Cairngorms 100 route

Pictured are the riders as they make their way out of the Garrabuie Ravine

Pictured are the riders as they make their way out of the Garrabuie Ravine

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In July 2015 Scotland will be playing host to the inaugural Cairngorm 100 endurance ride, and Brechin rider John Thomson tested the route.

Taking a break from competitive endurance, John and his pure bred Arabian gelding Prince Omar, backed up with a three man crew and two support vehicles, took to the route last month.

They reached the control points ahead of schedule, reaching the forest loop east of Loch Muick at 7.30 a.m.

The duo were joined at Crathie by Dukeries 160kms record holder Joe Newlands and his part-bred Arabian gelding Blue Midnight Shadow. The riders followed the route through Balmoral to Invercauld and Mar Lodge.

A welcome break was taken at the Linn of Dee before setting off on the final 35kms through Glen Tilt and the Garrabuie Ravine.

After wading the confluence of the Tilt and Tarf the established track was reached and a welcome crew point two kilometres west of the Falls of Tarf gave horses and riders the opportunity for a final hold before starting the last section of mind numbing tracks and roadwork running gradually downhill for 15 kilometres to the finish at Blair Atholl.

At 9.30 p.m. they trotted over the finish in a time of just over 15.5 hours riding time. Omar was quickly checked and vetted, displaying a remarkable recovery.