The Petal Rides are a series of different all-day rides that leave from our stables in Brora and return to the same hotel each night.
These rides are not suitable for the first time rider, as we ride over rough terrain. However, we do offer options suitable for novice and experienced riders, and parties with mixed experience can be catered for. If you book as a group of three or more family or friends, we will keep your ride private, just for you. We provide saddle bags, lunch boxes and water bottles and the price includes accommodation at a local hotel and all meals. Extra nights accommodation can be arranged at cost. The petal rides are priced at £160 per day and include a days ride, a nights accommodation and all meals.
Strath Brora Ride (Coffin Road)
This ride starts on the beach, first following the rocky shore, where seals haul out on the rocks and watch us riding by. There are short sandy bays here, so we can get used to some speed on the horses slowly, before leaving the beach at the pretty harbour and rejoining it on the other side of the river. Broras north beach is long and sandy and we can enjoy long canters/gallops on the sand here. We leave the beach and pass the distillery before joining an old coffin trail high into the hills above Loch Brora, with stunning views in all directions from the summit. It's called a coffin road because in the days before proper roads, the families further up the valley would carry their dead over the hill, to be buried in the churchyard at Clyne. This trail also leads to the old peat cutting area, where families gathered their fuel and dried it in the summer to prepare for the long winters ahead. We often see large herds of red deer up here, eagles and hen harriers are sometimes seen too. Slowly winding our way down the hill, we stop for our lunch at the end of Loch Brora, allowing our ponies to splash about in the water - if it's warm enough and you are brave enough we could take them in for a swim! Ospreys are a sighted regularly from here. We follow the lochside where experienced riders can canter (or gallop!) along the lochside grazings, eventually coming to the end of the loch, and following a wooded trail along the side of the tumbling river, before fording the river and finally returning to base.
This ride is tide dependant and can only be done on certain dates... We leave the stables and head straight onto the beach and keep heading North, passing the rocky shore where the seals haul out and heading to the North beach (see above) for some nice fast gallops on the sand. We keep heading North up the beach, passing more rocky seal havens and galloping some more along the sandy beaches. After lunch, we simply turn around and head back along the beach. Depending on the tide, we may have to leave the beach and return to the stables by crossing the river Brora.
We ride along the shorter sandy beach close to the house, then into the grassy meadows leading to Dunrobin Castle. Passing beneath the castle, we ride through Golspie, and onto the pretty pine forest at Loch Fleet. This is a nature reserve of national importance for several rare plants and a haven for many rare animals too. We ride back along the beautiful sandy beach. From the village, we pass again beside the castle, crossing into the forest and riding to a viewpoint in the hills, descending again to the beach, where tide permitting, we will have a final blast on the sand.
We follow the first half of the Loch Fleet ride, but head inland at Golspie village to ride through the
forest, and onto the winding trail leading to the summit of
Ben Bragghie with it's statue of the Duke of Sutherland towering above us. The Duke and Duchess of Sutherland were responsible for the notorious Highland Clearances, when the people were cleared from the lands to make way for the more profitable sheep. Over the years many people have tried to topple the statue, but for now he still stands there gazing out over his lands! The views from here are truly stunning - on a clear day we can see the peaks of mountains in 8 different counties, and views range as far as the Grampian mountains far across the Moray Firth. We return through the forests, and again, tide permitting will have a ride along the beach to finish.
Duchary Hill Fort
Again we ride along the beach and foreshore to Dunrobin Castle, crossing the Big Burn and riding to the foot of Ben Bragghie. Following twisting tracks above the Big Burn to the Curling Pond, where we stop for lunch, we ride on through the forest until we come out onto the open hill with stunning views overthe Moray Firth to the Grampian Hills beyond. We follow an old stalkers path, constructed many years ago for the ponies used by the deer stalkers of old, riding high up onto the shoulder of the hill. We have far reaching views here over Loch Brora into the hills beyond - on a clear day we can see the Ben Loyal on the North coast! This is an excellent place to spot red deer herds grazing in the heather. We descend past the old peat cuttings for the Doll crofting community - long since abandoned, picking our way through the heather around the peat cuttings to and join the old peat track. Passing the rocky crags of Duchary Hill Fort - an iron age fort which is barely visible now apart from the walls that have been built between the crags, we descend to the crofting community of Doll and return to the stables.