We finished at Spott House and on Doone Hill where we were briefed by Professor Bunyan on the two Battles of Dunbar. Its been a great ride and we are so glad to have raised the profile of ABF The Soldiers' Charity and raised lots of money. So that we can help, like this:
Craig a serving TA soldier suffered a traumatic amputation on his left leg above the knee and de-gloving of his right leg in an IED explosion last year.  Living with his partner and daughters he was a builder by trade before being mobilised.  He finds it increasingly difficult to access the upstairs facilities especially when he is unable to wear his prosthesis therefore the provision of a downstairs lavatory would make large difference.  We have been able to help with a grant towards this installation to improve his quality of life.


Down again and here they are combinng as we canter past on our last stretch. We all feel rather sad except Walter, the miserable hack. .


We all muttered about these very big white trees. I counted over a 100 but Spot wasn't interested. Usually she hates anything mechanical.


We reach the top of ridge line. You can see me and Spot with Jesse and Corrina Holmes. We like them as they are so light.


To day we are ably guided by Francisca Bakker who is an experienced endurance rider. She is a vet and horse dentist. She knows her country which is good news as "the G" successfully got us all lost yesterday.


Saturday. Who's been mucking around with my blog? Load of old muck!
Our last day and how sad. Spot and I have loved it all despite what the hacks say. To day we are making for Dunbar and Spott (nothing to do with Spot). So back into the Lammermuirs. The weather is dry and overecast. So on we go.


This is the rest of the crew here, we have crept into Mr Stitch's travelling study to use his laptop whilst he is asleep.  We the hoy polloy of the trip would like to put our view of things, he has said enough.  You see Mr Stitch thinks he runs things round here but he doesn't, we know that its really Spot or is it Mrs Spot?  We think they have been secretly married for some time!  We are all a bit fed up getting orders left right and centre from these two so we thought we would give you a bit of our mind.

first Ole Bill wants a word. "  When we are going home,? I hate them all, ordered around and never told what is happening next,  Haven't felt well all trip, really since the second day and all I want to do is go home. So glad I got my own back on Mr Stitch by peeing on his poly pad"

Jack. " I agree and i hate being treated like a Pony Club pony with flags being shaken around me, do they not realise that I don't go through flags I go OVER them!"

Mozart or Mozzie. "Did you see him fall? We did and that was because he never offered us a cuppa.  I have done the most miles and am very proud of it and its nice to know someone loves me"

Frenchie. "I am fed up and all I want to know is the time of the bus back, I am knackered (sorry , very Non PC).  cant wait to get away from this lot!"

The Turtle.  " I love it and cant wait for the next trip.  Just show me the way to Dunbar and then i will go to Tanzania"

Seamus. " I think I have got bulimia, I cant stop eating!!" 

Wogan.  " Its been great I have loved it all and getting the extra scoff all helps."

Walter.    " I have no idea what is going on, I live in the dark and am treated like s.... but I dont mind I will just go along with every thing as long as it is homeward bound."

WE had better go now before Mr or Mrs Stitch  find us here.


We finished the day at Linplum House with a welcome from the Provost of Midlothian, Sheena Richardson. Humans dressed to the nines and me and Spot horse tired. Slight drama with the loading of a horse which had come along with us. We all laughed the humans do get in such a fuss. One more day to go.

They all came back to Linplum for a slap up party later but we were happy back at Stevenson where the horse that came second in the Scottish Grand National resides.


Arthur drives a friends land rover into a ditch. "Leave it to me", he said and bingo!!


Looking into East Lothian. Its all so peaceful up here looking into the hurly burly down there. Seamus dreaming of Sligo or Essex.


Here we are on the top with me on the right and Spot on the left. The view behind is to the sea and North Berwick. Chippy (right) on me and Jesse on Spot (left). Time for lunchn me thinks.


Two riders spreading the word of the charity. This is what we do , for example:

   John was mobilised for Op Herrick 10 where he provided medical cover for both wounded soldiers and local adults and children caught up in indiscriminate bombings. Not all of the casualties that he treated survived and on return to UK found himself unable to continue in his civilian employment  - following assessment he was diagnosed as suffering from PTSD. In addition to medical treatment, he attended a Warrior Programme course funded by The Soldiers Charity. The Charity have additionally funded a specialist course enabling him to fulfil his dream of being employed in the field of mental health care.
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Friday. Phew! Marvellous this is me with a lighter load. I have Chippy Holmes on board and what a change from that bag of potatoes. A bit of a crisis this morning with Karan's box. I heard plaintiff cries of "the clutch has gone". However it looks like the clutch hadnt seen fluid for months!. Weather is kind this morning as we approach the Lammermuir Hills.


