Jane Dotchin, an 82-year-old pensioner with impaired vision, has been embarking on an annual 600-mile journey on her horse, accompanied by her dog Dinky, since 1972. Starting from her home in Hexham, Northumberland, she rides all the way to the north of Scotland. Along the way, she has become acquainted with many locals due to her familiarity with the route. Jane travels 15 to 20 miles daily during her seven-week adventure, camping out in a tent each night. She sustains herself on simple foods like porridge, oatcakes, and cheese. Despite having an old mobile phone with a long-lasting battery, she often struggles with signal reception. Jane's dedication to her journey was recognized when she received an Exceptional Achievement Award from the British Horse Society. She plans her route based on the weather and avoids challenging terrains during adverse conditions. With impaired vision and an eyepatch, Jane has to be cautious, especially when encountering road debris that might spook her horse, Diamond. The award she received was unexpected but well-deserved, given her independent spirit and years of trekking. Jane, who formerly operated a riding school, prefers to undertake her journey in the autumn, enjoying the scenic beauty of places like Fort Augustus. Living a largely off-grid life, she has always been hands-on in caring for her horses.
Photo Credit: Carlos Fernando Bendfeldt MD