Sunday February 12th should be a big day for Warrior the book, Warrior the legend, and Warrior’s homeland. For Countryfile came to the Isle of Wight last week complete with Matt Baker and me on horseback taking us back to where it all began. Programme screens on 7pm BBC1 on the 12th.
Friday was the day the gods were kind. As you will see from the pictures it was a brilliant sunny morning in the West Wight and it didn’t need a TV programme to make riding a horse on the rolling hills above Brook a real delight. Even better Matt Baker clearly felt that too and his face as we finished our final gallop up towards the cameras was lit with the thrill of it. Do hope the cameras caught it.
The idea was that he and I should ride around the fields where Warrior was brought up and where he lived all his life bar the four years when he was in the Front Line in France from 1914 to 1918. Matt had not ridden for a year but as everyone knows is game for anything and told me that when he was with Blue Peter he even went swimming on horses from the Kings Troop RHA.
This time he had a lovely mare called Skyline kindly leant by Susie Sheldon and a marvellous great guy called Rowdie belonging to my brother in law Patrick Scott. At one stage Skyline got a touch fidgety but soon settled down and with any luck there should be some really spectacular pictures of Matt riding this gleaming bay with the Downs, and the sea and the white cliffs beyond Freshwater Bay dazzling in the sunshine.
Of course we are all thrilled for the promotion it will give not just the book but the whole of the West Wight. But sitting on horseback recalling what Warrior must have gone through in those years that he was away was really quite moving for both Matt and me. Let’s hope that come through and that M Baker survived his next assignment – Speed-dating-walking. Suppose someone’s got to do it.