A LUCKY few will travel to this year’s Mid Argyll Show in some style.

Up to 35 will travel vintage-class to the show, which will be held in Lochgilphead on August 12, thanks to a locally-born carriage driving enthusiast.

Four horse-drawn charabancs will make the journey from Kilmartin, travelling along the A816, through Kilmichael Glassary, then down the main street in Lochgilphead to arrive on the show field on the morning of the show – all for a fare of just £50.

One of those, locally-born carriage driving enthusiast, Ewan MacInnes, said: “Carriage driving has been a large part of my life for many years, starting in the 1970s when I bought a riding hack from Lu Boase, of the Ardfern Riding Centre. I subsequently found that the mare had been trained for carriage driving.

“This was something from childhood days that I really wanted to do and so a carriage was purchased from the late Hugh Pate, of Slockavullin, which had been previously owned by Poltalloch estate. After the vehicle was refurbished, I was off on my carriage driving career.”

Since then, Ewan has competed in driving trials with various horses, both in singles and pairs, though more recently has put together a coach team.

The horses are in regular work, being used for pleasure, charitable purposes and for commercial carriage hire.

He added: “As there are limited opportunities to attend coaching meets in Scotland, my energies are put into using the horses for charitable fund raising purposes and to supporting local projects where the travel of the past is brought to life.

“In 2011, my wife and I took part in the Horses Help Heroes Lands-end to John o’Groats fund-raising run, where a replica WW1 horse drawn ambulance travelled all the way using pairs of horses.

“We helped from Tyndrum to Benderloch and Inverness to Alness, some 60 miles. In 2014, as one of a group of five horse teams, we travelled on the hoof from Edinburgh to Gretna Green and raised £4500 for McMillan Cancer Care.

“In 2015, two projects were undertaken. The first was to re-enact the last time mail was carried by horse in the UK – from Kingussie to Roy Bridge – again using four teams in relay, one of which was mine.

“The second project was to raise funds for the rural charity, RSABI, when again four teams took part in the coach run from Braemar to Aberdeen – £7000 was gathered in on that occasion.

“As a child, I just remembered seeing the Ardrishaig coach operator, Andrew Grinlaw, out with his horses and charabancs which gave me the idea it would be good to bring the sight of teams of horses alive again in mid-Argyll.”

He added: “Four teams are prepared to do this using two charabancs and two wagonette/brakes with the capacity to take 35 passengers for a day out at the show.”

The other teams who have agreed to take part are from Bridge of Earn, owned by Richard Lanni; a second from Falkirk, owned by Alan McIndoe; a third from Stanley, Durham, owned by John Stevenson; and Ewan’s team.

The charabancs are being provided by Richard Hanson, of Bradford, and Beamish Museum,Newcastle. Ewan added: “Unfortunately, the Riverside Museum, in Glasgow, was not prepared to release the Ardrisaig Belle which was donated to the museum by Andrew Grinlaw in 1960, much to my disappointment.

“It will be a great opportunity for the interested public to view the horse teams and carriages as they travel this historic route from Kilmartin, passing through Bridgend to Lochgilphead and then to the showfield at Kilmory.”