A 24 year old woman rode 1,500 kilometres on horseback around Wales to see her grandfather, who is staying at the Blind Veterans’ home in Llandudno, and raise money for charity

Throughout June, Bethan Matthews, from Cray, Brecon, rode around the borders of Wales in aid of two charities: Blind Veterans UK and Communities for Horses.

Bethan and horse Charm departed from Margam, Port Talbot on Saturday in June and contended with hot sunshine, rain, and vision restricting fog for 29 days before reaching her final stop of Briton Ferry, near Neath.

Travelling anti clockwise, Bethan headed towards Cardiff then northwards, reaching the Blind Veterans UK centre in Llandudno on June 11 as planned. There she spent time with her 94 year old grandfather, who also enjoyed meeting Charm for the first time.

Bethan said: “My grandad has glaucoma. It’s hard to put into words what Blind Veterans UK does for him. He is fond of going to Llandudno as he doesn’t feel so isolated. He lives alone and although he has regular visitors it’s nice to be somewhere where he can talk to his friends.

“Blind Veterans UK has also supplied him with equipment that allows him to live independently.”

Travelling between 20km to 65km a day through a variety of terrains, Bethan experienced both high and low points.

She added: “There were so many high points, where I was grateful to see spectacular views or meet amazing people. It was so lovely to see my grandad at the centre; he calls it his second home. He also hasn’t seen my riding for a long time so it was great for him to meet Charm”.

“The one thing I remember was my fifth day. I got absolutely drenched whilst I was riding along Offa’s Dyke from Pandy to Hay-on-Wye. I was on top of the mountain for more than 20 kilometres, alone in the fog, not able to see the spectacular scenery I was looking forward to. That was probably my lowest point as it felt like it was never ending.”

The generosity of strangers during her month-long ride has been most welcomed by Bethan, she said: “I absolutely loved our journey and could have easily carried on. I couldn’t have asked for a better horse than Charm, she was the perfect partner.”

So far, Bethan has exceeded her target, raising more than £2,200 for Blind Veterans UK alone. Donations for her chosen charities can still be made through her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/welshborder