We are back again! Cobbie and I have had an action-packed month. We have had days out hunting with the Avon Vale, the Brocklesby, the Croome & West Warwickshire, the Cury, the Dulverton West and the Eggesford (Cobbie pictured above with the Eggesford kennels in the background) — details of each day to follow in my future blogs.
One of the biggest hurdles for our challenge was sorting out a mode of transport. Over the past six years I have used an Ifor Williams trailer and an Ifor Williams container on a Ford chassis, known affectionately as Lawerence the lorry or the bread van. Lawrence had served me well for doing second horses over the past six seasons, but he wasn’t what I envisaged going around the UK in.
So the search was on. I wanted a compact 7.5 tonne horse lorry. It needed a bit of living, a tack locker into the living and enough room for Cobbie and I, plus Mollie my two-year-old huntaway/Labrador cross.
Eventually, after looking at several, Lyn Chorlton and her father Bill had just the lorry advertised. On seeing the advert online, I rang Lyn straight away and made arrangements to be there (Grantham) the next morning. So after surprising the horses with an early breakfast, Mollie and I covered the 100 miles to Grantham to look at what would become our new lorry. It was just what I was looking for, and to cap it all off, it was also painted in the Warwickshire Hunt colours of black and red — perfect!
After striking the deal and paying (my bank balance definitely said ouch), we had to work out the logistics of picking it up. A plan was formed which involved me catching a train from Warwick to Grantham, where Bill would pick me up and drive me to their farm. All went smoothly, even though the fuel gauge was on empty to start with, and I had an incident free trip back to Warwickshire.
One of the most important jobs with the new lorry was to come up with a name. When we looked closely at him, he had hidden places that his respray hadn’t touched. These were the same purple as a well known brand of chocolate. So ‘Cadbury’ he became. Cadbury has worked perfectly so far. He has had to undergo or two modifications and these are still ongoing!
The first job was to make a bed. There was no way I could sleep on the luton as I get claustrophobic at the best of times. My long suffering partner Kim has been roped into doing some of the modifications. He devised a framework for a bed that packs away into the bench seat. Perfect! This leaves the luton free for storage of the 101 things I think I might need.
Cadbury has also had his skirt adjusted with the addition of two new lockers. One to take gas bottles and the other to store Cobbie’s food in. Essential jobs still to do are the electrics, including lights and fridge. Also connecting the gas to cooker and heater. At the moment I’m managing with camping equipment which all works really well, if not a bit basic. Oh and I mustn’t miss the addition of the Porta Potti!
One of the factors I hadn’t considered was Cobbie’s view on Cadbury. He has spent the past seven seasons with me travelling facing forwards. Needless to say he did not appreciate standing sideways to start with. He can be a bit of a panicker. Once on, he would just stand rigid and drip with sweat. I could see him thinking ‘bring back Lawerence’. However, after a month of hunting travelling in Cadbury, he now whinnies for him when we get back just like he did for Lawerence.
So now the mode of transport for ‘The Big Tour’ has been sorted, off we can go. Next time The Avon Vale take one.
To support Lynne & Cobbie’s big tour in aid of the Air Ambulance, please visit our Virgin Just Giving Page.