BRUNCH AT CLAYTON CARAVAN PARK RESTUARANT, DAIRSIE, FIFE, ON WEDNESDAY, 2ND MARCH, 2022.
On this date 39 members, family/friends nd volunteers enjoyed a 'brunch' at the venue stated above. Since these brunches were introduced to the calendar they have gone from strength to strength. This was without doubt the larges turn out and that was with 3 cancellations!!!
The company enjoyed convivial chat about many things ongoing in the world at the moment and also about the ensuing rambling season which everyone was looking forward to. We also welcomed a new member and his wife into the group and as always his welcome was warm.
If numbers are going to be on this level we will have to consider new venues for the future as the ones we have used in the past will not cope with these numbers!!! Any suggestions to Brian by whatever platform you wish to use.
After a couple of hours the company dispersed and left looking forward to the first ramble of the year on Monday, 11th April, 2022. Paperwork coming soon.
VISIT TO WEMYSS CAVES ON SUNDAY, 27TH FEBRUARY, 2022.
Recent improvements at Wemyss Caves, East Wemyss, Fife, have seen a new all abilities path renewed and the caves re-opened for tours. One of the leading lights in getting this work carried out was our own Chairperson, Sheila Batchelor. Sheila was invited to cut the tape at the re-opening of the site and because of this the members of Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers were invited along to the opening and a short tour of the caves.
And so on Sunday 27th February, 2022, 28 members and family assisted by some volunteers took scooters along to Back Dykes, East Wemyss and the members were able to enjoy lovely sunny weather and a nice 'scoot' along the Fife Coastal Path to the caves. It was not a long journey but did require some advanced scooter driving to get through some huge boulders at the start of the path to the caves.
The members were able to watch the opening ceremony and then had a tour of the caves before returning to Back Dykes and finishing a short but enjoyable day.
XMAS LUNCH, GILVENBANK HOTEL, GLENROTHES ON 5TH DECEMBER, 2021.
The last event of the FTDR season took place on Sunday, 5th December, 2021, when 50+ members, volunteers, friends and family met at The Gilvenbank Hotel, Glenrothes for Christmas Lunch.
As you can see from the gallery the company appeared to enjoy the festivities with some getting right into the Christmas spirit with their dress sense. I suspect the other Christmas spirit was also enjoyed!!! Quite right.
During the proceedings a raffle was organised by our efficient volunteers Edith Steele and Marilyn Davie where over £200 was raised to keep our treasurer and bank manager happy for another month or two!!!
The day was a huge success and a booking has already been made for December, 2022, when we hope to come together and remenisce of the events that have taken place during the year.
RAMBLE TO HELIX PARK, FALKIRK AND THE KELPIES ON 7TH OCTOBER, 2021.
The last ramble of the 2021 season
A large number of members were keen to come along for this ramble and including some friends, relatives and volunteers, we numbered 38. A very good turn out.
We gathered in the car park at the Falkirk Football Stadium as we had arranged to return there for an end of year meal.
Two new members and one new volunteer came along so we were slightly delayed in starting after some basic instruction on operating the scooters.
From the car park, we crossed a busy road but with the help of a pelican crossing, the volunteers and some very considerate drivers, we crossed safely to the Helix Park.
The path skirted marshland and ponds heavily populated with ducks and swans which gave some excellent photo opportunities for wildlife. The Kelpies soon came into view and they were indeed very impressive. We struck off to the left crossing a canal, then into a woodland area where we followed a circular route, part of which was beside the river Carron.
In that area, we came across a real talking point - a very large pink coloured sculpture. Was it a heart, was it a tongue or perhaps an almond nut shape. In the end we decided it was a pair of lips with pink lipstick and perhaps the clue was in the colour. There we stopped for a short break.
We then continued along the river back to The Kelpies. Some took the opportunity to travel round the sculpture, take photographs or go into the visitor’s centre. The question was asked “who created The Kelpies”? Nobody seemed to know but with the help of Google we now know it was a Glaswegian sculptor called Andy Scott. One to tuck away for a quiz night.
It was then time to return to the stadium to the Westfield Restaurant where staff had kindly agreed to stay open for our party. They were very helpful and obliging and the meal was excellent so a big thank you to them. The meal concluded the rambling season for us.
This year we have been extremely lucky with the weather, not to say we didn’t get wet once or twice! All involved have enjoyed meeting up and getting out and about again and looking forward to next April when we start all over again.
