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“The Carriage Drive” 9-20-09

On Sunday, September 20th, I went on a carriage drive with eight different buggy’s and all kinds of horses, through Coquetdale (or the Coquet river Valley) all around Rothbury.

Grahm's Boys

Graham's Boys

This is a drawing I did after the drive while looking at one of my photos on the computer screen. It was WAY too bumpy to even consider sketching while on the drive. This was done with a permanent ink pen with no preliminary pencil sketch, so I had to plan as I sketched because you can’t erase.

View above Coquetdale 2

View above Coquetdale

A bit about the carriage drive. It’s hard to pick out just a few pictures. As you can imagine on an 8 mile pony trek through some of the most beautiful English countryside while in the back of a 4 wheeled horse cart, left me with lots of photos. The day was perfect, a bit breezy but no rain and no dark clouds!

Sheep above Coquetdale

Sheep above Coquetdale

Through a farmers field with gorgeous views of Coquetdale below.

I got to ride in a 4 wheel buggy as I said, pulled by a team of two, half-brother horses. They were perfectly matched though, both dark brown. They were only 4 years old so young by standards of experience and the owner, Graham, was thrilled at how well they did.

Butterknowes Mare

Butterknowes Mare

This is a water color pencil sketch I did once again after the drive. I used one black pencil and a waterbrush to do it.  It was a mare in the field we passed, the gate read, “Butterknowes”, that’s the farm name. Any time we passed a field with horses they all galloped around and bucked, you could feel their excitement! This mare had a foal and they did the same thing, running along the fence as we passed, it was really exciting.

Driving a buggy can be dangerous stuff though, all in the cart had riding helmets on in case of a tip over, me…well I didn’t have one. I had to just hope the horses and terrain would cooperate! There were some parts where we had to duck from tree branches over an old railway line, where the steep bank was just a step away; and parts where the road was so bumpy I held myself up off the seat by partial standing and using my arms. I just couldn’t take the bumps with my back. But other than that it was relaxing and fun.

On the highway

On the highway

This is the buggy that was just behind us in the first part, then we switched positions so our horses could feel secure and follow.

We went through farmers fields, on a two lane paved ‘highway’, on old railroad lines, on country dirt roads (complete with pot holes!), through many field gates, up past the Simonside Hills and moors covered with bracken and heather, to swing down through gorgeous mature pine forests and then into Rothbury, a quiet little town in Coquetdale (the River Coquet valley).

Pausing at the parking area

Pausing at the parking area of Simonside

We had a brief pause at the parking area  near Simonside in the open moorland areas. We were trying to let the others catch up. It was windy and cold up here, but we couldn’t stand long or the horses would chill.

Tower at Rothbury

Tower at Rothbury

This is the old tower just outside of Rothbury, I’m not sure if it was used to look out for invading Scots or not? I have to find out.

Coming home

Coming home

Everyone filed in after the drive to June’s farm at East Raw, June’s the shepherdess who hosted the drive. The buggy in the back with the gorgeous chestnut horse is June with her groomswoman (or gate opener!) Becky. The cart in front is a lady from Scotland who came down just for the drive, with her Shetland Pony.

Chester sweated

Chester sweated

What can I say? Is this not a perfect looking horse?! (June’s horse Chester)

After the drive

After the drive

I’ll leave you with this picture of the buggy I rode in, with these two chaps having a talk over it, under a huge ancient tree. Sigh…a perfect day. I feel some horse paintings coming soon.

2 comments to “The Carriage Drive” 9-20-09

  • Dad

    I enjoyed your commentary of the drive it must have been a lot of fun that day,nice pictures and sketches. LOVE dAD

  • Hi Dad! Thanks so much, you know if I was home I’d be on the phone telling you all about it the next day, it was marvelous. I can’t wait to do some new horse paintings now. Keep watching for Hedgehog paintings too!

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