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An Early Impression of The Cheviot… With Guides and on Horseback! 
“As we mounted higher we found steeper than at first, also our Horses began to complain, and draw their Haunches up heavily, so we went very softly; However, we mov'd still, and went on, till the Height began to look really frightful, for, I must own, I wish'd myself down again; and now we found Use for the young Fellows that ran before us; for we began to fear, if our Horses should stumble or start, we might roll down the Hill together; and we began to talk of alighting, but our Guide call'd out and said, No, not yet, By and By you shall; and with that he bid the young Fellows take our Horses by the Headstalls of the Bridles, and lead them. They did so, and we rode up higher still, till at length our Hearts fail'd us all together, and we resolv'd to alight; and tho' our Guide mock'd us, yet he could not prevail or persuade us; so we work'd it upon our Feet, and with labour enough, and sometimes began to talk of going no farther.

We were the more uneasy about, mounting highery because we all had a Notion, that when we came to the Top, we should be just as upon a Pinnacle, that the Hill narrowed to a Point, and we should have only Room enough to stand, with a Precipice every way round us; and with these Apprehensions, we all sat down upon the Ground, and said we would go no farther.
Our Guide did not at first understand what we were apprehensive of; but at last by our Discourse he perceived the Mistake, and then not mocking our Fears, he told us, that indeed if it had been so, we had been in the Right, but he assur'd us, there was Room enough on the Top of the Hill to run a Race, if we thought fit, and we need not fear any thing of being blown off the Precipice, as we had suggested; so he Encouraging us we went on, and reach't the Top of the Hill in about half an Hour more.
I must acknowledge I was agreeably surprised, when coming to the Top of the Hill, I saw before me a smooth, and with respect to what we expected a most pleasant Plain, of at least half a Mile in Diameter; and in the Middle of it a large Pond, or little Lake of Water, and the Ground seeming to descend every way from the Edges of the Summit to the Pond, took off the little Terror of the first Prospect; for when we walkt towards the Pond, we could but just see over the Edge of the Hill; and this little Descent inwards, no doubt made the Pond, the Rain water all running thither.
The Day happen'd to be very clear, and to our great Satisfaction very Calm, otherwise the hight we were upon, would not have been without its Dangers. We saw plainly here the Smoke of the Salt-pans at Shields, at the Mouth of the Tyne, seven Miles below New Castle; and which was South about forty Miles.

Daniel Defoe 1726

 

 


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