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A carriage driving group for the disabled is looking for a new home.
For more than a decade, the Argyll Riding for the Disabled Carriage Driving Group has happily made itself at home at Baravullin Beag near Benderloch, but now the time has come for it to move on to pastures new.
The group has got until this time next year to move but the search for new stables and land is proving a challenge, says the chairman of the group’s trustees Michael Hawke.
Around 40 members and volunteers come from as far as Fort William and Tayvallich to go out on the group’s two ponies and three carriages based at the home of their hosts Jane and Hamish Isaac.
‘It’s been a very successful group, with a lot of people over the years getting an enormous amount of fun from it. People get such satisfaction from driving carriages, regardless of their disability. We are hugely grateful to Jane and Hamish for having us and would dearly like to continue there but appreciate their need too,’ said Mr Hawke.
Over the last few months, the group’s organisers have been hunting for a new location but has had no luck so far.
‘We haven’t dismissed the idea of reforming with the Riding for the Disabled group up at Glencruitten’s Achnalarig Stables but there’s nowhere to drive the carriages out – except for the little track,’ added Mr Hawke.
From their Benderloch home, carriages are driven down to the beach at Tralee and back.
Ideally the group needs space to house the ponies, carriages and tack.
‘We don’t have vast amounts of money but we could get enough to build a stable block. Essentially it’s the land we need and for someone happy for us to be their and do our work. Somewhere to ride out to would be good too.
‘It costs us around £8,000 a year to run the group after vets and feed and other costs. It’s not cheap. We’re keeping our fingers-crossed that someone out there will be able to help. We haven’t given up hope yet but if we don’t succeed it’s the end of the carriage driving.’
The group had looked at a potential site near Ardfern but it was too close to a busy main road.
Anyone who can help, should email Mr Hawke at email@example.com
Last month two of the group’s volunteers, Vivienne Price and Gail McGregor, were presented with excellence awards for ‘over and above volunteering’ by Princess Ann at the 2019 Scottish SUPRA Regional Conference in Bishopton. Group member Juliet Hawke also presented the Princess with a bouquet at the end.