25-28 March 2011

WE DID IT .......

The Great North Ride left St John’s Wood Barracks at 4am on Friday 25th March and arrived safely in Edinburgh 86 hours later at 6pm on Monday 28thMarch; a distance of 436 miles as we travelled.  54 of those hours were spent in the saddle.  It was a demanding venture. When Sir Robert Carey performed the same  journey in 1603 there were no major impediments to his progress. We had to contend with motorways, railways, cities, barbed-wire, tarmac limiting us to a trot and any number of other obstructions. What made it possible was the extraordinary support we received from our friends and supporters along the way. We were shown incredible kindness and entrusted with treasured horses all along our route. From hunters to ex-Grand National runners, we were legged up with real enthusiasm and goodwill.  Letters to individual horse owners will follow, but in the meantime we would like publicly to thank  every one of the many people who turned out their horses at all hours and in some remote spots to make this possible. It was extraordinary.

Visit the "Post Great North Ride Report"

The Historical Background

In March 1603, on the death of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Robert Carey, courtier, soldier and a member of what is now called Her Majesty’s Body Guard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms,  rode from London to Edinburgh to give the news to her heir, James VI of Scotland. Carey made the journey in three days. James VI subsequently became James I of England and unified the English and Scottish thrones.

The Challenge

Ewen Cameron and Neil Cross propose to repeat Carey’s ride between 25-28 March 2011.
Carey would have galloped up the compacted earth of the Great North Road, much of which is now motorway. We will take an alternative route, trotting up minor roads and where possible cantering up green lanes and bridleways along the 400+ mile route. As cantering on tarmac damages horses legs we will be limited to a trot on metalled roads and we do not believe that it is now reasonably possible to complete the ride in three days.  Our aim is to do so within four days. However, fundraising not speed is the driver of this project.
To put the challenge into perspective, the longest competitive endurance event in the UK is a one day ride of 100 miles.


The Horses

Horses are being provided the length of the route by supporters of the Great North Ride. We plan to change mounts every five miles and will use a total of some 160 horses to get to Edinburgh. To save time we will move from saddle to saddle without dismounting.



Raising Money for Two Military Charities

The Great North Ride aims to raise funds for two different but complementary military charities, one with a national reach, the other more local:

The UK’s leading military charity specialising in the care of veterans’ mental health. The charity is currently undertaking a £30 million fundraising appeal to extend the reach of its core provision and improve its infrastructure in response to a greatly increased demand for its services as a result of military operations.

The Light Dragoons is an armoured reconnaissance regiment which recruits in Yorkshire and the North East. Engaged in 2009 in a particularly demanding deployment in Afghanistan they are now preparing to return there early in 2012. The purpose of the Light Dragoons Colonel's Appeal is to give enduring support to Light Dragoons wounded on operations or in regimental service, to their families and to the families of those killed in the line of duty.

It is possible to donate by cheque, credit or debit card. Cheques  to The Great North Ride can be sent to The Great North Ride Office, GTC West Street, Fontmell Magna, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 0PF. If you are a UK taxpayer we can reclaim the tax paid through the giftaid scheme. Please print and fill in the form and post with your donation. On-line credit and debit card payments can be made through the security of the Just Giving Page. If you would like to receive copies of our leaflet which also carries donation details please telephone 01747 810350 or email gnr2011@btinternet.com


"Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night, when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?"

Robert Louis Stevenson captured the drive and the solitude of the committed riding man, in these thundering lines.

Now, Ewen Cameron and Neil Cross are going to saddle up, their focus the raising of funds for two noble, military, causes. 

Generations of cavalrymen present and past will no doubt be urging them on, wishing them safety, success, and limited saddle-sores.

I want to add my good wishes to them both.'

Charles (Earl) Spencer

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