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15 September 2014


From Yvonne Thomson,  Ride Organiser, writes an interesting story on organising a new ride.

      Last year I said to Clive I wished to run a ride from Glen Tanar, as Spyhill field was to be ploughed up for a year or two.  Little did I know what I was taking on.  I have ridden at Glentanar for years as it has gorgeous scenery and good tracks. 

      Well, I began by writing in December 2005 to the ranger asking if the ride was possible.  A long time later I got back to him and chased him for an answer (This is a very busy man). I had to send the map and proposed route.  Much time passed and again I asked for a reply.

     He asked for a meeting  which happened on the 5th of June, when we eventually got together.  He changed the route a bit but for the better.

That evening I also went to see the farmer about the venue field.  I found him a bit wary of the riding club as his fields are used a lot by horse clubs and one club had left his field a mess with litter.  I promised him that this would not happen with our club.  I would ride this route with Carlene Quinn and Rosemary Ashton.  We did this on the 29th of July, plenty of time you may say.  Well we thought the proposed route  was too long and shortened it by three miles. I then cycled the route and visited the farmer who this time was much more friendly.  I had hope of getting a field now.

     On the 12th of August I rode the route with Molly to have her check the talk-round.  It needed a few adjustments.  On that day I had another meeting with Eric Baird the ranger.  I had to produce for him lots of paper work or this ride was not happening.  Paper work saying how the club runs its rides, the order of events, all helpers on the day, time they started their jobs,  what the job entailed,  mobile phone number and the time the job finished as well as a copy of the talk-round,  map and the risk assessment.

    He insisted that I wrote to the local Ambulance service to inform them of the ride, and the police for the same reason.  I also wrote to the local vet to get written cover for the event   At this point I asked Dawn Saunders for help.  She did most of the typing and the map for me. Without her the ride would not have happened. 

       On the 9th of September Dawn and I rode the route again.   I must say I enjoyed this bit.  We had a meeting afterwards with the ranger, as Dawn was my chief steward.  We were both put through our paces by him on  how we would cope if we had an emergency on the part of the course without phone cover   What to do if a second incident happens.

     It was a very good learning curve.  Eventually after a mountain of paper work he said  “Yes”.  The ride was on!   Remember this was the 9th and the ride was on the 17th.  Not a lot of time to play with.  I went to Dawn’s and we finalised the paper work. I got in touch with the ranger to get permission to mark with a 4x4 .  We got that sorted and on the morning of the 16th Fiona Grant and myself marked the ride after having met Mike Martin the assistant ranger as Eric was on hols on the date of the ride.

      We had a great day, loving every minute in the glen outdoors.  We had one anxious moment as Fiona's 4x4 refused to start on the furthest away part of the course, 1500 feet up the hill. It did start though, and we both enjoyed the marking, looking at the hills we have both climbed on our horses (Silver Booting).

    The day of the ride was here.  Les and I up at the crack of dawn.  We had to go and open two gates on the route.  It was a beautiful sight with the mist lifting off the glen  (see S.E.R.C. Grampian website piccies).

     Down to the venue; Dawn, bless her, was waiting for us and Tony arrived with the caravan.  He had collected it from Kate's, stored it and taken it to the venue for me, and now he was going to be a CP 1  up on the hill.

 Roger Searle was early too, he was my Parking Steward.  Pat Dorward arrived just after him, she was doing the trot ups at the start.  Lynsey Gordon came to do the results, Robert Keeler was my Starter  and Carlene Quinn was CP2 . The riders parked and got ready, the sun came out and the mist went away and off they went.  I always feel the ride on the day runs itself with the right help.  Too soon, back they came, happy faces and sweaty horses, all 18 of them.

     Jane Hollstein drove all the way down from Methlick to do trot ups at the end of the ride.  Everyone had a great time and thanked me.  I thanked all my helpers because without them there would be no ride.   Thanks too to all the riders who turned up.  For those of you who couldn’t make it on the day, you missed a beautiful ride.

     Just a footnote:  I walked around the venue after everyone had gone  home and found the sum total of  1 paper tissue.  The farmer is delighted that we left the field as we found it, and I am mightily pleased that our Club again showed that we are mindful of our responsibilities.

Thank You Everyone.