arrived to join the event. From Lower Langley we rode on up the lane, crossed the main road to the common and came down the lane from the golf club, our route on so many, many hacks. And then it was the last quarter mile to the yard where there was another welcoming party. Home! Seven months and 2,674 miles. Back to his stable.
Thankyou to all the people who have made it possible and to all those who have supported the charities and costs of the ride. THANKYOU
I will add to the blog as news of talks and other events comes up. Meanwhile the donation total is up around £48,000 and I hope to drive it up to around double that over the next year.