Long Distance Ride Routes

Aspirations for the Future.  I’d like to think that one day I would be invited to join the Long Riders Guild… but that requires a journey of at least 1000miles, so it will take an awful lot of negotiation on my part with my employers lol!  http://www.thelongridersguild.com/how-to-join.htm Cairngorm Squiggle August 2021.  With Swift healed up and the saddle bags carrying a brand new fly rug for her, we set off on a bit of a squiggle!  I was trying to complete some of what I missed in July, plus add in other trails I was also curious about.  In the end I couldn’t work out a circular route to include all of this – and have me arrive back at work on time – so hubby was drafted in to drop me off and pick me up again in 11 days time.  We did some of the most challenging routes attempted so far and again I was astounded how my horses just tackled everything I put in front of them.  If I look back to the beginning of this page, its hard to comprehend just how far we have come as a team.  We used a glen on this trip that I once thought was tricky, challenging, and on the edge of my comfort zone – now it felt like a walk in the park!  Experience, practice, good communication, well tested systems – all this takes time to develop – and the benefits reaped from time on the trail over the years, is certainly evident now. Deeside Mini Adventure July 2021.  This was supposed to be a 210km circular route over 7 days, but it finished as an 80km linear route in 3 days!  Poor Swift collected a bad cleg (horse-fly) bite just under her saddle and although the saddle didn’t seem to annoy it -the fly rug I was using overnight to prevent more bites had a seam in the wrong place and was going to rub it raw if I continued.  Knowing when to stop to avoid damaging your horse is an important aspect of this sport!  We retired gracefully to return to the trail another time – but we did find two absolutely fantastic cut through glens to join more major trails together.  I’d always wondered if they would ‘go’ by horse-back – they weren’t without challenge but they certainly ‘went’ and I arrived back home so amazed and proud of how my horses had handled the rough and challenging terrain. Fort William to Keith June 2021.  A 365km solo trek from the outdoor capital of Britain back to home near the Moray coast.  I’d never ridden back to home before – always away from it – so this was a refreshing change.  I was blessed with the sunniest weather and appeared to have left earlier enough in the season to avoid the midges.  The journey felt like two halves – the first, very mountainous and remote, rarely seeing another person – the second was more sociable catching up with friends old and new as I approached the coast and home.  I loved riding along the Moray coast with its turquoise sea and long sandy beaches.  I was even lucky enough to see Dolphins :o) 2020 Covid and other infections.  Little did we know what was coming our way this year!  In amongst the pain felt by many for those who lost their lives to Covid 19- was a little frustration at not being able to sooth my mind and soul (away from the stress of work) with a horse trek.  In any case, both horses had illnesses of their own to contend with and Yogi ended up in ICU at Ardene Vets in Aberdeen on IV antibiotics and fluids – with an acute infection.  Swift wasn’t that well either with what appeared to be a chronic version of a similar infection to Yogi.  All three of us have now tested positive for Lyme Disease, but both horses thankfully responded well to treatment.  I am indebted to Mairi at Ardene vets and to Carolyn back home for helping me syringe medication into lanky Swift!
Intro to Camping with Horses August 2019.  On the back of previous intro to camp rides through the Moray Equestrian Access Group www.meag.co.uk I wanted to try organising something a little more adventurous.  This time we drove to the Cairngorms and rode into a bothy in Glen Feshie to camp for the night.  Overnight camping/corralling gear was taken up the Glen by my husband on logistical support and over the River to the bothy with help from the local Gamekeeper.  We therefore had a lovely scenic ride, a social evening with a glass of wine or two and an equally scenic ride out again.  It was fantastic to introduce others to a more wilderness experience. IMG_4208 A Traverse of the North East of Scotland July 2019. A Solo trek of 200kms from Edzell (near Montrose) on the East of Scotland through to Forres on the Moray Coast.  Camping and using bothies again -we worked our way North West over 7 days, finishing with a route I’d always wanted to do -the Dava Way.  It was a mountainous route at the start (several times over 700metres) but thankfully the weather was kind -sunny but breezy enough to keep the midgies away! IMG_3470a Two weeks in the Cairngorms June 2019. The tail end of last year was a bit of a write off with medical treatment and recovery.  Glad to say 2019 started in a more promising fashion, with a mammoth journey with Yvonne.  Unfortunately we had the worst possible weather and I don’t think there was one single day we didn’t have full water proofs on -at times we were on the cusp of hypothermia!  The team battled through (camping, bothies and the odd bunkhouse to dry out) to complete what we’d started -300kms through rain, wind, bog and big river crossings.  New boy Tommy (Yvonne’s cob) really had his eyes opened on this trip lol!  Swift finally got promoted to lead horse with Yogi doing pack.  She still needs to get her confidence in some areas of leading the team, but overall, the gal should be very proud of herself indeed. IMG_3034 Intro to Long Distance riding July 2018.  We ran a repeat of the successful intro event from 2017 through the Moray Equestrian Access Group www.meag.co.uk Riding from my house to Rachel’s house, had an over night camp (with BBQ & a glass of wine) before riding back the next day.   IMG_9961a Dunkeld Area Excursions June 2018.  Yvonne and I took our horses down to stay with our friend Karen.  From there we did several overnight treks -either to a bothy or to camp out.  The weather was SO HOT.  We struggled to find drinking water and had to stop to pour water over the horses to prevent them from overheating.  Not a situation I’d ever had to deal with whilst living in Scotland!  