Helena Janicki of the Forth & Tay Disabled Ramblers easily negotiates extremely uneven heather land on a TGA Breeze 4 for BBC2's Landward programme
Helena Janicki of the Forth & Tay Disabled Ramblers tackles challenging woodland on a TGA Breeze 4 for BBC2's Landward programme
Several members of Forth & Tay Disabled Ramblers were involved in
filming in the Lomonds for a recent episode of BBC Landward. Four off-road
mobility machines were put to the test on the West Lomond path and the path
from Craigmead to Falkland to demonstrate that disability need not stop anyone
from being adventurous. The machines were the Beamer Tramper, the TGA Breeze,
the Boma and the 4x Extreme off-rod wheelchair.
It was a most interesting and exciting day and gave those who took part an insight into how much work is involved in putting a programme together.
Photos from the filming
The first of the winter scoots took place on Monday 18th October. It is
vital that the scooters are taken out at regular intervals so that the
batteries don't go flat. In addition if anything is wrong with the tyres or
other parts then action is quickly taken to put the scooters back into safe
Aileen and Marilyn organise the scoots within the Glenrothes area. The bigger the number of members who are available for those outings the greater is the sense of involvement with FTDR. A group of six who set out on the first scoot consisted of Aileen, Helena, James, Dave, Arthur and Leslie. We set off from Poplar Road, Glenrothes where the scooters are stored. The route took us through areas where trees and bushes were shedding their leaves with the lovely autumn colours. We travelled eastwards from Woodside to the outskirts of Coaltown of Balgonie. The view changed from residential area to open country and eventually farmland. We took advantage of this and made our way through country roads to an area, sheltered from a chilly prevailing wind adjacent to Byresloan Farm, where we had our packed lunch.
With the outlook of open landscape we felt that the scoot was more like another ramble. The sound of tractors and other farm machinery was a reminder that farmers were busy taking full advantage of the dry weather. On our return journey we had a few safe encounters with farm vehicles which seem to get bigger every year as is illustrated by a few photos. All in all it was an excellent, if blowy, scoot.
Members are invited to the next scoot on Monday 15th November which will leave at 11 am from 26 Poplar Road, Glenrothes KY7 4AA. ( off Woodside)
For details of further scoots and information contact Aileen and Marilyn at
Photos from Scoot
Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers ended their season of rambles at
Almondbank, Perth. They were fortunate to start their ramble at Hunting Tower
Hotel in dry weather, though after a lengthy spell of heavy rain the approach
to the river was pretty muddy. The journey along the bank of the River Almond
showed many rustic colours in the fields and trees. It was grand that the group
was able to take the opportunity to appreciate the special beauty associated
with autumn as also the charm of goldfinches at the riverbank. Recent downpours
of rain left the rivers Almond and Tay in full spate with strong currents
providing exciting views. At the point when the ramblers travelled under the A9
trunk road, they were able to contrast the noise of fast moving traffic with
the sense of peace and quiet space which the riverbanks offered for most of the
On recent rambles visitors from Dumfries and Clydebank participated with the hope that similar groups may be established in their locality. F&TDR will be thrilled to see this happen in the many areas of spectacular landscape throughout our beautiful country.
At the conclusion of the ramble most of the members and volunteers took the opportunity to have a lovely meal at Hunting Tower Hotel and appreciated the service and co-operation of the staff. For further news and information of the organisation please visit www.forthandtaydisabledramblers.org.uk
Photos from Almondbank ramble
Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers visit to 'The Hermitage', Dunkeld Forth
and Tay Disabled Ramblers had an encouraging response at its stand at the
recent Mobility Roadshow at Ingliston, Edinburgh. The organisation held an
eventful ramble the same weekend at 'The Hermitage', Dunkeld. After being
transported by minibus through varied woodland to a height of 750', the group
who travelled on motorised scooters at a leisurely pace took in the wonder of
it all. The contours of different rock revealed shapes of an eagle and a
baboon. Wood carvings along the route also added to the interest of the outing.
