A FORGOTTEN photograph from half a world away has shed new light on the fascinating story of a young woman's 250-mile horseback ride.

Cynthia Reid was just 22 when she embarked on her epic journey from Essex to Yorkshire to see her parents in 1949 - and now the story has come to the fore again after a relative in Australia unearthed a photograph of her home-coming.

Cynthia, whose maiden named was Wheatley, received the photograph from her cousin John Wheatley.

Now 90, and living in Ilkley, she looks back on the adventure as one of the highlights of her life.

The young chemist's dispenser had taken up riding and bought her own horse - Pepper - after moving down to Dunmow for work. When she wanted to go back to Burley Woodhead to see her parents it make perfect sense to do the journey by horseback.

"Not wanting to leave her behind I thought I should just ride her up to Yorkshire," she said.

Cynthia wasn't the least bit perturbed about the journey ahead of her - "It was just an adventure really," she says - but it certainly wasn't always easy going.

"There were some bridle paths but most of them were overgrown because during the war they were not looked after," she said. "I needed a machete with me because some of the nettles had grown into the middle and I had to cut them back. Sometimes I had to go out on the main roads."

With petrol rationing still in force it was not as hair raising as it might have been - but she still had a number of near misses. Towards the very start of the journey Pepper took fright at a lorry and headed towards an electric fence, a few days later horse and rider had a near collision with a car.

But whatever the setbacks Cynthia kept going - settling into the routine of finding a stable for Pepper and bed and breakfast accommodation for herself at the end of each tiring day.

She eventually reached Burley Woodhead two weeks after setting off, and she spent a few days with her parents before travelling back by train after arranging a horse-box.

She still looks back fondly at the epic adventure, which attracted attention at the time.

"It was one of the highlights of my life," she said. "I did have a journalist from Leeds come to see me about it. But unfortunately there was a shipping disaster - so I just had a paragraph on the back page."

Inspired by the success of the trip Cynthia took to the road for another adventure several years later when she cycled to Switzerland with her sister Julie.

Sadly Pepper had to be sold when Cynthia moved jobs to Wimbledon and Rye, and she wrote about her despair in her diary.

"The day she went to market, I shut myself in my room and wept," she said. "It was the most miserable day of my life. It was such a wrench."

After several years down south Cynthia returned to Ilkley, working at Scalebor Park Hospital, Burley-in-Wharfedale, and at Airedale General Hospital, Steeton. She met her late husband Ian through the Evergreens walking group.