A Moray paramedic is riding 1,000 miles across the Highlands with her two horses in support of overworked ambulance crews.
Claire Alldritt and her two horses, Yogi and Swift, will travel around the Highlands to raise money for The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASC).
Due to the pandemic, NHS services and ambulance crews have been pushed to the limit, with many services negatively impacted by staff shortages, and TASC offers a range of services and support to help those struggling with the burden.
Ms Alldritt aims to raise over £1,000 for the charity through the four-month challenge “Hoofin’ around the Highlands”.
By taking along her two horses, Ms Alldritt has to not only find suitable rest spots for herself, but her horses also need access to grass to graze on.
Speaking about why she decided to take on this challenge, she said: “I have been a long-distance rider for over 10-years, and I often head into the hills for a few weeks with my horses.
“It’s just a hobby really, but it helps to clear my mind between spells working as a paramedic in Elgin, and I have always had the ambition to do the 1,000-mile challenge.
“I just thought now was the best time to do it because I have been able to get four months off work on the back of the pandemic, which was quite a stressful time.”
She said that being out in nature has helped her “immensely” during the stressful times in her career, even before the pandemic.
‘You can’t worry about real-world pressures when your out on the hills.’
Her two horses, Yogi and Swift, offer companionship on the journey, which Ms Alldritt says helps with her mental health and that they are a calming force.
Ms Alldritt also likes the detached feeling you have when out in nature and said “you can’t worry about real-world pressures when your out on the hills”.
She knows first-hand the struggles that ambulance crews face in the north and north-east.
People requiring care in Elgin face long transfers to other facilities due to Covid-19 and staff shortages.
Ms Alldritt, who sets off tomorrow, said: “The Ambulance Staff Charity offers services such as mental wellbeing, physical well-being and financial support for ambulance staff, those who have retired and the families as well.
“I just felt with the NHS and the ambulance service under such strain that some of my colleagues could benefit from services they provide.”
To find out more about Hoofin’ around the Highlands click here.