Jennifer Delaney is riding round
England in the footsteps of
Celia Fiennes who made her 'great journey' round England
in the late 17th Century
|Jennifer Delaney and Peggy, photographed just before they
set off on their English adventure.
Click on picture to enlarge
In 1689, Celia Fiennes engaged on her 'great journey' - a horse-ride around England. For anyone to ride around England in those days was rare; for a lady to do it without a large armed escort was unprecedented. Her journey took her from London to the Lakes; from East Anglia to Cornwall - all told, over one and a half thousand miles of poorly-mapped countryside, and the journal she kept is a fascinating picture of England prior to the Industrial Revolution.
Jennifer, a freelance journalist, and Peggy started their journey at Epping Forest, near London, on 22 April 2002. Jennifer is writing a column for The Daily Telegraph, and hopes the whole story will find its way into print at the end of the journey.
Jennifer and Peggy may not have to face the dangers of bandits and disease, as Celia would have done; the challenge for them lies in the sprawling cities, motorways, and the almost complete lack of inns with stables!
On 21 May 2002 Jennifer emailed The Long Riders' Guild to say,
"Tonight I am outside Chester and have one more day riding to the Wirrall. Then I shall be forced to put Peggy in a trailer as I cannot get through the built-up, traffic-ridden areas around Liverpool without endangering us both."
10th October 2002
Jennifer telephoned The Long Riders' Guild to let us know that she has completed her journey successfully, covering some 1,800 miles.
"It went very well indeed. Everybody was amazingly kind, and often people telephoned ahead to organise somewhere for me to stay the following night.
After having boxed Peggy to Preston, we rode up the West Coast to Kendal and on through the Lake District. Then we went along Hadrian's Wall to Durham on the East. From there we travelled through Harrogate in Yorkshire, back across to Cheshire, along the Welsh border to Shrewsbury, through the Black Country and on to the Cotswolds. When I got to Badminton, somebody said, 'Oh ride straight through the estate, the Duke doesn't mind - so we did! On to Bath, where my future mother-in-law lives, which we rode through on a Sunday. I even found a wonderful church in which to get married to my fiancÚ, Gideon!
From Bath we went to Wells, Glastonbury, Taunton, Exeter and all over the South West and made our way back to Salisbury. There Peggy had to have a rest because she had horrid saddle sores. I kept having to change saddles as she changed shape. In fact, saddle sores were the only bad thing about the whole trip.
From Salisbury we went into Hampshire, and ended our ride at Windsor Castle.
I have written an article which will appear in tomorrow's Daily Telegraph and I'll send you the exact link later today.
Now I am job-hunting, and Peggy is eating her head off in a field in Oxfordshire!"
Congratulations from The Long Riders' Guild on a successful trip, Jennifer.
Long Rider Elizabeth Barrett, who has been Jennifer's mentor on this ride, also followed in Celia's footsteps. For information about Elizabeth's book about her experiences, please click here.
Read more on Jennifer's website, www.greatjourney.co.uk
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