Forth & Tay Disabled Ramblers - Hooked on Freedom

Rambles - 2003

APRIL - Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline

A view of Dunfermline Abbey
"Dunfermline Abbey"

The first ramble of the season to Dunfermline Glen took place in April.
Freewheelin’ Cycles from Bo’ness came along and demonstrated the Powertryke (of which 2 were purchased with Lloyds TSB funding).

MAY - Strathclyde Country Park

A member on the shores at Strathclyde Park Loch
"A member on the shores at Strathclyde Park Loch"

In May the group travelled to Strathclyde Park and spent a cold and windy day around the shores of the loch.

JUNE - Great Scottish Charity Walk, Edinburgh

Prize giving and press interview at the end of the 
  Great Scottish Charity Walk
"Prize giving and press interview at the end of the Great Scottish Charity Walk"

In June a sponsored ramble across the Forth Bridge raised over £500 for club funds. Several F&T members also took part in the Great Scottish Charity Walk in Edinburgh with members from West Lothian.

JULY - Camperdown Park, Angus

In Camperdown Park with Angus Disabled Ramblers
"In Camperdown Park with Angus Disabled Ramblers"

For the July ramble Forth & Tay linked up with Angus Disabled Ramblers (ADR) at Camperdown Park. The sheer number of scooters in the park that day made quite an impact and it was good to meet old friends.

AUGUST - Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

In August a large group tackled Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park and was blessed with sunny weather.

SEPTEMBER - Scottish Borders and Lake District

The September ramble was Forth & Tay Disabled Ramblers first residential trip. Three days were spent in the Borders at Eildon Holiday Cottages, rambling at Bowhill on the Duke of Buccleuch’s estate and at Glentress Forest, Peebles.

In the woods at Bowhill with two members of English Disabled Ramblers
"In the woods at Bowhill with two members of English Disabled Ramblers"

Disabled Ramblers asked if they could team up with us and then invited us to continue down to the Lake District for another three days, staying at the Calvert Trust, Keswick.

This double event proved to be the highlight of the season. Fifteen Forth & Tay members and seven volunteers plus a similar number of Disabled Ramblers from south of the border took part.

The whole event was a huge success and both groups would like to link up again in the future. Many valuable lessons were learned through networking. A new disabled-accessible path is to be mapped and advertised at Bowhill Estate as a result of our visit, enabling other scooter-users access to the information. At Keswick, the National Trust widened an existing path for use by scooter-users as a result of our visit. It is good to know that we are helping change take place regarding disabled access.

A trip to the Theatre-by-the-Lake in Keswick to see Alan Ayckbourne’s ‘Christmas Greetings’ added a cultural touch to a most enjoyable week.

October- the Burrell Collection, Pollock Park

Enjoying a cuppa whilst loading the van at the end of the day in Pollock Park
"Enjoying a cuppa whilst loading the van at the end of the day in Pollock Park"

The final ramble of the season took place on the 19th October to the Burrell Collection and Pollock Park in Glasgow.

October - Brugge weekend

After several requests from members to take the group abroad it was decided that the committee would test the feasibility of a group trip on the new Superfast ferry to Zeebrugge. Funding for this was secured from Fife Council, Unemployed Volunteers Action Fund, and CR Smith and through various fundraising ventures by committee members and volunteers.

Committee members and volunteers in the centre of Brugge
"Committee members and volunteers in the centre of Brugge"

Ten members of the committee and volunteers went to Zeebrugge on the ferry from Rosyth from Friday 24th till Monday 27th October. The two accessible cabins were found to be first-rate (as was the price). These cabins are the second most expensive on the ship! Everyone had an excellent buffet dinner in the self-service restaurant on Friday evening before retiring to the bar to be entertained.
Many thanks to our first-class driver, Mike McQueen, who was an ideal addition to the group.

Accommodation was booked in Zeebrugge at the Formule 1 Hotel for the Saturday night. Rooms had a double bed plus a bunk on top and cost £18 per room per night. Breakfast was another 4.40 Euro (approx. £3). The group visited the old centre of Brugge and spent Saturday afternoon rambling around the cobbled streets. The markets were also explored and many purchases made. Dinner in a fish restaurant in Zeebrugge on Saturday evening ended the day.

On Sunday the group travelled to Ostende and spent the afternoon rambling along the promenade. It was warm enough to sit and have coffee outside in the sunshine! A trip to a local hypermarket to stock up on duty-free goods rounded off a most excellent day.

The trip was a huge success and the committee found the whole experience very worthwhile. Although it is feasible to take a group on the ferry, the limited number of accessible cabins would restrict the number of essential wheelchair users to four. Provided members could walk a little it is not necessary to have the more expensive designated accessible cabins but there IS a step into the shower in the ordinary cabins and space is more restricted.