Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Things My Mother Taught Me

A few years ago, I cared for my mother and my aunt at home, both of whom had Alzheimer's. For anyone who has been in this situation, well YOU KNOW. If you haven't, it is one of the hardest things I've ever done (as well as one of the most worthwhile).

Indirectly, they are responsible for me doing this trip, at least partially. During those years, there was little time for horses, and I watched them growing fat and sleek in the field. Each day I would hang out the washing from incontinent old ladies. From my washing line, I can see the foothills of the Grampian mountains, and I vowed that one day I would again ride those hills, (and every other one I could find). So here we are.

I have thought about the 'grannies' frequently on this journey. They would, I think, have been quietly proud, although in best east coast farming tradition wouldn't have said so of course! Although neither of them were particularly 'horsey', they were of the generation which knew about keeping going even when things got difficult, about appreciating the small things in life, and about doing what you said you were going to do - all lessons which have come in useful over the last while...

Now we had to get to Aboyne, and the World Horse Welfare Centre at Belwade. Those who have patiently stuck with this blog - an amazing number of you - will guess that following the road would be a bit tame - how much more interesting to cross the Hill of Coull, don't you think?

And it was interesting: delightful woodland tracks with expansive views over the howe (pictured) - helped of course by stunning weather. Leaving the forest, we picked up a track through waist-high bracken which I thought would lead us in the right direction to Belwade.

Sneaky track - although it started out in the right direction, it soon began to curve round too far west - at this rate we would land plump in the middle of Aboyne - not what we wanted. However, we might as well follow it and see where it came out.

After dismantling a gate (we 'mantled' it back together again of course), picking our way through the bracken, along the side of a golf course and round the loch, we found ourselves in a compound - our progress blocked by a locked gate. Yeoman's expression clearly expresses just what he thinks of my navigation.
Water ski-ing? She's even madder than we thought...
Ha, but the crack team were not to be defeated - not having come all this way! The country club lawn next door offered an escape route (sorry, we did tiptoe) and we were on our way to Belwade - now only a couple of miles away.
Spirits high, we scooted on, only to meet - another locked gate blocking the track. Would we make Belwade in time (or indeed, ever?)


  1. oh Kate, what a way to end the blog yesterday, you're like a soap opera writer (well only at leaving us on the edge of our seats...your writing is much better than a soap!). Do tell us how you got out of this predicament!


  2. OOh, now that you're nearly home we're wondering where you're heading to get home. We're at Dalnaglar Castle on the Cateran Trail from the Spittal of Glenshee towards Glenisla. Wonder if you're passing this way soon? More than welcome for tea and bed for the night if you need one.

    Shelley & Mark N-C

  3. Good on ya! You cant beat a bit of gate dismantling! I agree with the other comments, starting to sound like an episode from a soap!!!!! You must feel proud of the "Boys" and yourself? It looks like being a great achievement. Well done Kate!!