Jane Dotchin, an octogenarian, has embarked on an annual journey since 1972, accompanied by her loyal pony and faithful dog. Covering a distance of 600 miles, the seven-week expedition commences from her residence in Hexham, Northumberland, and culminates in Inverness.
Diamond, Dotchin’s 13-year-old pack pony, joyfully partakes in her fourth consecutive year on this remarkable trek. As the fourth generation of ponies raised by Dotchin, Diamond adds a familial touch to the expedition.
Dinky, a ten-year-old dog with deformed feet limiting his walking capacity, finds solace in the saddle bag on Diamond’s back. From this vantage point, he contentedly observes the passing scenery.
Dotchin, sporting an eyepatch, carries all her necessities, including a tent, food, and essentials. Her main concern lies in navigating busy roads, where some drivers, lacking consideration for horses, fail to slow down. Dotchin remains confident in her ability to keep Diamond calm and composed.
Owing to her eyepatch, Dotchin faces challenges in reading maps. However, her well-trodden annual route has become ingrained in her memory, eliminating the need for navigational aids.
Beyond the challenges, Dotchin cherishes the familiar path for the warm encounters with the same kind and lovely people each year. In the event of any adversity, Dotchin takes comfort in the knowledge that there will always be compassionate individuals ready to offer assistance.