Lake of Menteith 29th October
COULAM 16 WHEELYBOAT LAUNCHED AT LAKE OF MENTEITH
A wheelchair accessible Coulam 16 Wheelyboat specially designed for disabled anglers was formally launched at the Lake of Menteith on Friday, 25th October by the Rt Hon Anne McGuire MP (above right with Stirling angler Iain MacGregor on left). Anne McGuire is Shadow Minister for the disabled. The Wheelyboat is named ‘Christopher Robin’ in memory of the late Christopher Graves from Galloway whose legacy left to The Wheelyboat Trust funded the Wheelyboat. Mr Graves’ bequest is also marked with a plaque in the boat inscribed ‘in order that nobody be deprived of the joy of fishing’.
The 700 acre Lake of Menteith is a SSSI and has a rich heritage and history. It is also one of Scotland’s finest trout fisheries. Its new Wheelyboat joins a fleet of 30 fishing boats and an older Mk II Wheelyboat.
The development of the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat by The Wheelyboat Trust and J M Coulam Boatbuilders stemmed from the fundamental desire of disabled anglers to have the same opportunities to fish that able-bodied anglers take for granted. It is based on an existing and popular reservoir fishing boat and has been adapted to provide disabled anglers with step free access on board via an external ramp onto a hydraulic platform located in the boat. The deck is open and level throughout and the disabled angler can sit at the bow or the stern and helm the boat as well if desired.
The Lake of Menteith’s new Wheelyboat is proving very popular with disabled anglers. For bookings and enquiries contact the fishery on 01877 385664 or go to www.menteith-fisheries.co.uk. Bookings for next year will be taken at the start of November so to be sure of a boat it is best to book in advance – especially for weekends.
- The need for accessible boats is due to the inaccessible nature of reservoirs, lakes, ponds and rivers to wheelchair users and others with mobility problems: the banks are often steep and unmade and where there is access it may be limited and offer little opportunity for disabled anglers to fish the water effectively.
- Fluctuating water levels make the problems of access even worse. Standard boats have not been designed to accommodate wheelchair users and are very difficult to get into. Once on board the disabled angler is totally reliant on a boat partner.
- Whichever Wheelyboat model is preferred (there are four of them – two purpose-built fishing boats and two multi-purpose models including a 12 seater trip boat), Wheelyboats overcome all the difficulties. They make the entire water accessible, are simplicity itself to board and the flat deck provides access throughout thus giving the disabled user the dignity of their own independence. In short, Wheelyboats enable disabled people to participate in waterborne activities alongside and on equal terms with their able-bodied counterparts.
- Fishing has many charms and where suitable facilities are provided it is an activity that most disabled people can participate in very effectively.
- The Lake of Menteith’s 700 acres is set in the magnificent scenery of the Trossachs. Tuition for newcomers to fly fishing is available on site.
- The Wheelyboat Trust is a registered charity that promotes and provides wheelchair accessible Wheelyboats to fisheries and other waters all over the UK. It has supplied 157 Wheelyboats since it began work in 1985. Its role is to help and encourage venues open to the public acquire Wheelyboats for their disabled visitors and to help groups and organisations acquire Wheelyboats for their own use.
The Wheelyboat Trust (reg charity no 292216) - Andy Beadsley, Director
North Lodge, Burton Park, Petworth, West Sussex, GU28 0JT
Telephone 01798 342222, 07860 650023
Left to right:
Jim Curry (Chairman of the Lame Ducks Angling Club, Danny Peet Wheelboat Trust Trustee (in chair), Douglas Fraser (Menteith Bailiff), Iain MacGregor (local agler), Anne McGuire (local UK MP and Shadow Minister for Disabled People), Ossie Smith (Lame Duck AC Member) Fraser Renwick (Secretary of the Scottish Disabled Fly Fishing Association).
This photo from Alan Dickson of Edinburgh says it all as the season at Menteith comes to an end.
It has been won of the best years for fishing and fish at the Lake and the mildness of October has meant fishing has been fun right to the end. We have also been stocking right to the end of the season and once we are finished stocking (there are more going into today as well as yesterday) I will put up some seasonal stats on the website/facebook.
There are boats available for the last two days (Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st ) and one for the end season party on Sunday the 3rdNov