A four-legged eco warrior called Obama is pitching in to help clean an Aberdeenshire beach

Simon Mulholland and his pony Obama.
Picture by Kenny Smith
Simon Mulholland and his pony Obama. Picture by Kenny Smith

A four-legged eco warrior has been helping to clean up a north-east beauty spot.

Obama the pony, owned by Simon Mulholland, trots the length and breadth of Scotland to help people with disabilities access beach and woodland areas that they usually would be unable to traverse safely.

Using a specially designed “chariot”, the pair have become regular visitors to Duthie Park in Aberdeen, Forvie Nature Reserve, Chanony Point and Loch Morlich.

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At the weekend, they visited St Cyrus National Nature Reserve in Aberdeenshire, and Obama lent his hoofs to a litter clean up organised by the charity Surfers Versus Sewage.

Working alongside 70 volunteers, he was able to put his pulling power into practice as he helped transport bags of plastic across the beach.

Mr Mulholland, 64, said: “There was a skip absolutely rammed with rubbish that the volunteers had collected – they do a great job to keep the beach clean.

“This was quite a useful experience for Obama and I, and something a little different for him.

“He did have a heavy load so but I was able to experiment with some more routes near the dunes and ridges, but without the worry that I would be putting anyone at risk.”

Mr Mulholland started to work with disabled people, under the business name Pony Axis Service, after receiving Obama, who had been abused by his previous owner, in 2009.

Obama and Simon in Aberdeenshire last week

Since then, he has helped “hundreds” of people in Scotland enjoy the great outdoors, no matter their mobility.

He said: “Basically it’s about access for everyone; Obama will take anyone anywhere.

“Organisations in Scotland, such as Saddle Up Ranch, Scottish Natural Heritage and the charity Promoting A More Inclusive Society (PAMIS) have been totally supportive.

“Last year I got the chance to take a chap called Gordon to St Cyrus National Nature Reserve.

“He had not been on a beach since 1974, so it was a really special experience and definitely a highlight.”

Simon and Obama with 12-year-old Jake Smith, exploring Balmedie Beach in 2017

Mr Mulholland is looking for more people to join the Pony Axis Service and hopes to have representatives spread across Scotland to allow more disabled people to enjoy the great outdoors.

To find out more, or to book Obama for an outing, email simon@ponyaxesscotland.com or call 07510 736518.