RAMBLE FROM STRATHMIGLO TO PILLARS OF HERCULES, FALKLAND on 9TH SEPTEMBER, 2021.
As always when approaching the date of a ramble a close eye is kept on the weather forecast and for this particular ramble it made depressing reading!!! However, on the day the vans (3) were loaded and headed to the start at Strathmiglo Village Hall, California, Strathmiglo.
It was fairly heavy rain at this point and during the journey a few telephone calls were fielded with members calling off and others asking if we were going ahead. The decision at that time was f the rain continued we would cancel and head to the Pillars of Hercules and enjoy a 'brunch'.
On arrival at the start there were few members in the car park already clad in wet weather gear. After some discussion it was agreed by the majority to go ahead with the ramble. A couple decided that perhaps this was the day for them and headed home. Completely understandable.
Whilst unloading the scooters the rain began to subside and by the time the group were ready to go it was almost fair weather and so we set off.
The path leading away from Strathmiglo is quite steep in places but no-one seemed fazed by this and soon the rain had completely stopped and it was smiles all around.
When we reached the end of the path up from Strathmiglo we turned on to the road that leads to The Pillars of Hercules and it had turned into a fairly nice day and wet weather gear was now being discarded. Unfortunately the clouds hung low over the Lomond Hills so erasing any good views of the hills.
Soon we arrived at our destination where some of the members enjoyed the fare provided by the cafe whilst others enjoyed the picnic they had brought.
All too soon it was time to head back along the road to and to the car park at Strathmiglo Village Hall, The members who completed the ramble were al in agreement that it had been a good day enjoyed by all, Check the photographs and see the smiling faces and the enjoyment can be seen quite clearly.
Only one ramble left for 2021 so lookout for the report on that day out. It may be sunny, it may be damp, it may be raining but everyone will enjoy that ramble.
RAMBLE AT BROUGHTY FERRY on 25th AUGUST, 2021.
The morning was a little over cast with a haar hanging about as we made our way to the meeting place at Broughty Ferry Castle Car Park. Going by recent events on the rambles what could possibly go wrong!!!!
On route a message was receive from a member who had arrived at the location early to say the car park selected for the meeting point was closed and had a huge crane and a lorry parked therein. Oh no here we go again.
On arrival at the location it was obvious that we had to rethink our start point and a small car park further on the route was selected for unloading the vans whilst the members cars would be accommodated on the road (very wide and other vehicles parked). Simples!!! Not at all as members were now parked at various locations round the castle. Herding cats comes to mind!!! However with a lot of help and running around all members were located and sent to the new meeting point.
Later than thought we were ready to go and because of the delay the sun had appeared and it was a lovely day as the group of about 30 set off in an easterly direction. The route was essentially tarmacadam all the way and ran between the Tay and the main railway line. The route is very poplar with locals dog walking, running, cycling etc but all very friendly and welcoming.
The ramble took place without incident and every enjoyed the route along to a lovely grassy park area where lunch was the order of the day. As the photographs show everyone was very relaxed in the midday sun and enjoyed the time spent at this point.
However, all good things come to an end and soon it as time to make the return journey. The sun continued to shine on the group as they made their way back to the vans. Everyone agreed that despite the little setback at the start of the day it had been a very enjoyable ramble and thoughts were already turning to the next ramble in September.
RAMBLE AT TENTSMUIR FOREST, LEUCHARS on 10th August, 2021.
Another lovely day was a bonus as we prepared for a trip to Tentsmuir Forest. Three vans wee required to take the scooters to the meeting point in the Main Car Park at Tentsmuir Forest. On arrival we managed to locate all members who were parked at various points in the car park and it certainly made for an interesting start to the day. It is a very big car park and also very popular with visitors from far an wide. However we found everyone and set off along the main path through the forest.
The entourage travelled about 2 miles along the track in very warm conditions but the trip was not without incident as a scooters electrics started playing up and had to be returned to the van. The user being accommodated on a spar scooter which we always take on the journey. At the end of the two miles we turned back on the route until we reached the 'ice house' where we were met by the manager of the nature reserve wo allowed us access through a couple of gates and so into a lovely spot for our picnic.
A track lead away from the picnic area which gave access to the beach through the sand dunes. 4/5 member were up for the challenge of taking scooters along the track and apart from one scooter the others made it through to the dunes and almost the beach. The unsuccessful scooter got bogged down in deepish sand and had to be pushed out.
