80-Year-Old Woman Does Yearly 600-Mile Trek With Her Pony And Dog

Jane has been doing this trip every year since 1972 on her horse called Diamond.

Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

Jane Dotchin treks an epic route every year from her Hexham home, all the way to Inverness in Scotland.

She set off for this years’ installment on 31 August with Dinky, her disabled Jack Russell by her side.

Jane carries everything she may need on her back, including food, a tent and other essentials.

She hopes to keep up this tradition for as long as she can, and does it all despite wearing an eye patch.

Her love for trotting across the country began 40 years ago, when she was exploring the West Country.

‘My mother would look after my other ponies but she wasn’t that keen on looking after my Halfinger stallion, so I rode him down to Somerset to see a friend, which is about 300 miles. It was a bit of a hard slog, but it was good.’

Jane said

This trip gave her a taste for the open road and inspired her to travel up to see her friends in the Highlands every autumn.

The route usually takes seven weeks to complete, weather permitting, with Jane popping in to say hello to people along the way that she has met over the years.

She fuels herself on oatcakes, cheese and porridge, and handily has a phone with a battery lasting six weeks.

‘I refuse to go slogging on through pouring wet rain. There are a few different routes I can take depending on the weather. I don’t want to go over hilltops in foul weather, but I work it out on the way. I don’t bother with maps, I just keep to the routes I know.’

Jane says

Dinky the dog has a deformity on its front legs, so travels in a saddlebag and snuggles with Jane in the night.

While trekking, the amount of litter Jane sees leaves her dismayed.

‘It’s appalling, in particular single used barbecues which are left lying all over the place. Cumbernauld is the fly-tipping capital of Britain. There are some loveley people there who let me camp, but some of it is so disgusting and shameful.’

She says

Campervans can also be an issue with single-track roads.

‘Drivers just didn’t seem to know how wide they were, I was forever just about getting swept off the roads by them.’

Jane said

Jane has absolutely no plans to stop her annual strolls.

‘There is always something interesting happening and there is never a dull moment.’

Written by Alice Joan