Category Archives: Coastal Path

Escaped! With a donkey or two, some family and friends…

We all need to escape sometimes. My particular sort of escaping is usually under her arm as she opens the gate. I tear off into the field with the long grass and I see how many greedy mouthfuls of grass I can stuff down me before she catches up with me again. I have been known to trot off up the farm lane, but if I’m honest, I don’t like being too far away from my friends, so I usually wander back myself. Escaping is OK, but I don’t want to be lost and lonely.

My friends Hannah and Chico fancied escaping – well Hannah fancied it and Chico got roped in as well. I don’t know whether she was after some greener grass, but Hannah’s idea was to walk right around Wales (a seriously long way). She trained up Chico on the way (hehehe) and he had some of his own ideas as well. Sarah and she and I met up with Hannah and escaped with her for the day. She had nearly finished her walk by then and she had some very diverting tales to tell. Chico is a cool guy who doesn’t say a lot, but he had got Hannah organised by the time they reached our patch – and by now they had another donkey called Flo, in tow. Well, I should say Flo had Chico in tow – seemed he had found the woman of his dreams…

You can read about our escape with Hannah earlier in this blog: https://hooveswho.com/2013/11/03/donkey-walking/ but I have some excellent news! Hannah has written the book!

Hannah book

Hannah made quite a number of discoveries on her journey and she shares them in a very honest and fearless way.  Guess walking makes you brave, donkeys make you forget yourself and family make you proud.

Don’t take the word of a pony though – even if he has been immortalised in print. Go and buy a copy – you too can escape!

http://seasidedonkey.co.uk/

Hannah sign

Some more donkey thoughts

As Hannah, Chico and Florence make their triumphant return to Aberystwyth (1000 miles, Hooray!), I have been reflecting on my new donkey friends. I can see there is a lot to know about them, because they are not ponies like me, although they may be equine.

Good morning team!

Good morning team!

The thing is, those two donkeys are quite different and both deserve my respect for their enduring qualities. Chico is a ‘go to’ man, with a distinctly Mediterranean air about him. He is a big, rangy donkey with a long and steady stride. His coat is fine and shiny, as though he comes from a hotter country than this one. He wears a rain jacket because his coat contains no grease to keep him warm like mine does. Hannah weighs the luggage carefully so that his pack is always properly loaded and he carries it with ease. He likes to meet new friends and is always up for an extra carrot, but then he walks again. He knows his job.

Florence joined the team near the end of their walk. She is a traditional British looking donkey with a thick coat, well-designed to protect her from the elements. She has taken to walking really well and seems very interested in each new experience. I am sorry to say that she did NOT appreciate my showing off, and turned her back when I pranced about. But we share a quality – our skill in PR. Flo is definitely the donkey diplomat of this pair. She greets new people with affection and prettily pricked ears, and endures any amount of hugging and admiration, carrots or not.

How are we doing, donks?

How are we doing, donks?

Hannah is lucky to have found two such interesting friends to share her journey. I hope I will see them again one day.

Donkey Walking

is my new favourite thing! On Friday, I set out in the rain to meet Hannah and Chico, he is the famous Seaside Donkey. Hannah and Chico, by the time I met them, had already walked 960 miles around the perimeter of Wales. They were now on the home stretch; I had never met a donkey, so I joined them for the day on their walk. They have used the coastal path where possible, but today, I needed to show them the bridleways, because the path has stiles.

First off, I brought them back to my place for a coffee stop and a rest – they had just climbed one of our famously steep hills from Tresaith to here.

Hannah is loading Chico's saddle.

Hannah is loading Chico’s saddle.

After an hour, and lunch for the donks and me, we set off for Llangranog (I wore my poppy today, to remember all the brave horses who suffered in the name of freedom). DId I mention that Chico and Hannah had gained a donkey only the day before? They met Florence at a camp site and decided to take her back to Aberystwyth with them (she has never been there).

Briefing the donkeys about the route

Briefing the donkeys about the route

As long as we are off the road, Chico is allowed off the lead rein. He is an old hand at walking and would follow Hannah anywhere. Florence is new to this game – this was only her second day! While Hannah bothered with her, Chico was quite happy to follow me. Brainy guys, these donks.

On our way up the lane we passed Paula and Hari. I don’t think they had seen a donkey before either!

What on earth are they?

What on earth are they?

The rain continued, and Hannah was busy on her phone, sorting out her accommodation for the night. This is a great and simple freedom, just walking with donkeys and ending up somewhere different each evening.

Mum, bring me some dry pants please!

Mum, bring me some dry pants please!

Negotiating the steep Parish Road down to Penbryn was easy for me and the donkeys, but entailed a bit of swearing from others about the muddy bit. When we got to the beach car park, the Cartws Cafe was open and they treated the muddy ones to a drink. We said ‘Hi’ to a few fans and moved steadily on our way.

How are we doing, donks?

How are we doing, donks?

Next was the best bit. We found a path up the hill and through the trees!

What a brilliant track!

What a brilliant track!

Then Hannah said she wanted to lead me –  she is not familiar with pony walking. I was pretty well behaved, all things considered. I like Hannah; she and I have a lot in common – we both have positive mental attitude.

Hannah and I (I am NOT a donkey)

Hannah and I (I am NOT a donkey)

We are both good walkers as well. Quite soon we were well ahead of her and the donkeys, but fortunately, they managed without us.

We don't hang around, Han and me.

We don’t hang around, Han and me.

I think she was having a bit of a daydream actually. I could hear her rabbiting away to both donkeys, like she does. It’s a lovely gentle thing to do, is donkey walking.

Sally is in charge of the donks for a while

Sally is in charge of the donks for a while

Soon we reached the turning onto the lane to MaesyMorfa, where Hannah and the donkeys were going to stay the night. I set off for home, because it would soon be dark.

I met a new friend on the way home!

I met a new friend on the way home!

This was the furthest I had ever walked in my life and I had the best time! She always comes to see I am OK, late in the evening when we have had a day out. That night, she brought a carrot and she said she was proud of me. Well, I can understand that.