THIS weekend will see the start of an epic journey for a Highland pony – all in a bid to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Today (Saturday) Irelanda – a Highland pony from Ruaridh Ormiston's farm in Speyside – will be used by actor and horse enthusiast, Louis Hall.

The 24-year-old accompanied by a team from the Ormiston stable will begin a journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End for the Trust. Named 'The Big Hoof, Mr Hall, said: "I expect the ride to take around 50 days. We aim to average about 20 miles each day, but, as always, we will see what happens on the way.

"In 2015, a family friend, Leo, died from cystic fibrosis. He was just 26, though an inspiration, a friend and an incredible human being to all. He knew his time was limited and chose to live it full of love and hope. He was a hero to everyone that met him, and he never wasted a second.

"I am not so much younger now than he was when he died, and during the spread of the coronavirus, I realised how many people with underlying health issues, such as CF, would need serious help and support during and after, the vicious spread of the virus.

"He would have been extremely vulnerable during these times, but I am lucky enough to have no underlying health issues and feel that with this fortune it would be timely to raise awareness of this dreadful disease."

He added: "This challenge is something I am doing independently for all those who suffer from the horrors of cystic fibrosis and for Leo. With each step that Irelanda and I take, and with every donation big and small, we will all be fighting the disease and helping to prevent further loss in the future. I aim to raise £10,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, we have already reached £3900."

The trek begins at John O’ Groats, then to Inverness, before heading down the Great Glen Way, a section of the West Highland Way, before turning south at Fort William to the Central Belt.

At Gretna the aim is to get to the Pennine Way and follow this along the west side of England before again turning west into the most southern point of the UK.

Accompanying the entourage from John O’Groats to Inverness will be Ruaridh Ormiston with lots of support in a horse and cart!

Louis, as well as being an actor, is a horse-riding instructor based in London, who worked with George Scott Rides, in Andalucia.

Over the last five years, he has ridden in the desert in Alice Springs during the December heats of mustering season; above the lakes and into the mountains of Kashmir; around Lake Khovsgol in Northern Mongolia; and across the Sierra Morena mountains in Andalucia. "This challenge, however, will be different to all the rest," he said.

Follow on instagram: #thebighoof plus here's a link to the Justgiving page: