28 July 2015 | Luarco, Spain 43’32.87N 6’32.08W – Ribadesella, Spain 43’27.81N 5’03.71W via Laurno
Some sports are dangerous in the extreme and can cause the participants great discomfort whilst competing. If you goad a crocodile with a sharp stick then you expect that things will probably not end well, or if you're in the front row of a scrum then at some point you're going to have your head in some smelly blokes crotch and feel sick to your stomach with the smell. Two activities that you would expect to be soft and gentle are sailing and show jumping and in both cases we have challenged the usual perception and found them extreme and uncomfortable.
As we left Luarco Iain felt like the chap in the scrum. The sky was grey, the horizon unclear and the contents of his stomach wanted to see the light of day again. As Iain hurled with all his might the thought of sniffing a smelly blokes crotch seemed preferable to the affliction of seasickness. Fiona in her own special way, instead of holding Iain's hair out of his vomit and comforting him, sat and read books, or pottered about while having cravings for the sick making treat of egg mayo sandwiches.
Finally rounding to corner into the sheltered bay of Laurno Iain got away from the proverbial stinky crotch and felt a new lease of life. The environs of the bay were alive. Thousands of people sunned themselves on the long stretch of sandy beach while above on the cliffs, loudspeakers announced unintelligible, but clearly exciting things, as flags fluttered giving the massed crowds some shade. Luarno looked like fun.
Taking to the hills we found the genteel sport of show jumping and at the highest of high levels. This was the national championship. All around us the finest beasts were groomed, warmed up and then set loose in the arena. No expense had been spared at this high level of competition from the top of the horses heads to the bottom of their feet and we were about to get a close and personal view of this investment.
We settled down by a set of 3 challenging fences that looked too high for anything equine to clear and watched in awe as horse after horse flew over them. Then disaster struck. A beast refused his masters command, reared up and threw a heavy metal shoe.
The shoe soared high into the sky until it was a mere dot and then the effects of gravity started taking over. As it plummeted towards the ground it was heading straight for Iain, who had to make a life or death decision. Protect himself and his lovely wife from the incoming object or snivel like a coward and hope for the best.
Like Batfink, with his shield of steel, Iain rose up and swatted away the offending lump of steel as it flew through the air, like it was nothing more than a fly. With this simple brave task he showed that show jumping is dangerous in the extreme for the crowd and revelled in his now found fame. The smile however quickly dropped from his face as the bruising on his arm grew and the reality of the danger the shoe posed, complete with studs and nails, to his overall wellbeing became apparent.
This really was a full on a knarly full contact; for the spectators!
Looking for a less dangerous pastime and after doing an awful lot of very painful administration (which made being impaled by a horseshoe look like fun) we have pushed on under the gaze of the Picos de Europa where rain is set to fall and mountains are set to be climbed
A stormy morning awaits us offshore.
Iain is not enjoying his trip.
That's a view we've not seen in a long time. The beach at Laurno is popular.
Jump horsey jump.
Iain with his prized 'shoe'.
Ruffian the Chinese laundry.
Poor things. They've got a 250mile beat to get here.
Ahhh. Ruffian, anchor, flat seas.
The paths go on and on and on.
We really need to invest in a selfie stick.
The coastline is dramatic with the Pico's de Europa towering over us.