Haflinger Trekking Centre
The beginning of our trekking centre really begins in 1971 when I bought a beautiful Haflinger mare called Hermi
Yolande Robertson (snr) - Owner
Our story starts in 1970 when I saw an article about Haflingers at Chatsworth in Derbyshire. We went to see them in their fields and immediately fell in love with them.. their kind, quiet temperament, their colour and conformation. The stud groom, Tom Jones, told us of a mare for sale in Suffolk and by May '71 Hermi had come to live with us. We put her in foal to Maximillian - the Duchess of Devonshire's stallion and a year later Dandy was born. Thus starting a breeding programme that has spanned nearly 50 years.
During the 70's we travelled around the country showing our Haflingers at many shows, in Ruthin, North Wales, Smith's Lawn, Windsor, Royal International Horse Show, Stoneliegh, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
I had always had a dream to start a trekking centre in Scotland, and as our herd of Haflingers grew I was given the opportunity to move to Scotland in April 1977 to establish a trekking business at Glen Clova Hotel in Angus.
It was a very good place to trek and our ponies soon adapted to trekking and living in one of the most beautiful Glens of Angus.
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I met my future husband, Jim, in Glen Clova. He was the shepherd in the Glen and we spent many evenings talking of treks I could go on or try out. He knew every part of the hills and glens and was so knowledgeable... It was a great help to a girl from Derbyshire who had a lot to learn about, mist, bogs and being on the hills!
In May 1979 we moved to Newtonmore and began to build up a trekking business on Craig Dhub and around Newtonmore. Craig Dhub became a very special place to us all and we were able to share it's secrets and everyday life with our customers, many who didn't ride but who enjoyed our Haflinger ponies and our steady pace.. being able to take in the flora and fauna and views... take photographs and just be at peace.
We saw wild goats, roe, red and sika deer, lots of different birds, butterflies and lots of interesting 'beasties'
At the end of 1999 we had to move to Laggan and our time actually living with our Haflingers came to an end. We set up our business within the forest at Strathmashie and we commuted to there every day. Our customers followed us there and we also started getting people from the West and we, again, made many treks within the forest. We started at the Gorstean end of the forest first and then moved to our tack shed/come Forestry Commission shed at Strathmashie end when they put walking paths in at the Gorstean. We had a good scope for making new tracks around the forest and across onto the Blackwood Forest too. Our clients were really happy with the change and so we trekked on!
About 2004/2005 plans went in for a mountain bike centre at Strathmashie and we looked forward to a café and toilets development. 2006 we had new pony paths to trek on, although not as much scope as we once had, to make room for the new bike tracks. We did a lot of Trekking and everyone loved our new shed which had purposely been built for us by the Forestry Commission which was great!
Jim, my husband, died in April 2006 and Yolande, our daughter, bravely carried on trekking as Jim would have wanted us to.
Business was steady and we had old and new customers coming to enjoy our new centre. As 2009 came to an end, the tack shed was put up for Tender, unfortunately we didn't get the chance to re-tender so we were on the move again!
There was no grazing available locally and we were so relieved when Mr and Mrs John Rainey-Brown from Cromdale offered their fields. We were able to ride around Cromdale and along the Spey, the horses adapting to a different environment completely. We travelled to Cromdale every day, apart from when the roads were too extreme to drive on through some of the winter months. Again John Rainey-Brown would come to our rescue and check all horses and ponies were in top condition, as he lived on the premises.
Christmas 2012, marked the time of moving the ponies again but this time moving them much closer to home, Drumguish. Here we are based and what a beautiful and unspoilt place we have been so lucky to be a part of.
Looking forward to a vibrant future
Yolande Robertson (snr) and Yolande J Robertson (jnr)