The Alec Lochore-designed courses at Blair Castle never disappoint. Making use of the striking – and incredibly varied – natural terrain, with its dramatic inconsistencies, sweeping slopes, and craggy outcrops, it twists and turns and begs for bold riding. It’s one of those special courses with a huge amount of personality – not least because of the playfully designed fences, which embrace Scottish heritage and stereotypes without sacrificing savvy questions and level-appropriate technicality. Even walking it, you get the feeling that ridden right, it would reward both horse and rider with that rare, special feeling of adrenaline and air-time. In short? It looks like great fun, whether you’re jumping it or watching it, and it’s going to give everyone plenty to do.
Chinch took advantage of Land Rover’s patronage of the event to check out the course in fine style. He had planned to walk each of the distances, too, and provide his eager fans with his top tips for riding each line, but when he declared that there were 163 strides between 9A and 9B, we had to intercede. Leave it to the professionals, small rodent.
Check out the interactive course plans for the CCI3* and CIC3*, provided by CrossCountryApp and snapped by Jane and Nigel Clarke (and their helpful pooch, of course!).