Tag Archives: Aberystwyth

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.