Ride Overview - Sutherland Highlands Ride
An invigorating horseback riding vacation in Scotland! Horse and Hound Magazine selected this equestrian vacation through the Scottish Highlands as “One of the Rides To Do Before You Die.” This is the home to Shakespeare’s MacBeth, the place of famed lochs, jagged beaches, moorlands, firths and iconic mountains. As your horse carries you on four to five-hour treks, you will search the lake shallows for seals and the glens for red deer (October is best to hear rutting stags roaring in the glens). To reach breathtaking views, there are gallops on uninhabited beaches wrapped around curvaceous bays, trots on wide drover roads through stoic forests, and challenging climbs up winding, narrow trails. Eagles and osprey are common sights as your ride travels across high plateaus. In addition, the accommodations are first rate and fun, varying from a converted first-class railway car to a lovely 4* Lochinver inn to a fishing village lodge to a lakeside inn. This adventure happens on native Highland Ponies, Irish Cobs and crossbreeds mounted with treeless endurance saddles. When not in the saddle, hiking and biking adventures are easily had.
I can’t put into words just how much last weeks… I know I will treasure those memories for ever. It has been very difficult getting back to normality; the noise of modern living and the immediate accessibility others have of you is all a bit to in your face, and I can’t help but remember the companionable solitude we all enjoyed on our journey, not forgetting the incredible scenery.”
Ride Itinerary - Sutherland Highlands Ride
Your guide will meet you at your pre-ride hotel and take you to the stable. This trail ride starts either at 10am or 1pm depending on the tide with a shorter ride (well, 10 miles actually) with the purpose of becoming acquainted with your horse. Then you are off to a gallop along the wide sandy Brora to let your horse let off some steam, Next, you will head north along the ruggedly beautiful east coast beaches where you will find your inn waiting for your good night’s sleep.
An early morning trails will take you inland along narrow tracks which roll over the hills and follows the winding solitary river along the Strath of Kildonan site of the early gold rush to your accommodation for the night in a hotel that has been voted the most remote in mainland Britain.
Your ride will follow estate tracks and old stalkers trails in big sky country, crossing streams and jumping ditches alongside remote lochs. Leaving the lochs behind, your horse will climb a steep pass which leads to an old peat track – the only safe way through the wide flat bog strewn landscape which lies before you. From there, you will see your hotel for the night – a tiny white speck in the distance!
A shorter day to give both the horses and you a bit of a rest after the long rides on the previous two days. Your trail will pass through wild and beautiful scenery beneath the isolated massif Ben Kilbrick mountain rising high above the vast, empty moorlands and the picturesque hamlet of Altnaharra. On this day, there may be the option to travel to the nearest village to stock up on essentials.
Your ride will start on a single track road then open to an estate road and finally a stalkers path which will wind high into the majestic hills of the Reay forest estate. This region is known for its outstanding wild and remote beauty and is home to the famous peaks of Ben Stack, Arkle and Foinaven. Yur descent beside Arkle, gives you the first glimpse of the west coast. You will leave your horse at the end of the trail and be transferred to your lochside hotel for the night.
Ascending stalkers’ paths across the rugged hills will provide impressive views of the iconic mountains in the area (weather permitting!). Your trails will descend to the western sea lochs where you will wind your way along the narrow trails that hug the shore overlooking endless Loch Glendhu and Loch Glencoul.
A memorable day as your ride will cross the high arch of the girded Kylesku Bridge then onto a narrow twisting coastal road beneath the undulating series of peaks and the Y-shaped crest of Quinag. Along the way, you will visit picturesque crofting villages dotted along this spectacular coast backed by a landscape studded with tiny lochans. Tides permitting, you will finish with a final gallop on the beach. You will arrive back in Brora at arriving approximately 8:00 PM – 8:30 PM. **You will have to arrange for a post-ride hotel.
After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport/train station.
Ride Details - Sutherland Highlands Ride
Dates: September 7th – 13th
Meeting Place: Brora Train Station or you can travel by car (1.5 hours) to stable in Brora
Riding Ability: ADVANCED: Able to cross rivers, gallop along beaches and may need to jump small natural obstacles, like ditches or fallen trees – nothing too big, but you need to be a competent rider and be able to control a horse at speed. Able to tack your horse.
Daily Riding Hours: 4 – 5
Horses: Native Highland ponies, Irish Cobs, crossbreds
Saddles: Treeless endurance
Group Size: 3 – 8
Non-riding Activities: hiking, biking
Lodging: 3* and 4* inns, B&B and converted railroad cars
*Price:$3,085.00 per person, double occupancy, $315.00 single supplement (limited availability)
*Price will fluctuate with the USD/GBP exchange rate and will be fixed at your final payment.
Includes: 7 days riding, 6 nights accommodation, all meals, horse, tack, guide, transfer from Brora train station to stable
Not included: airfare, transfer to and from airport to the train station or stable, drinks, pre-ride and post ride lodging
*Limited transfer from Inverness Airport to stable available – 45 Euro per car, round trip
Sutherland Highlands Ride: Gallery
Sutherland Highlands Ride