The Path of the Peregrine
Ride from Glencoe to Glenisla
Stewart and Jo are planning to ride two highland ponies from Glencoe, leaving on the 23rd September. The route crosses some of the wildest and most remote places in the Scottish mountains. Apart from two ponies, they are taking two dogs and a peregrine falcon which Stewart is currently training as part of its rehabilitation before being released back into the wild. During and after this expedition, the team hopes to raise awareness of raptors and wild habitats as well as raise funds.
The money raised from this trek will be divided between Stewart’s charity,
International Raptor Research and Conservation, based in Perthshire, and Horseback UK, Aberdeenshire. IRRC funds will go towards a satellite tracking project for threatened Imperial eagles in Siberia. HB UK funds will go towards their centre in Aberdeenshire and its various projects.
Stewart has worked with raptors for over thirty years and is deeply involved in the conservation of birds of prey across Scotland in terms of rescue and rehabilitation. He has a profound knowledge of these iconic creatures and the habitats in which they live and is passionate about the preservation of the Scottish landscape. Stewart is also co-founder of a project in Siberia to protect the Imperial Eagle and has worked there and in China. He also recently travelled with the eagle hunters in Outer Mongolia to exchange knowledge and skills in training eagles.
Working with birds of prey can be hugely rewarding and beneficial for both the birds and for the people working with them. Over his career, Stewart has developed techniques in this field, working with people with learning difficulties, physical and mental disabilities and stress disorders as well as behavioural problems.
Since its inception in 2009, in a renovated farm near Aboyne, Horseback UK aims to empower veterans who have endured injury or illness to help themselves and the wider community. It is a unique and extraordinary place and the work done there beyond value. Please do look at their website, www.horseback.org.uk for further information and to meet those involved. Stewart has been working with this centre for several years.
Stewart and Jo met while carrying out wildlife surveys to protect habitats in the Angus glens from the proliferation of wind farms. Jo is an experienced horse woman and a lover of wildlife and wild places and she has agreed to help Stewart in this fundraising event. She is also a writer and an artist and will be producing a limited edition of poems, sketches and anecdotes composed (in Gaelic and English), available on request (please reserve a copy with Jo!). The two ponies (Angus and Bree) belong to Stewart and are now being trained for the trek, negotiating bogs, rivers and steep rocky slopes. They must also get used to camping in different places each night and being tethered. They are a delightful pair and have taken to their new adventurous life with enthusiasm.
Please donate towards this unusual and challenging expedition. Cheques can be sent to the address below, payable to International Raptor Research and Conservation (all letters will be receipted). Please also look at the website www.irrc.org.uk for information about donating online. Alternatively, go to justgiving.com and access International Raptor Research and Conservation. Progress will be updated on the IRRC Facebook page and Twitter and a blog account of the journey written on completion. (Also remember Jo’s book!) What a privilege to ride across one of the last wilderness areas of Europe and to live amongst its wildlife for even just a brief moment. These places must at all costs be preserved, for all of us.
For more information please visit: Website