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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Of horses and nature.....

Last week there were lots of events as part of a Nature Festival in Orkney.  I went along to a talk about otters given by Raymond Besant and Richard Shucksmith, with some stunning photos.  I also managed to combine an interest in birdwatching with my passion for horses in one event - a carriage ride around part of the countryside in the West Mainland.  Above is the carriage, pulled by Tom and Jerry, and expertly driven by George Louttit - who just happens to have Graemsay connections.

His two handsome horses are Friesian stallions.  I was a bit anxious as to how they might behave if we went past other horses, but they were perfect gentlemen. Well Jerry had a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step and sent the hearts of several mares aflutter but none of us ended up in a ditch! LOL!

While out in the carriage we saw sand martins, a short-eared owl, hen harrier, kestrel and a variety of the "usual suspects".  But my eyes were mainly on Tom & Jerry!  There is nothing like seeing the countryside through the ears of a horse.

Both the horses are very handsome, this is Jerry, a bit of a showman....

Um...did I mention he was a bit of a showman?

Tom is the quieter, more reserved but impeccably behaved handsome boy....

The carriage was really comfortable!  I've done a bit of carriage driving some years ago when I thought I would have to give up riding.  It was quite a bumpy experience   Not in this carriage - this must be the Rolls Royce of "wagons" - good suspension (or whatever the technical term is...) very comfortable padded bench seats, even a small table down the middle to put your binoculars and cameras on.  Um.. did I mention I was meant to be looking for birds....???? Ah well, the birds are there any time.... this was special to be with Tom & Jerry (and George too!)........

Sigh.... how very Gothic.....

 George also takes Tom & Jerry and passengers around Stromness, meets passengers from the ocean liners that call in, and also does weddings and funerals.  Those boys are busy!!  Click here for details.


  1. That looks like so much fun. The horses are beautiful. Thanks for the pictures.

  2. what beautiful horses :) Sure i would have enjoyed such a ride ! :)

  3. Those horses are lovely - I have just been introduced to Friesians here in Dorset.

  4. What a lovely breed of horses ! I assume the horse and wagon are brought across on the ferry ? I even love the SMELL of horses !

  5. What a marvellous trip that must have been. :-) I love working horses, but am not familiar with Friesans, so thanks for introducing me to such an eye-catching breed.

  6. I think this is one of my favorite posts yet..just love the photos!!

  7. Lucky you! Beautiful horses, obviously well-loved. The wagon appears to have rubber tyres, which also would have contributed to the comfort of the ride