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Military riders to retrace 1930s trek

By Lorna Thompson

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MILITARY horse riders will retrace a historic trek this month on a four-day endurance ride ending at Kinloss.

Exercise Highland Garron will follow in the hoof-marks of a recruitment and publicity drive undertaken in 1934 by the Cavalry Regiment of the British Army. In the inter-war years, the Royal Scots Greys – so-called for their grey horses – traversed the Cairngorms in an effort to bolster its troop numbers.

Riders from the Royal Scots Greys will be represented by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and Royal Engineers. The mounted teams will follow four sections of the original ride, passing points of military and historical significance for both the Royal Engineers and the Cavalry, with the trek also serving as a recruitment ride for the modern-day units.

Some of the riders will dress in period uniform and carry 1930s equipment – and there will be a chance to meet the riders when they stop at the Highlanders' Museum at Fort George.

The Royal Scots Greys.
The Royal Scots Greys.

The ride will set off on Sunday, July 14, from the forest of Loch Dunmore, near Pitlochry, stopping at Blair Atholl Castle, and then following the Badenoch Way and Speyside Way to Aviemore, passing the ruins of Ruthven Barracks, near Kingussie.

They will be in Nairnside and at Fort George on July 17, where people can meet the riders and support staff outside the Highlanders' Museum. Troops will be dressed in uniforms, modern and period, representing their units. Major Will McGill RE will be on hand to field questions about the ride, its history, their equipment, as well as their links with the fort.

The troops will finally dismount at Kinloss Barracks, where the horses will be rested before being transported back to their regiments.

Exercise Highland Garron is being undertaken primarily as a battlefield study to test the physical endurance and riding skills of troops. Alongside this the aim is to increase awareness of the military history of the Cavalry and Royal Engineers operating in what was, during the 17th and 18th centuries, a remote part of the British Isles.

The Royal Scots Greys was a cavalry regiment from 1678 until 1971, when they merged with the 3rd Carabiniers to form The Royal Scots Dragoon Guard.

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