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Bewl Water Trail Ride

You have to be an early bird to enjoy life with a horse. Even when, like me, you are fortunate to have him in livery and someone else doing the dirty work at dawn; any kind of event with him involves getting up with the lark and getting him aboard for a haul off somewhere. And after a hard night out with the rain sipping down, it’s not hard to wonder about the sanity of it all.

It was one of those days. Too much fun the night before and pelting down after a week of “severe weather warnings” on the TV. Snug under the duvet, I had severe misgivings about the point of a 12 ½ mile ride but the thought of George all spruce in his day sheet eagerly awaiting a day out with his mates was the deciding factor. Blearily gathering up our wet weather gear, I set out for the stables with the windscreen wipers struggling to cope…

It rained while we were loading, it rained all the way to Bewl Water and it rained while we were tacking up. But, miraculously, as we headed out, it stopped.  And, later, as in all tales with a happy ending, the sun came out.

For this was a happy outcome. The management at Bewl cannot do enough to help horse riders (which some might say is refreshing) and, after paying £6 entry, we were guided to a parking area dedicated for horse boxes and trailers. The way round was clearly marked and, bless them, they even have signs up advising that horses have priority over mountain bikes.

It is possible to go around the lake without getting onto public roads but 12 ½ miles without a comfort break isn’t attractive and, as the lanes at the back of the lake are very quiet (we came across one carefully driven car), it’s worth taking a slight detour out to Three Leg Cross and The Bull Inn. That falls handily around the half way mark and we reached there after just over 2 hours steady riding (not above an occasional brisk jog!).

The Bull provides an enthusiastic welcome for equine travellers with a hitching rail in the car park, a good selection of real ale and a wide range of reasonably priced well cooked food. A slight problem we encountered was that the hitching rail is sited next to a makeshift pond made of straw bales (yes, really!) and horses being horses, we felt it advisable to take it in turns to sit with them while everyone had a bite to eat rather than return to a car park full of ornamental fish! It was a welcome and refreshing break.

The sun showed itself as we set out on the second half of the ride and the scenery became even more stunning with some spectacular cloudscapes across the water. Sadly, with a horse to manage as well, proper photography was not an option – you had to be there to get it and it’s well worth making the effort. We got back to the car park at about 4 o’clock.

A good day out – give it a try sometime…

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