Pony Trekking In The Highlands
The romantic and picturesque Scottish Highlands are an ideal location for pony trekking. Myriad paths wind their way through valleys and glens, up mountainsides and hilltops, and along the shores of pristine lochs and rivers. It is assumed that many of these trails date back centuries, and if you find yourself trekking along an old drove road, then the assumption is true! Cattle and sheep were driven from all throughout the Scottish Highlands to market towns. Sometimes, they were taken all the way from the north of Scotland right down to the Borders. The result of this today is a network of spectacular hiking and trekking trails for the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy. The sport of pony trekking is said to have originated in the Highlands of Scotland, in Newtonmore. It was a way of using sturdy Highland ponies throughout the year, rather than only as mounts and pack animals during the stalking season. Highland ponies are renowned the world over for their amiable temperament, their sure-footedness, and their strength. Pony trekking, very likely on a Highland pony, is the ideal way to see some of the remote, out of the way places in the Scottish Highlands that often remain one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. Pony trekking is essentially the sport of riding cross country on a pony. A variety of ponies are well-suited for this activity, but of course, you will most frequently find the Highland pony up here in the Scottish Highlands. Other ponies that make fine mounts for pony trekking are Irish and Welsh cobs, Cumbrian fell ponies, and Irish hunters. Most pony trekking operators will also have small, sturdy ponies like Shetlands for the youngsters in the group. Pony trekking can mean a leisurely afternoon ride, a whole day’s adventure, or even long-distance trail rides. Centres which specialize in pony trekking will have a wide range of horses and ponies to suit all ages and skill levels, in most cases, and will offer a great variety of trail types and ride durations to suit your needs. Broomhill Riding Centre on the Black Isle in Ross-shire offers pony trekking for everyone from children to experienced adults. This is a working farm with spectacular views over the Moray Firth, so you may see dolphins while you are out riding. Here you can enjoy one hour, two hour, pub rides, or day rides, or even just a half hour for the little ones. Lessons are available as well. Alvie Stables in Kincraig near Aviemore is set on a family-run Highland estate. They offer excellent hacking and trekking through miles of stunning countryside. Horses and ponies are kept, and all levels of experience are catered for. Families are welcome. Newtonmore Riding Centre was started in 1952 and they bill themselves as the originators of holiday riding in the Scottish Highlands. They keep mainly Highland ponies, but have other sure-footed breeds, as well. They cater for all ability levels, and will offer everything from lead rein ponies for an hour to long-distance trekking for a week or more.
For only £38 you can have a 90-minute trail riding experience which is a combination of riding lessons and trail riding. Highland Trekking and Trail Riding out of Glen Affric, Inverness-shire, offers magnificent trail rides through the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve. You will ride Highland ponies through the heart of a Caledonian pine forest, through mountainous terrain, and across rivers. Everyone from ages 4 years old on up is catered for by this excellent riding stable. There is a tea hut which offers snacks and drinks, and there are hens, ducks, rabbits, and guinea pigs for the kids to feed. As well, they offer guided walks, fishing, and boating to round out your visit. This stable is open 7 days, year round. The Highland Riding Centre in Drumnadrochit was established in 1963. It is a working farm and overlooks beautiful Loch Ness. All riding abilities are catered for here, and they also offer livery facilities for those bringing their own horses. The Burghie Riding Centre on the Burghie Estate in Morayshire provides private and group lessons and show jumping lessons. They also offer hacking for experienced riders, who can enjoy a ramble round the 1500 acre estate. As well, they offer livery and stable management training.
For the far north of Scotland, see the more remote Scottish Highlands with a pony trekking outing through Highlands Unbridled. This centre, located in Brora, is open year round and offers a wide range of trekking and trail riding adventures. Working holidays are also an option. They are well known in the area for their coast to coast trail rides, some of which take two weeks or more. You are guaranteed to see places in the northern Highlands of Scotland which the average visitor never sees! Don’t forget the Western Isles when you are looking for pony trekking in the Scottish Highlands. The Isle of Skye Trekking Centre is right off the main road between Portree and Dunvegan. Here you will have an unforgettable journey through some of the most amazing and beautiful island scenery on all of Skye. Treks are available from one to two hours, and all treks are led by experienced staff. Horses and ponies are well schooled and well mannered. Anyone over the age of four is welcome, and no experience is necessary. Drinks and snacks are available in the centre’s “tuck shop.” See the beautiful Isle of Skye from atop a pony as you trek through magnificent scenery and do a little wildlife watching, besides. Enjoy the romance, peace, and tranquility of pony trekking in the Scottish Highlands. The setting is idyllic, the ponies are perfectly-suited for it, and the scenery is extraordinary. For a memorable holiday, or just a memorable day as part of your vacation, indulge yourself with a pony trekking experience in the land where pony trekking was invented. The majestic Scottish Highlands await you and your mount for a delightful riding experience. Book through one of the many riding and trekking centres located throughout the Highlands and get out there today!
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