I don’t know about you, but just hearing about someone making a 600-mile venture via horseback is already incredibly impressive. But what if I told you that not only does Jane Dochin make an annual expedition from England to Scotland with her beloved Jack Russel by her side, but that she is 80 years young!
While she may have trouble reading maps, it doesn’t matter because she knows the whole route by heart.
When many people picture a person in their eighties, nursing homes, wheelchairs, and walkers often cross their minds, not riding horses and single-handedly setting up tents. But Jane has been taking the same trip since 1971 and has no intentions of stopping anytime soon.
She starts her annual adventure in her hometown of Hexam, Northumberland (northern England), and travels on horseback to Inverness (in the Scottish Highlands). The entire trip takes about seven weeks and spans 600 miles.
While she will be the only one setting up her tent, she doesn’t take her trip all alone. Jane will be riding her beloved Pony “Diamond” for the duration of her journey. Diamond is her 13-year-old pack pony, and it is her fourth time taking this trip with her mom. She is also the 4th generation of ponies to be raised on Jane’s farm.
Dinky, her Jack Russel, will also join Jane on her many-mile journey. Dinky is a decade-old, disabled Jack Russell who prefers to take in the sights and sounds from her special saddle bag. Dinky’s front paws are deformed, which makes walking difficult. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t excellent company. Jane simply lifts her canine companion onto her horse’s back and slides her right into one of the saddlebags strapped to Diamond. Dinky is calm and content while she enjoys her excellent view of the passing scenery.
While Jane does wears an eye patch, and can’t see maps as well as she used to, she’s not worried about losing her way. She’s taken this trek so many times that she has the route memorized. But what does concern her are the passing cars.
She used to encounter far fewer motorized vehicles when she started taking her trip in the 70’s. Now, far too many drivers aren’t very courteous to those riding horseback and don’t even slow down as they approach. When a horse is spooked, it can be extremely dangerous for both the rider and the horse themself.
As a lover of camping and the countryside, it makes complete sense that Jane would want to take this trek for as many years as she possibly can.
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