There was a reception and talk at Thirlestane Castle this evening which went very well but it rained and the Pipes and Drums of the  1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland performed despite it.  Well done them.


After lunch we struggled through the rain to get to Lauder.  On the way Jack thought he would have a laugh.  He noticed the walls resembled the walls in his native Galway.  So he feigned being frightened by Charlie's raincoat so that he loooked as though he was run away with and he juped the wall even though it had electric wire on both sides.  He jumps beautifully and we all admired his nerve.  Well done Jack. 


Who would have thought there was the amber liquid in Melrose. But after the reception in the town we went on to Birts Hotel for the riders to have a pint of Landlord. Noone asked if I would like to have a gallon!!


We were well met at Melrose and the locals looked after us well. But I was a bit hungry and this bloke with a funny hat comes up with a carrot, at least I thought it was. Unfortunately it was a finger and it didn't taste very nice. So here is a picture of me with the "hat".


Met with copious refreshements by the kind people of Melrose


Thursday. Warm morning. Rain threatened, the team marches on. We get to Melrose for 11 and then on to Lauder. We are all well (keep taking the pills!). The riders get ropier and ropier whilst we are so well looked after by Charlie's Angels.


 We arrive in Selkirk with our small band.   Philiphaugh is the site of a fierce and bloody battle, fought between the Covenanters and the Royalists on the 13th September 1645.  We were welcomed by the Provost as we charged the crowd nearly running over the photographers.  
The Covenanters were supporters of a Scottish Presbyterian faith, which was under threat from Charles 1. The Royalists were supporters of the Crown and willing to defend the King's rule.


I don't know. We stop for 5 minutes and they all slide off the saddles, lie in the grass and fall asleep. I did wonder what was in the orange squash!


Lunch stop in brilliant sunshine. Met by a score of locals. Here are Mozzy on left who is banging on about hunting with the VWH and saying he is worried by how many pies his master (Jim Arkell) has been eating. On the right is Seamus regailing us with stories of Irish brigands and hunting in Sligo. So much nonsense we think he comes from Essex.


The sort of country we are now riding through.  How lucky we are to be  here. We receive such a good welcome every where we go.  .


Alistair Moffat, local historian and author briefs us the battle of Ancrum Moor in 1544. The Scots won! A fascinating talk and insight into the Reiver centuries. We are sitting on Lady Lilliards Stone.  Miss Liddiard fought the English and had her legs cut off in the process and is a folklore figure as a result


Wednesday. The answer is no.
Well Spot and I had a laugh this morning as planned. We gave the girls some exercise as we thought they had excessed themselves last night. Ha ha!
This monument celebrates the Victory at Waterloo. It was erected by the Marquis of Lothian and his tenant farmers in gratitude of the victory and the high price of corn. I do like corn so I am in complete agreement.
We were brilliantly looked after by the Hoggs of Mounthooly, a great evening had by us all. Good news is that all ten of us are sound and well. We think some of the humans are getting  a bit ropy. We thought Gen Denaro looked a trifle part worn.


After Kelso we went into Floors Castle grounds and I know the" The G " likes castles but this is ridiculous.  The grounds were beautiful and we were taken around the park by The Duke of Roxbrugh's groom, Gill.  We had a lovely gallop and then a spot of hay for lunch.  I then handed over" the G" to Spot who was rearing to go.  She said she had good fun fording the Tweed something which is not often done. 

 I hoe it didn't up set the salmon!!  We got to Mounthooly in the evening and set about the fandango of dividing the paddock into sections.  I dont why they do that , they say we might kick each other, as if we would.  Anyway we are all well and Ole Bill is completely sound. WE are nearly half way!!  Yippee. Spot and  I thought we would have a laugh tomorrow morning by not getting caught.  They havn't kept our head collars on, you see there will be high strikes in the morning.  


We were warmly greeted in Kelso by the Provost and others. Border TV were to cover the event.


And here we are being invited to play. I wasn't too keen but Walter was all for having a go. My friend Spot rather fancies herself on the game but she is on the second shift.


Did you know that Reivers play polo? None of us did.


On left is the Turtle who has behaved impeccably but t'other day he nearly dropped his owner in the water!! He wanted to roll in the stream. We all laughed like drains. Sadly his owner realised in time. On the right is Walter (the Thruster) is always keen and well up front. He gives his rider a nice ride but has been known to stop when his Master put him at a ridiculous hedge.


We have paused before entering Kelso. On left is Michael Cunningham, then Charles Dentn Arthur Denaro and Jim Arkell. All have done brilliantly in raising money. Its still coming in too.


We leave Leitholm, I am there with "the G" who is carrying one of those wretched flags. Ole Bill is sound. He was clearly malingering. We are riding to Kelso to meet the Provost. Then we shall visit Floors Castle, "the G" likes castles.


