View from the Breakfast Room
(Horse Holiday Farm)
at the Beach
Breakfast in Donegal
at the Donegal Trail
Horse Holiday Farm
the Sligo Beaches
are not into wild deserted beaches, crashing surf, rugged
outcrops and the smell of peat fires you won't enjoy this
at all. If you detest the thought of long days in the saddle,
hot toddies by a roaring fire,the smack of a salty wind on
your cheek, five star food and probably the best view of
any breakfast room anywhere in the world you'd better move.
however, a short riding break at the Grange Horse Holiday Farm,
situated on the Sligo-Donegal border, constitutes the perfect
holiday. I arrived in trepidation. What had sounded a good
idea a couple of months earlier now seemed ridiculously ambitious
for a novice rider. I departed achingly healthy from head to
toe in the sure knowledge that I had heaver felt happier. I
was also cursing inwardly that I hadn't discovered Anhold and
slice of paradise 20 years ago, when the body was more able. On the first
day I pitched up early, tiptoed through the open frond door and found
a note inviting me to raid the fridge, it's that kind of place. We went
down to Trawalua beach - four miles long, huge 20 foot waves crashing
half a mile out to sea and not a soul in sight. The strand of your dreams.
A slight nudge in Cormack´s ribs and we were galloping away. Sheer
terror at first, then cautious enjoymtent and finally shrieks of joy.
We slowed to a walk. Can we do that again? And again. Absolutely brilliant.
two days were entirely different, I was paired with two very
experienced Belgian trail riders, Peter and Natalie, to undertake
the first two days of the seven-day Donegal trail. Luckily
we got on like a house on fire although as you get to know
Anhold, universally known as Tilman, you realise luck had nothing
to do with it. He is, if anything, a better judge of humans
than horses and he's renowned throughout Ireland for the latter.
Peter seemed a little difficult, a perfectionist who worried
over small details. But Tilman had immediately spotted that
Peter was also a superb and caring horseman who simply loved
to share his knowledge and skill - a born teacher. Natalie
was a fine rider and the most even-tempered of companions,
the perfect foil. Both had fallen in love with Donegal and
Tilman quickly sussed that although a novice rider I was determined
to stay the course. He also knew I had been visiting the area
for 20 years and would happily act as unofficial tour guide.
Within half an hour we were mates for life.
day started badly in that our planned 1 pm start from a trail
just north of the Bamesmore Gap across the Donegal Highlands
to the mountain village of Letterhillue was delayed by a nasty
traffic accident. We eventually set off on a glorious late
autumn evening across the hiIls, four hours hard riding in
prospect to find our bed and breakfast where a piping beef
stew awaited, though only after we had fed and cleaned the
horses. In fact, driven on by Peter, we made cracking time
although we still needed his torch as we clip-clopped down
the lane in Letterhillue.
day was a 20 mile marathon aross equally, beautiful rugged
terrain. I was really tired my back was shurting, my butt was
sore and I even had to walk the last two miles with my horse
but I wouldn't swap that day for anything. The scenery; the
isolation, the birdsong, the yarning and the certain knowledge
that for today at least nobody in the world was in a more beautiful
setting or having a better time.
my trail ended. The next moming Tilman picked me up and I was
back at the Grange ploughing through some pressing work on
the laptop. Working in their breakfast room, the hub of the
entire farm is something only those with a pressing deadline
can undertake. The view is utterly gorgeous and unique - they
ought to have a webcam simply trained on that view, a cult
site for sure.
I loved the
mountains but when I go again - I shall before my three score
and ten are up - I'm going to spend more time riding on the
beaches. Much easier on the back. They say that on certain
days and given certain tide conditions you could ride a full
25 miles on the beaches south along the Sligo coast if you
or the horse have the energy.
a magical part of the world that moves people to lyricism.
Helene Lardav, from Sweden, caught the mood perfectly when
she quoted W B Yeates in the comments book 'To see a world
in a grain of sand; Or heaven in a wild flower; To hold eternity
in your hand; And infinity for an hour."
practical Peter was also moved: "A day on this trail is
like a weeks holiday, a week on trail is like a month away.
You pack so much in." A veteran of just about every great
ride in the world he and Natalie went on to complete seven
days of the Donegaltrail and pronounced it as the best ever.
Their other highlight, he insisted, was learning how to make
and drink hot toddies.
Heaven knows we practiced enough.
Horse Holiday Farm Ltd.
Grange County Sligo Ireland
Telephone : (071) 9166152
Fax : (071) 9166400
From Europe Telephone : 00 353 71 9166152
Fax : 00 353 71 9166400
Anfrage und Reservierung
zur Horse Holiday Farm
The Horse Holiday Farm is Bord Fáilte (Irish Tourist Board) approved
a member of A.I.R.E., the Association of Irish Riding Establishments.