Two moments stood out in a spectacular way. For the first time most of the
group discovered Pinecone Point which was created in 2009 thanks to 'Big Tree
Country' of Perthshire and the Forestry Commission. From a pinecone shaped
vantage point visitors can sit and view the surrounding landscape at
considerable height and observe the River Tay and the A9 below. The 'grand
finale' of the day was the more familiar sight of the River Braan in full spate
providing the picturesque scene at Ossian's Hall. It is a real joy for disabled
people to experience the wonderful sights of 'The Hermitage' where wheelchair
users are accommodated.
Thanks are due to everyone at the Forestry Commission who helped to make the day such a roaring success in spite of the poor weather conditions in the earlier stage. The new paths are great and being able to access the longer route at the Hermitage and finish at Inver made it all the better.
Photos from Dunkeld ramble
Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers had a stand at the Mobility Roadshow at
Ingliston, Edinburgh on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th September 2010. It was
most encouraging to have so many enquiries about the group and information
packs will be sent to those who requested them. Information leaflets about
'Walking on Air' Gliding for the Disabled at Portmoak, Loch Leven and
Wheelchair Curling for the Disabled on the ice rink at the Green Hotel, Kinross
were also available. Whilst the stand was manned by members of the committee it
was a great support to have other members of the rambling group visiting the
exhibition. On the Friday three intrepid members aspired to dizzy heights as
they climbed a vertical 'wall' about 30-35' high which featured in the
exhibition hall. As far as the three climbers were concerned the north face of
the Eiger was nothing compared to what they had done! Needless to say they were
harnessed and roped up for the event and looked the part with their protective
helmets. It is hoped that the photos give a flavour of what June Greig, Leslie
Barr and Tom Carroll got up to. Ross Hatten our youngest member achieved the
climb on the Saturday but unfortunately we have no photo of him. All credit to
Tom who climbed using one arm as the other was in a sling following a recent
operation. As for June she stood out as a very 'fashionable' climber indeed
having decided to wear a pearl necklace for the occasion! The boys did not have
Photos from Ingliston Mobility Roadshow
Following several days of gales and heavy rain the sun shone for FTDR's
latest outing in Fife Regional Park. The ramblers started out from the
community hall in Strathmiglo, crossing over to the start of the off-road cycle
path and finishing at the Stables on Falkland Estate. Our thanks to the
community hall committee and caretaker for allowing us to use the parking and
The previous day's gales had brought down numerous branches leaving the path littered with obstacles. Along the route there are views of East Lomond (Falkland Hill) to be enjoyed but unfortunately it was shrouded in mist on the day. The route is varied with hedgerows, woodland and forest sections, open views across the Howe of Fife, and a good smooth tarmac surface so it is ideal for disabled ramblers.
After a short lunch break it was on to Pillars of Hercules for a quick comfort break and a spot of retail therapy before winding through the network of paths on the estate to the Stables.
Photos from Strathmiglo ramble
On a rather overcast day the Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers travelled
the section of the 'Rob Roy Way' from the top of Glen Ogle, north of
Lochearnhead, to Killin in the valley. Shortly after setting off, the group of
46 which included 26 members on mobility scooters were quickly stopped in their
tracks at a very poignant R.A.F. memorial to two pilots who were killed in 1994
when their Tornado crashed in the nearby hills. Although rain and mist obscured
the tops of the hills for most of the route there were short intervals when
stunning views of the two peaks of 'Meall nan Tarmachan' (1043m) and 'Ben
Lawers' (1214m) were to be seen in their majesty as they towered over the lush
green landscape. The path which was of good quality for the scooters most of
the way was shared with cyclists and walkers who were coming in both
directions. How fortunate we are in Scotland to have an increasing number of
routes being opened up for able bodied and disabled people alike. The view of
small streams cascading down the steep hills earlier in the journey became
torrents when they reached the rivers which fed into the spectacular Falls of
Dochart at Killin at the conclusion of the ramble. The members were not
deterred by the weather and appreciated seeing the wonderful views of Loch Tay
between Killin and Kenmore in glorious sunshine even from the windows of the
minibus on the homeward journey.
