Thursday, 9 July 2009

The Lord Takes Care of Children, Drunkards...and pony explorers!

Or so it seems... I had been sort of wondering what the third disaster might be, after Yeoman's injury and Ladybird's cut leg. I didn't have to ponder long, since for the first time ever in his life, Doogs pulled a shoe off in a fence last night. Damn horses, they'll do anything rather than go a thousand miles.

I carry hoof boots for these sort of emergencies, but still, I would need to find a farrier before too long (hen's teeth are more common). A bit of phoning around - and yes, there's to be a farrier at Kenmore in the morning! Only problem - we're quite a long way away...still, an opportunity not to be missed - difficult to say when I might locate the next one. We couldn't do it all in one day (well, we could, but the ponies would never, ever speak to me again), so we rode part of the way. We set off through the Murthly estate along what local riders call the 'M1'...a broad, dead straight forestry track which cuts right through the estate. Pleasant riding, especially in today's perfect weather; the one teensy problem being it cuts straight across the busy A9.

Heart in my mouth (ponies had grass in theirs) we waited for what seemed like an age for a gap in the traffic before dashing across - well, brisk ambling anyway. I knew we wouldn't make it all the way to Kenmore: consideration for Doogs's foot and Ladybird's lack of full fitness meant we hitched a lift some of the way! Farriers are not to be kept waiting and I'm so jammy to have found one so quickly...

We've stopped tonight at the remarkable Culdees Eco-bunkhouse at Fearnan - some of you may remember it as the Boreland Trekking Centre in former years. The bunkhouse makes much innovative use of recycled materials: walls of plastic bottles and bracken roofs, and many international visitors, including monks and nuns from Japan who are investigating the possibility of rice -growing on a Perthshire hill farm - watch this space!

Lots of grass for the ponies, although Doogs's worst nightmare - he has to share the field with cows. (Well, it used to be his worst nightmare, then he saw the free-range pigs. ) Sadly I don't seem able to post pictures on this bunkhouse computer (think it runs on lentils actually) but I will, soon!

Tomorrow we plan to ride across Drummond Hill to meet the farrier. Drummond Hill is a long wooded ridge overlooking Loch Tay - it was the place where capercaillie were first reintroduced into Scotland in the 1870s .Would be just excellent if we saw one!

Then hopefully up Glen Lyon (although, frankly I think I might as well tear up that silly bloody itinerary and make it up as I go along).

Ponies both well, if still slightly in piggy-shock. One good thing - the threat of these alien beings has drawn them closer together and they now appear joined at the hip (well, stomach)!


  1. Hey Kate and Co,Say Hi to Boreland and to Drummond Hill(I used to work at the trekking centre in a former life!) My 'name that foal' entry has to be Fearnan!
    Going off routefinding tomorrow and Sunday, will contact you next week hopefully.I can offer you April from 18th for 2 weeks when we are away!!! Carol x

  2. Don't think you'd recognize it! Was sorry to learn that Liz died a couple of months ago.
    Beautiful spot.