The Germ of an Idea.
- I love being with a horse.
- I love travelling.
- I long to make a serious journey on horseback, and
- I could raise a lot of money for two charities I support.
In 2006 I heard of three women who had ridden 450 miles from Yorkshire to the Brecon Beacons. One was almost 60 and two were over 70. They were raising money for charity and they commented “how strange it was to travel so far without going through towns”. I thought: If you wantto raise money you need to be visible. Go where people are.Less than 100 years ago towns were full of horses. Go there!
In 2006 and 2007 I met riders who were doing John O’Groats to Lands End and found the website of the Long Riders’ Guild who are the ultimate long distance travellers on horseback. This website and reading Eye on the Hill, the story of Richard Barnes’ 1977 ride round England, up to Inverness and back to Norfolk, provided inspiration. I began to talk about the idea and received enthusiastic responses, frequently with good advice.
The Idea Develops.
- To make a very visible ride,
- Right round England
- Via the centres of towns and cities.
Going to the four corners of England makes a fantastic journey. And for hundreds of years cathedrals have been at the hearts of our towns and cities. Castles, town halls, and markets may have gone but the cathedral is where it always was. They were built when horses did the work and they are set in the heart of social, cultural, political, business and religious activity. There are plenty of people around them. A great opportunity to raise money!
I decided 30 cathedrals would be a good round number. I have included all England’s medieval cathedrals, plus the Tudor creations, plus some more. I cannot do the ride until I retire, so the start date is May 2013. I’ll be 65 and 3 months.
Raise a BIG sum of money.
Its a big ride: 2,500 miles, maybe more. It will take six months, maybe more.
For 2,500 miles: £250,000 is a BIG target! £100 per mile
Make a real difference to the charities.
I have supported the Family Holiday Association since 1995 when my daughter’s school was fundraising for it. I know the impact of holidays on children. I still remember a holiday at Hastings when I was only four. See www.FamilyHolidayAssociation.org.uk
In 1998 I learned of the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre and its work with young people in London. I know the impact working with horses, being with horses and riding can have on children and young people, physically and mentally. I visited the Pony Centre and have supported it ever since. See wormwoodscrubsponycentre.org