Not to worry. We tried. The picnic was enjoyed by all with the warm sun keeping everyone warm. The scooter problems were not over for this trip as a wheel on one of the scooters was found to be punctured. Thankfully the nature reserve manager offered to take a driver back for one of the vans so that they could collect the scooter from the main drive. The damaged scooter was pushed back out to the track. Unfortunately this meant a hold up as we all had to wait until the scooter was removed before continuing our journey back to the start. Thankfully the sun continued to shine and it was a comfortable wait in the sunshine. Eventually the scooter was removed and the group head back to the car park.
The scooters were retrieved from the various points in the car park and loaded back on t the vans. During this process there was a loud crack of thunder and a bolt of lightning. The last scooter was placed in the back of the van and the heavens opened. The rain was seriously heavy and driving back through the forest was interested as it seemed like the middle of the night with the dark clouds hanging overhead. The road was awash and on reaching the road into Leuchars we found it flooded in many places and driving conditions were seriously bad at this point. Thankfully not one of our party was caught in the downpour and by the time we were back at base the sun was again shining brightly.
Another good ramble despite the scooter problems and the downpour to end the ramble. On to the next one was the cry.
RAMBLE AT THREIPMUIR AND HARLAW RESERVOIRS, PENTLAND HILLS on 26th July, 2021
The ramble on this day was a new departure for Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers. Getting to the start did throw up a few problems for some of the members but eventually with a bit of help (thanks for mobile phones) everyone arrived at the start point.
However, the problems were not over. Two of the members announced that they had just been informed that they had been in recent contact with a person who had now tested positive for Covid!!!! Unfortunately this mean't they had to eave the group immediately.
Once again the sun was splitting the sky and spirits were high as we set off towards Threipmuir Reservoir. The path we were taking at this point was relatively wide and so no problems were caused to other users in the area. Shirtsleeves, sunglasses and hats were the order of the day.
The views of the start of the Pentland Hills were beautiful as was the view across the reservoir. As had been the case on our previous ramble (09/07/21) water sport enthusiasts were out in force.
As a group we made our way to the Harlaw Reservoir Visitor Centre where we found Police Officers and Fire Officers engaged in making a video of water safety. Many of the members took the opportunity to get information on home safety from officers present.
A lovely garden behind the visitor centre was the perfect spot for lunch and a relax in the sun.
Once lunch was over the group left the garden (reluctantly) and using a slightly different route left the officers to their duties and made our way back to the start point. Again the opinions on the ramble were excellent and it can be safely said 'we will be back'. Another successful ramble.
RAMBLE AT LOCHORE MEADOWS COUNTRY PARK (The Meedies) on 9th July, 2021.
Once again on a Friday in July, 2021, the sun was shining brightly and there was little or no wind. The park was very busy with walkers, cyclists, water sport enthusiasts and the car parks were also busy. However we managed to get the vans parked and the scooters unloaded.
Once all members had been issued with a scooter and gathered together the group set of in a clockwise direction round the main loch. The group were greeted by many members of the public who were making use of the park facilities and as always some members enjoyed a chat with the locals.
On the south side of the loch a little way off the track were a herd of cows lying in the grass by the loch. Although interested in the passing convoy they did not move closer to get a better look!!! Unfortunately the hedges for part of the route are fairly high which does spoil the views of the loch for those on mobility scooters but thankfully this did not appear to dampen the enthusiasm.
Once passed the hedges and around the west end of the loch the views did open up and were enjoyed by all.
The tracks around the loch are excellent for motobility scooters and so the group made good progress.
We eventually made our way back to the east end of the loch where a spot was found with benches for our picnic. It was the perfect spot for a bit of sunbathing and a fair time was spent at this point enjoying the sun, sport on the loch and enjoying each others company.
After a while it was decided to move on and a member suggested having a walk through the fairy woods. Lead on was the general opinion and off the group went. Once again the trails were very good for the scooters and it was good to see the work that local schoolchildren had done around the walk. Unfortunately we had a to abandon the tour as a boardwalk had broken boards and the scooters would not manage to negotiate any further. Disappointing but after a bit of 'off roading' we were out of the trees and on to the park
The general review of the ramble was that it had been a lovely day enjoyed by everyone. Back to the start and after making sure that everyone was at their vehicles the group set off for home. What next???
