A pair of carriage driving experts have helped raise more than £5,000 for rural charity RSABI.
Ewan MacInnes and his wife Jane, who run the Maryculter Carriage Driving Centre near Aberdeen, recently held a 60-mile trip from Braemar to Aberdeen’s Duthie Park to raise funds for the charity.
The trip saw passengers, who either bid for their places or won them in a raffle, travel on the restored Royal Highlander Coach on a route which was traditionally used in the late 1820s and 1830s.
Four teams of four horses from Maryculter, Bridge of Earn, Lockerbie and County Durham, were used to ferry the groups.
The coach travelled from Braemar to Duthie Park over a three-day period, stopping off at Invercauld, Crathie, Ballater, Aboyne, Kincardine O’ Neil, Banchory, Crathes, Drum, Peterculter and Cults.
Money raised by the run will go direct to RSABI, which provides financial assistance to those who have relied on the land.
The charity’s chief executive Nina Clancy said: “We are enormously grateful to Ewan and his team for organising this magnificent event. It was clear throughout the weekend that the passengers loved their time aboard the coach and were in awe of the work, skill, dedication and care that had been taken to organise every aspect of the trip, especially the restoration of the beautiful Royal Highlander Coach.
“RSABI relies on the generosity of its supporters, such as Ewan, as well as other individuals, businesses and trusts, to ensure that we can continue to provide effective relief to those who have worked on the land and, due to illness, disability, poverty or crisis, are unable to cope.”
Mr MacInnes said: “I was eager to support RSABI, having been NFU Scotland secretary for Deeside, Donside and Aberdeen and agent for NFU Mutual, the insurers. During my 22 years in this post I received tremendous support from my members and clients who largely were from the agricultural community. I felt on retiring in 2013 that I wanted to acknowledge this support by way of raising funds for RSABI.”
Earlier this year RSABI launched a new helpline which is designed to provide a single point of inquiry for those in need.
The helpline – 0300 111 4166 – is open every day of the year from 7am to 11pm thanks to help from another rural charity – the Farm Community Network.
It can provide advice on the benefits system as well as help on farming issues, personal matters such as money troubles and emotional distress.