Photos from Glen Ogle ramble
On Saturday 7 August 2010 The Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers organised
a trip into the Lomond Hills as part of the Fife Outdoor Access Festival
(F.O.A.F.). They gathered in the car parks located near to the minor road on
the western edge of Leslie which leads to the Lomond Reservoirs. The group of
40 included 21 people on scooters with the remainder being friends and carers
along with the much needed volunteers.
The ramble started at the area overlooking Holl Reservoir and progressed at a steady climb with views of Drumain and Ballo Reservoirs. This group of Reservoirs provide the highest quality fly fishing for both brown and rainbow trout. An area of woodland which is part of the route opens up a wonderful view of Harperleas Reservoir with a hill known as West Lomond which has the highest point in Fife at 522 metres. This was a spectacular location for lunch although there was a surprise in store.
The weather had been overcast although the sun had been trying to get out. A dark cloud overshadowing West Lomond was the prelude to a sudden and dramatic deluge of rain which left little time to get the waterproofs on. As soon as they were on the sun came out and the scorching heat began to dry the drookit ramblers.
The return journey provided views of East Lomond (Falkland Hill) with a height of 434 metres with the contrast of the panoramic vista of nearby communities, the Forth and hills beyond. Amongst the most observant ramblers and company the flora and fungi on route were much appreciated. Ryan, one of our volunteers who is knowledgeable about mushrooms foraged a mammoth mushroom (about 8" diameter). All in all this was a 'gem' of a ramble and is worth exploring by ramblers, able bodied and disabled alike. It was a fitting feature in the F.O.A.F programme.
Photos from Lomond Hills ramble
Photos from Loch Ard
. Early days of the ramble and our members are full of expectation
It was a welcome change to be able to drive comfortably four abreast and chat with each other.
The return journey and Cramond promenade has definitely lived up to our expectations.
Alex looks over the Forth towards Tom Farmer's private pile. Cheers
It was a beautiful sunny morning when we arrived at Cramond car park in
preparation for our latest outing. It's always a pleasant experience when we
ramble along footpaths and through dense woodland, but Cramond promenade made a
very welcome change from that. The promenade is as wide as a main road and hugs
the foreshore along the southern edge of the river Forth. At most points we
could move comfortably five abreast giving our members the chance to chat and
exchange thoughts on the glorious views as we progressed eastward towards
With the exception of one puncture which Bruce eventually managed to fix the day was problem free. We were treated to clear views across the river to Kinghorn in Fife and seawards towards the huge island in the mouth of the river, which we were told belongs to Tom Farmer, one of Scotland's richest entrepreneurs. Beyond that we could clearly see the Bass rock off North Berwick. At one stage some of our more adventurous members considered the idea of taking the causeway across to Cramond Island. Fortunately the incoming tide prevented them from even trying which was probably a blessing in disguise.
We raised a lot of interest amongst the other users of the promenade, many of whom were surprised to see so many smiling people on scooters and several of them stopped us to ask who we were. When we reached the Granton end of the promenade we all sat together for an enjoyable packed lunch and a chat before retracing our outward journey back to the car park.
Every day out with the Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers is a pleasure and the Cramond to Granton promenade was definitely up to standard.
Hamish and Angus with Joe
FTDR is running a ramble for disabled people as part of the Fife Outdoor
Access Festival on 7 August 2010. Volunteers Jim, Joe, Jan, Bee and Helena plus
spaniels Hamish and Angus were out at the site yesterday to carry out a safety
and access audit. The sun blazed down on what must be one of the hottest days
of the year but, thankfully, there was a cool breeze blowing. Helena 's little
scooter managed the route with only minimal assistance on the slope near the
start, which has been eroded over the winter months. Hamish and Angus kept cool
in the reservoir - it's definitely a dog's life! If we are blessed with similar
weather for the festival it is not to be missed!
Registration at the Nevis Centre
Manning the road crossing at Lochaber High
Eight brave (or crazy) volunteers travelled to Fort William to act as
marshals at the Tennent Caledonian Challenge, a 54 mile 24 hour sponsored event
on the West Highland Way . On Friday evening they registered over 900 walkers
then met them at Checkpoint 1 at Lochaber High School on Saturday morning as
they logged in en route to Strathfillan, where the walk now finishes. Our
thanks to all who gave up their weekend and raised £1200 for the club.
