Ages ago, I had booked a day-long horseback ride at a reputable stable on the Isle of Skye in Scotland while I was hiking around there. Have you been? Go. Skye is a wild, lovely place. Then I promptly canceled my ride when I found out about another stable that did beach rides on Clydesdales, which made pony trekking through the highlands seem kind of a dull.
A fantastic time was had, and it was a highlight of that entire trip, and I kept it in my mind as something I had to do again. I had looked up the stables a few years later and I was selfishly disappointed to find out they had picked up and moved to the Lakes District and were doing bigger, longer rides, and they had rebranded themselves as Cumbrian Heavy Horses. One rather booze fueled night, I informed a friend about them, and one thing led to another and we ended up booking a ride.
A train ride through the blindingly green countryside out of Scotland brought us to the small village of Windermere, where we headed to a nearby farmhouse inn. There are tons of little farmhouses here that rent out rooms for a little extra income.
A little damp, but the whole area was gorgeous. I instantly took to the place- there are hiking trails and walking trails and bridle paths that criss cross the hills and forest, dotted with perfectly quaint farmhouses, hedgerows, stone walls, and fields of sheep and cows and horses.
It was unseasonably warm (or so I was told) but the first smattering of fall colors were starting to show.
And then, our steeds arrived.
Enormous, gracious, and docile beast.
Time to ride.