April 11 at 06:00
A Perthshire woman is finalising plans for a gruelling 16-day journey with her horse and dog to raise funds for a service used by disabled people. Karen Inkster will be joined by horse Connie and dog Pip on the 270km trek from Vatersay near Barra to Stornoway, with proceeds raised from the August trip going towards Blairgowrie’s Riding for the Disabled group.
Ms Inkster, of Caputh, has named the journey The Deaf, The Daft and The Ditsy, primarily due to her dog Pip being hard of hearing and her horse being described as a bit “ditsy.” She is the chairperson of Blairgowrie’s Riding for the Disabled group and said the organisation was in danger of closure until a new committee of volunteers became involved. “The group was using stables with toilets and a classroom for the children but the people who owned the land took it back for their own business,” she said. “Now we have fields to keep the horses in but not any facilities. We are desperately trying to fundraise to get the facilities for the school.” She continued: “We have the space for the facilities because we have a number of acres of fields but don’t have anything here to hold classroom sessions in or for the kids to get changed. We want to build a multi-purpose arena which is better. “We are also hoping to give our first lessons this month, which will be Blairgowrie’s first sessions in over 18 months.” Ms Inkster and her two animal companions will visit 11 islands during the trek.
She aims to reach her fundraising target of £2,500, and is looking forward to being accompanied by Connie and Pip. “Connie is a rescue horse and I do endurance riding with her, so I wanted to do something myself to raise funds and have always wanted to go to the Outer Hebrides,” she added. “I have had her for about a year and it’s been a huge learning curve because she is a rescue horse who had bad behaviour issues but now she is a lovely well-mannered mare. A year ago, you couldn’t even ride her, never mind take her on a 16-day trip. “The dog has been looking at me as if to say ‘what mad thing are we doing now mum?’ “The horse and dog are quite fit so we should manage it.” Ms Inkster added: “We will be unsupported, carrying all our own camping and corralling equipment. “We’ll be starting our trip from Vatersay in the south and making our way slowly north to Lewis.” Anyone wishing to donate to the fundraising trip can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Thedeafthedaftandtheditsy.