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Meet 80-Year-Old Jane Dotchin Who Treks 1,000 Km Every Year With Her Horse And Dog

Meet 80-Year-Old Jane Dotchin Who Treks 1,000 Km Every Year With Her Horse And Dog thumbnail

Meet Jane Dotchin who turned 80-year-old in December last year, from Hexham, Northumberland proved that age is just a number if you are passionate about your adventures. 

Since 1972 Jane Dotchine has been going on a seven-week riding adventure every year with her 13-year-old horse “Diamond” and her handicapped Jack Russell Terrier “Dinky”. This adventure of Jane would have a certain charm on its own, but it increases immeasurably with the realization that the rider is an 80-year-old senior citizen. 

Having adventures since 1972

Jane Dotchin started her journey on 31 August
Jane Dotchin started her journey on 31 August/Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

It all started in 1972. Jane Dotchin outfitted her horse and rode almost 965 kilometers in Scottish territory. Now 80 years old, her 40th adventure has absolutely not lost her determination, her courage and her taste for travel. Every year, she continues this tradition, despite her advanced age.

On her seven weeks journey which started on 31 August, the 80-year-old Jane covers between 25 and 30 kilometers every day. In total, Jane will travel 1,000 kilometers with her two friends this year. Depending on the weather, she decides on her routes and only has the essentials with her. 

Jane Dotchin travels with her horse and disabled dog

Dinky the Jack Russell who has deformed front legs, rides in a saddlebag, and cuddles up with Jane at night while Diamond rests and grazes on a long tether nearby. 

“My mother would look after my other ponies, but she wasn’t that keen on looking after my Haflinger stallion,” she told Scotland’s STV News. “So I rode him down to Somerset to see a friend, which is about 300 miles [480km].” 

Jane Dotchin travelling since 1972
Jane Dotchin travelling since 1972/Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

“There are a few different routes I can take depending on the weather,” she said. “I don’t want to go over hilltops in foul weather, but I work it out on the way.”

Essentials Jane Dotchin carries during her travels

Jane sleeps in a tent and eats mostly

porridge, oatcakes, and cheese

from the various villages it passes through – that gives her strength. She is also careful to always wear an orange vest to be seen by motorists. 

Jane always carries an old mobile phone for emergency use that she has mostly turned off to save battery. “I keep it switched off and just ring out to ring up landowners to get gates unlocked or to warn people when I’m coming but sometimes the trouble is getting a signal,” she said

Jane Dotchin carrying all the essentials that help her and her friends during journey
Jane Dotchin carrying all the essentials that help her and her friends during journey/Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

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

Jane checks in with the people she’s met over the years

Every year during her 1000 km long adventure trip Jane checks in with people she met over the years, “It is nice to go and see them again. I ring them up in the morning to say I’m going to be there in the evening, I don’t warn them too far in advance, because if the weather suddenly changes or I decide to stop early then they can be left wondering where I’ve got to.”

Exceptional Achievement Award

In recognition of her independent spirit and years of long-distance touring, Dotchin received an Exceptional Achievement Award from the British Horse Society

Jane Dotchin covers 25-30 km every day
Jane Dotchin covers 25-30 km every day/Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

She would like to practice her pilgrimage rides for as long as possible and her visual impairment, which requires an eye patch, does not prevent her from doing so, because she “knows the routes inside out and if not, she knows her horse”.

Jane Dotchin books

Dotchin has written some books on her horseback adventure and one more edition will be published soon by Wagtail Press.

Read More

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