Blair Atholl estate – a center for country and adventure sports
On our return from a fabulous week in the Outer Hebrides I decided to stop off at the Blair Castle International horse trials for the cross country day. This is Scotland’s leading equestrian event where Olympic medallists compete alongside amateurs in four International event classes.
It’s hard to believe it’s just over a year since we fortunate enough to watch the cross county event at the Olympics, the wave of roars as Zara Phillips rode the course are still ringing in our ears.
if you have not seen a cross country course before the fences are awe inspiring – solid and seemingly impenetrable. It’s great fun to walk the course and get close to the action.
For the uninitiated a three day event consists of dressage, cross country and show jumping. More information about the three disciplines can be found on the spectator page on the Blair Atholl website.
I took the opportunity to look around the country fair and view the activities in the various arenas. There were two activities that caught my eye, the first was the pony club competition where children race back and fore to complete a series of challenges displaying great courage and team spirit.
The second sport that caught my eye was horse boarding, its a crazy mix of mountain boarding and water skiing where riders are towed behind a galloping horse. If you are after an adrenaline rush then this is the sport for you. The Scottish Horse Boarding club gave a great demonstration of their sport with a few spills and thrills to entertain the crowd.
I have passed the wonderful Blair Castle numerous times on the way to the highlands but hadn’t realised it was open to the public. I called into the Ranger tent to learn more about the estate and felt at ease by their informal approach. The Blair Atholl estate has been part of the Cairngorms national park since 2010 and the Ranger service helps people to enjoy the land through a variety of activities, they also manage 9 way-marked trails for walkers and cyclists.