Several committee volunteers manned an information stand at the '11th
Annual Curtis Motors Disability Awareness Day'. There were representatives from
a number of other local and national disability charities.
Looking for red squirrels
Seven members of the committee took part in the Angus Glens Walking
Festival ramble around Crombie Country Park near Dundee . Two rangers led the
walk and gave a very interesting talk on the history of the area and the flora
and fauna in the park. The ramble will appear in the programme for 2011.
With help from the hoist
Ready to board
Out on the loch
Five members of FTDR responded to an invitation to go sailing on Loch
Ore with Sailability Scotland. The event was organised by Merrick Yates and
Neil Perry An increasing number of FTDR members are taking part in leisure
opportunities for disabled people including gliding and curling.
Following the sailing visit, committee member, Leslie Barr, put a few lines together to the tune 'I am sailing' and he offers his profuse apologies to Rod Stewart especially for the second verse. The ditty also includes his experiences of gliding, curling and of course rambling.
|We went sailing, five went sailing
Our first time 'cross Loch Ore
We were sailing on calm waters
O for wind, a little more.
We went gliding we were flying
Like a bird across the sky
We were gliding passing high clouds
To be so high, to be free.
We went sailing, we went sailing
On Loch Ore , it was a dream
We went gliding o'er Loch Leven
Its waters, rough and serene.
We went curling, we went curling
On the ice at Kinross
We went curling in our wheelchairs
'Throwing' stones with great cause.
And above all else!
We go rambling, we go rambling
Round Loch Leven and Loch Ore
In the hills and through the glens
We look forward, 'let's explore!'
Thanks to Leslie for his poetic efforts and we look forward to other
members following suit.
FTDR has been awarded £540 from the Mary Leishman Foundation to
cover the cost of appearing at the Scottish Mobility Roadshow at Ingliston in
Rhododendrons in bloom
Jim and Joyce
FTDR members were out in force at Balbirnie Park , Markinch for the
first of two June rambles. Volunteer Jim Wyllie led the group around a
circuitous route in the park that took in the stone circle and the viewpoint
before reaching the picnic tables by the river. The park is well-known for its
rhododendron bushes, which were in full bloom. Members voted it one of the best
Leaving the marina
Ladies who lunch - a few of our volunteers
Forth & Tay'S latest outing was to the Forth & Clyde Canal
starting at Auchinstarry Marina. Most unusually the bus arrived an hour early -
well done 'Harry the Bus' - giving members the perfect excuse to drop in to the
Boathouse Restaurant for a welcome coffee and a bacon roll before the start.
An icy blast blew along the canal as we crossed the road bridge to the towpath. However, once in the shelter of the trees the temperature rose.
Numerous cyclists of all ages and abilities passed along the way. Fishermen lined the canal side all along the route. Davie (from the social enterprise 'Unity Barges') accompanied us on his boat, Mytho. He kept everyone entertained feeding the swans and taking photos. Two horses passed behind on the road bridge at Craigmarloch. The canal and the towpath is truly multi use.
Stopping first at Kelvinhead picnic area for a quick cup of coffee and a snack the group then turned back towards Auchinstarry. Three deer were spotted in the fields on the return journey. The ramble finished with a lovely meal in the Boathouse Restaurant where the staff made us very welcome.
Admiring the bird life
First breakdown of the season
Stepping it out
Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers began the new season in a baptism of
hailstones at Monikie Country Park. The park is midway between Monifieth and
Arbroath. Fortunately the hail was short lived and gave way to dry but bitterly
cold weather. There was a wonderful turn out of 49 people - 23 on scooters and
26 on foot plus twa' dugs. There were two new members including a young one of
22 years and a new volunteer - another youngster by our standards!