AS we progress we are acutely conscious that we are missing a dear friend who rode with us all 3 and 6 years ago on similar quests, to raise the profile of the charity and a bit of money. Richard Holmes kept us entertained and fascinated by his knowledge of the history of this great land we live in. WE very much re,member him and this shot taken on the Henry Tudor Ride brings it all back.  It is marvellous that his two daughters are riding with us on Friday and Saturday. 
Whilst we have been riding the charity has helped dozens of cases and more than this tome last year.  Cpl J is 29 years old, Married with 1 young child. He had served in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Northern Ireland. He was injured in 2 separate IED blasts in Afghanistan and as a result has many medical and neurological problems. He can barely walk, is in continual pain and is in severe discomfort sitting in an ordinary chair. A recent Occupational Therapy report concluded that he needed a specialist Riser/Reclining chair, which cost in excess of £2000. ABF The Soldiers Charity made a Current Operations Fund Grant of £2052 to fund the purchase of a specialist riser/reclining chair.


Monday evening. These are the girls who keep us on the road. They are a God send and look after our every need. Just as well as "the G" and his friends don't have a clue. Left to them we would all be left to our own devices and simply starve. Karen is on the left and she looks after me, Spot, Ole Bill and Jack. She's brilliant. And the there is Gwyneth who is helping Jane look afterThe Frenchman, the Turtle, Wogan and Walter (the thruster). Quite a team. Then there is Jane who owns this palace of a box which only just missed the gate into where we are tonight by a millimetre.  Finally there is Tina who is holding Mozzy's hoof as well as Seamus.  They all look cheerful. at the moment.  The good news is that Ole Bill seems better so we are hoping he will ride with us tomorrow.


Spot and "the G" crossed the Tweed and were welcomed in style by the Town of Coldstream, the 1513 Society and the British Legion. A toast of good whisky was drunk in honour of the Armed Forces of the Crown.


Spot and friends depart from Flodden after lunch. They are set for Coldstream to meet the Provost and then through The Hirsel. "The G" is not looking forward to meeting lots of Coldstreamers, I don't know why.


Here is the crowd enjoying a picnic lunch after the battlefield tour of Flodden Field where the Scottish Army was defeated by the English. 10,000 Scots were killed there and only 2000 English. 90 people turned up for the tour and they are all supporters of the Charity. Spot was on duty to day and I have been having a slack morning but I do miss the company of Spot. I did make a bit of a fuss when she went.


We stayed  in a lovely paddock , just me and Spot who had a half day yesterday.  The humans say they stayed in that shack I showed yesterday but we know better.  Oh  "the G" wants to say something on my blog so I will move over.  We were so well looked after by a local family, the Crosby Dawsons and they had gathered a good crowd so i could tell them something about the needs of the Soldiers Charity. What a lovely group of people up here, so interested in what we are doing as a charity and they collected £600 for us, how marvellous is that ?
Here is a picture of me with some of the Neal family who were making a good night of it.  We are riding over their farms to day and they have been so welcoming. 
We are set fair for another good day, almost clear skies.  Ole Bill was caught alright this morning but he has got a bit of as sore leg  or says he has, I reckon he is malingering! So he has got a day off, and actually so have I as the "the G" is riding Spot, watch out for theat weight!


We had a lovely day yesterday and this picture shows the old turf we rode on in blazing sunshine.  There had been a lot of rain up here so the ground was lovely and soft for my hooves.  Sometimes I feel my old bones on the ever hard ground at home.  I had a long day but here we are at the finish, all very happy except I was pretty horse tired carrying "the G" all day.  I am sure he has put on weight!!


We are now in Scotland and it doesn't feel much different. They all swoon over views but I am just horse tired and looking forward to a good nights rest.


This where the humans are to night. That will sort them out!


This is Patience, one of the Reivers. Her horse is Seamus so I expect we will get a lot of blarney from him. Patience comes from a real Reivers family. "The G" is a bit worried she might cut his throat of a night. Look at that view!


It is a real pleasure to be on this hill after a hard mornings ride. They made us canter up hill for a mile and I am a bit puffed. The views are stupendous. We have about a dozen horses here and we are all getting on well. Bit of a laugh this morning we bet Ole Bill that he would refuse to be caught. That got the humans in a bit of a state it took them an hour to catch him!! Ha ha Ole Bill is quite a joker. I am feeling really well up here." The G" tells me he met Paul Findlay last night at Alnwick. He lost a leg from an IED and is about to leave the Army. He is starting on Monday working for Barclays who have given a lot of money to the Soldiers Charity and Paul is going to be the liaison point between the Soldiers Charity and Barclays.
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