The next morning we awoke just before daylight after an eventful night.
Thunderstorms had followed us there and dumped rain on us just as we arrived the day before. They had cleared for a while but came back overnight and the heavy rain found its way through the opening in the hut that passed for a window.
Not only that but the front door seemed content to allow itself to be pushed around by the wind creaking or banging loud enough to wake us.
This was also the first night that we had slept in our new super duper -2°C sleeping bags. Comfy they were, cold they weren’t. We both boiled and spent the night tossing the top off as we fried and then back on again as we froze a few moments later.
So we awoke the next morning grouchy. I was ready to give that damn pony of mine a piece of my mind, if even it so much looked like going off the track. But events had already got ahead of me. Black Label had been demoted! David now rode him and I rode David’s steed Black Cat.
Now Black Cat was my sort of horse, this bloke was strong, sure footed, docile and to my surprise obedient. He obeyed my every command, something I had never experienced in an animal, or come to think of it in a human, before.
The journey back was, despite aching limbs, muscles and rear end, (I never realised how many muscles are used in riding), very pleasant.
Gentle descends and ascends into valleys of green, cradled by perfectly formed grass covered hills and mountains of varying shapes and sizes.
Occasionally we would see the odd cluster of thatched roofs in the distance, perched on a small plateau or down in a valley. Despite being kept at arm’s length from the villages we still saw plenty of traffic on the track.
Unlike the hordes of pedestrians in South Africa these people seemed to have a destination or purpose for their travel. Men and boys on ponies were herding livestock; women on foot were carrying firewood or crops.