The main feature of the country park is the two reservoirs which at one time supplied the local population with 3 million gallons of fresh water a day. The combined shore lines of the lochs, at around 2 miles long, are mainly on grass surface. The elevation provided a wonderful panorama looking across to Tentsmuir Forrest in Fife and the nearby Angus Hills. Spring was in the air with green shoots on the trees and shrubs with some beautiful early wildflowers. The bird life on the ponds included the flight of the heron while the woodland revealed a mother red squirrel with her baby. One of the ramblers said that she was 'positively euphoric!' and that is an excellent start to the season. After the cold which at times bordered on freezing, a welcome coffee and cake was much appreciated at the nearby Dobbie's garden centre.
It's official. Maria Duncan is MAD. She decided that for Christmas from
her family she would like money towards something special - so she chose to
have her first flight in a Glider plus 3 months trial membership of the local
gliding club - and all for £50
She waited all spring with baited breath until the weather was a bit more settled, then 4 days after her 62nd birthday she finally took to the air - all thanks to SGU Walking on Air - Gliding for the Disabled based at Portmoak. Walking on Air is a charitable organisation with a specially adapted glider and lots of fantastic volunteers who love to fly and like to share the experience with others.
On the day, Leslie, a fellow disabled rambler, curler, gliding enthusiast and adrenalin junkie went along to take photographs. With her son boosting her moral and a friend trying to make her see sense she eventually took to the air. It was FANTASTIC and she is booked to go again next week!
You may have heard that she was doing it as a sponsored event with all money raised going to Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers. The total has yet to be counted so there is still time to give a donation should anyone wish to do so. Sincere thanks to anyone who has already donated.
Helena receiving the cheque
FTDR has just received a generous cheque for £750 from the recent
disbursement of profits by the St Ninian's Charity Shop and Community Cafe
Trust. The newly refurbished cafe was officially opened on the same day that
the grants were made to eighteen local organisations.
Local People Local Paths
Paths for All, in partnership with FEVA (Forum for Environmental
Volunteering Activity), Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural
Heritage held a national networking conference for people involved with
community paths on Wednesday 24 March at SNH's Battleby Conference Centre.
The event consisted of workshops, presentations and networking opportunities on fundraising, planning and project management, promotion, innovative approaches to improving access and working in partnership.
Jan, Helena and Maria attended the event and manned a stand highlighting the activities of Forth & Tay Disabled Ramblers.
Volunteers at FTDR's table
Swing yer pardner!
During International Women's Week an event was held in Elmwood College ,
Cupar as part of the celebration of diversity of women in East Fife . Several
members of the Management Committee manned a stall in the Marketplace to raise
awareness of FTDR's activities. Throughout the day there were displays of
Chinese dancing, belly dancing, and Tai Ji. There were also workshops in craft
and cookery activities.
For the first time, two of our ramblers recently took part in the
Scottish Wheelchair Curling Championships in Aberdeen. Maria Duncan and Leslie
Barr are members of the Kinross Wheelchair Curling Club which was formed in
2001. They were part of a team of five which weathered very heavy snow before
arriving in Aberdeen in time for the event which featured 10 teams from Moray
in the north to Hamilton in the south. The winning team was 'Team GB' which
within a few days left for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games. Although it had
been a few years since a Kinross team had participated in the Scottish
championships the members gave a very good account of themselves. The
photograph of Maria and Leslie clearly shows how much they enjo
yed the experience of being part of a Championship where the camaraderie was quite extraordinary.
Maria and Leslie
Two weeks after their visit to Aberdeen, they were on their way to the
internationally acclaimed Greenacres Rink near Howwood in Renfrewshire. They
were part of a team of six curlers competing in the exciting 'Friendship Cup'
for pairs and triples events. Leslie said 'participating in this sport at such
a level was just wonderful. We have much to learn and we have the appetite to
build on those experiences. Maria and I, along with the other team members are
looking forward to improved wheelchair curling performances based on regular
'Come and Try' sessions will take place in early autumn at Kinross and advance notice will be given of the starting dates. This is open to all who have serious mobility problems. The picture of June Greig (left), Elspeth Harrison (in the wheelchair) and Maria Duncan (right) was taken at such a session and shows much concentration and a desire to learn. Come and join the club.
June Greig, Elspeth Harrison and Maria Duncan