I was still unwell (cardiac issues due to Lyme Disease) so wasn’t happy to stray too far from civilisation and the nearest A&E department.  I was happy to be able to get out on mini adventures however and am grateful to Karen for putting us up. IMG_9586 Speyside Way June 2018.  My friend Yvonne was holding a fund raising BBQ/party event so I decided to ride to it!  They weather wasn’t kind on the first day, but bright sunshine followed.  The Speyside way is easy riding and nice and scenic.  Just what I needed as I wasn’t in the best of health. IMG_9260 Intro to Long Distance riding Aug 2017.  I think a few of my friends were getting curious as to what it’s all about, so through the Moray Equestrian Access Group www.meag.co.uk -Rachel and I organised an over night ride.  We rode from my house to Rachel’s house, had an over night camp (with BBQ & a glass of wine) before riding back the next day.  Luckily the weather was kind and I didn’t put anyone off doing it again! P1030589 Glen Affric July 2017.  I joined my friends Yvonne and Leanne on a long distance ride in the Glen Affric area for just over a week.  Leanne and I joined Yvonne from Kinlockhourn round to Cannick.  It was the most amazing scenery I have ever seen on horse back, but they were long days with challenging trails and difficult obstacles to overcome with horses.  We became exhausted & hungry and in the end, when we got to the lovely campsite at Cannick -we stayed there and spent the last few days enjoying the area with day rides before driving home. IMG_8012 Round The Cairngorms June 2017.  This was a solo trip of about 260kms on a route circumnavigating the Cairngorm Mountains.  Two weeks of pure bliss, just me and my horses -camping all the way with the odd bothy.  I find it highly amusing that twice my long-distance plans seem to be all about the shape of my kitchen at the time!  By the way -if you believe the “pure bliss” bit you are very naive about long-distance riding.  There were moments like that, but also sweat, blood, tears, high winds, longs days and HEAVY persistent rain! Over all though a great success and I really enjoyed it. 2017round cairngorm  P1030057 Loch Ossian 2016.  I had a few solo days in and around my favourite spot Glen Feshie before driving to meet Yvonne where we had a mini adventure into Loch Ossian Youth Hostel and back.  We didn’t get the best weather… p063 East Highland Way 2016 from Aviemore to Fort William (with a few extra wiggles).  This was Yvonne’s conception and I was happy not to be too involved in the planning :o)  For this 9 day trek, we had four riders and four horses (as Ellen & Silje joined us from Norway) leaving us unable to be self supported due to not having any pack horses.  We had to heavily bribe my husband Dave to be our support crew and meet us each night with the horse lorry for our accommodation!  It was a very relaxing & fun trip with great weather and lovely scenery.  We are hoping we might be able to bribe Dave again at some point ;o) P1010430a Golden Hoof 2015.  An inaugural event, in memory of Cameron Ormiston (google him to be inspired!).  Ellen and I rode from near Keith in Moray down to Newtonmore over 8 days.  Since I had recently been diagnosed with Lyme Disease at this point and was still recovering, I organised an easier route mostly along the Speyside way with diversions once reaching Nethy Bridge into the forests I know so well.  We spent most nights under a proper roof or at least glamping in my van and had kit and shuttle support.  Ellen & I were honoured and delighted to be presented with the Golden Hoof Trophy for our efforts! IMG_3249  P1010176 Norway 2015.  It was my turn to be hosted by one of my partner’s in Crime Ellen Klaveness, so I flew out to Norway for a week horse trek.  I rode a tiny wee spotty bum pony who was absolutely amazing!  He kept up with the big horses no bother and had the hardest barefoot feet I have ever experienced… truly rock crunching!  We stayed in mountain cabins/tents and were accompanied by 2 horses and carts who carried most of our gear.  A lovely social trip even though I couldn’t speak the lingo! IMG_3397  IMG_3579 X-Scotland from St Cyrus (near Montrose) to Kinlochhourn (16 days). Completed this trip in May/June 2014. Mostly unsupported and camped out most nights or used bothies.   I travelled alone but I had a few visits from friends along the way either for evening support or to help me over some obstacles.  I also rode with my friend Yvonne for a few days in the middle.  I some how managed to Raise over £1500 for my favourite horse charity… Prince Fluffy Kareem.  If you would like to donate to them (as horses always need to eat)  -see their separate page on here :o) IMG_1296[1]  IMGP7205 Kingussie to Nethybridge via Glen Feshie 4 days.  Linking lots of rides together that I normally do as one day rides.  We ended up with a spare horse due to someone dropping out the morning we were to set off… so we picked up the occasional passenger! IMGP6392 IMGP6401 IMGP6433 IMGP6437 IMGP6452 IMGP6480 IMGP6508 IMGP6535 IMGP6372 IMGP6387 IMGP6388 IMGP6389 Kingussie to Aboyne 5 days.  I wanted some help with Swift’s training -so I rode the horses to a trainer lol!  A few friends joined me for a few days in the middle. IMGP6089a IMGP6113a IMGP6174a IMGP6230a IMGP6246a IMGP6255a IMGP6264a IMGP6009a IMGP6041a IMGP6048a IMGP6056a IMGP6061a Kingussie to Drumnadrochit 6 days.  Worked up to this from our first adventure below.  Did a few days self supported to see how we would go.  Recruited extra friends and my hubby to ride too!  Swift’s first go at being proper pack horse. day5h day5f day5e day3k day3j day3e day2a day1a SONY DSC Our Second Adventure…  Another two day practice run in Glen Livet -again using Yvonne’s hubby & daughter as support.  Yvonne found us a beautiful peaceful over night spot although Swift insisted that she really should be allowed to sleep in the Bothy with us!  She looks so very young here! IMGP5155  IMGP5165 Our first Adventure…  A two day trip staying in a bothy over night.  I often travel with my pal Yvonne and she recruited her hubby, her sister and her daughter to help us for our first attempt.  Note no pack horse! IMGP4582 IMGP4581 IMGP4569 IMGP4564 IMGP4563

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