RAMBLE FROM LOCH LEVEN HARBOUR TO BURLEIGH SANDS on 24th June, 2021.
Once again in June the sun was shining as a group of 12 ramblers, with friends and volunteers met at the harbour are at Loch Leven. It was fairly busy and the car park was filling up before the vans arrived with the scooters. Unfortunately due to a hold up at the garage they had not been able to set of with sufficient time to arrive for a 11a.m. start. Such is life!!!!
After good work by the 'scooter shifters' the group set off in a clockwise direction heading for Burleigh Sands. At some points the route has good views of the loch but over the years in other areas the hedges have grown to such an extent that the views are obscured. This is particularly evident behind Kinross House. However this did not appear to distract from the enjoyment of the ride for the members.
The path leads through open grasslands and also woodlands with a variety of wildlife occasionally on view but on this day all was fairly quiet. At one point the path does narrow significantly but thanks to the understanding of other path users we passed the problem with no incident.
On reaching Burleigh Sands the group were fortunate to find the place 'uninhabited' and took over the seats at this point whilst the 'scooterists' positioned themselves with a good view of the loch and Benarty Hill known as the 'sleeping giant'. When viewed from a point slightly more west the hill resembles a giant lying on his back sleeping!!!
A number of passers by stopped and chatted with the members and the time spent at this point was very enjoyable. All good things come to an end and soon it was time to head back to the vans for the journey home.
At the end of the journey the scooters were loaded quickly by the volunteers, disabled members were seen safely to their cars and everyone left with fingers cross for the lovely weather to continue on the day of the next ramble.
SCOOT IN GLENROTHES on Thursday, 17th June, 2021.
About 11a.m. on Thursday, 17th June, 2021, a group of 6 ramblers and 6 volunteers set off from Poplar Road, Glenrothes on a new trip. A route had been planned ending in the Town Park, Genrothes.
Following Bobligen Way in an easterly direction, the group then turned west along the front of the relatively new Auchmuty High School. After following a couple of streets the party reach an underpass leading to the rear of Morrisons Supermarket and subsequently Queensway Industrial Estate.
After travelling along Flemington Road the group managed to avoid a visit to 'McDonalds' before following Queensgate to the entrance to the Town Park. The route at this point was a quite steep downhill section before opening out on the level to views of the park and the River Leven.
New visitors to the park were intrigued by the 'Hippos' apparently making their ay from the river into the park. The path round the north side of the park was followed until the park pond was reached.
It was once again a lovely day and the group found a spot in the sun where our picnic lunch was enjoyed by the ramblers but also by some mallard ducks and seagulls that visited the group. On the pond were a couple of swans with 2 cygnets.
After the picnic had been devoured ad some convivial chat had been enjoyed the group decided to make the return journey to Poplar Road.
The route taken both going and coming was covered by numerous dropped kerbs and lit crossings and will be used in the future. As a result of this scoot other paths are going to be examined and it maybe that in the future a route can be devised which could lead to a complete ramble taking place from Poplar Road and thus meaning no vans or fuel to be paid for!!! Good news for the treasurer.
Another enjoyable day came to an end.
RAMBLE FROM INVERKEITHING TO DALGETY BAY on Wednesday, 9th June, 2021.
On this lovely summers day with a slight breeze coming off the River Forth 16 members, friends along with volunteers set off from The Ballast Bank Community Centre, Preston Crescent, Inverkeithing. On this occasion we were joined by a new member who after a bit of instruction on the scooter was raring to go.
The route took us along with banks of the River Forth past the old quarry in Inverkeithing with ever widening views of the River Forth Bridges. The path as always was busy with walkers, dog walkers, and cyclists but was wide enough to accommodate everyone.
On reaching the outskirts of Dalgety Bay once again there were good views of the bridges and cameras were clicking away. The route wound its way through the houses and eventually came out on a higher part of the town on a street appropriately named The Bridges. At this point we were on part of The Fife Coastal Path and the views across to the Lothians were very good. Unfortunately we had to continue along the footpath at a point where the coastal path veered off. At this point on the coastal path are steps leading to a floral garden known as The Triangle. I am sure our members would have enjoyed this area but steps are a no no for scooters. Perhaps in years to come a ramp could be provided beside the steps for disabled access!!!
However, the embers were happy to continue through the streets and houses enjoying the lovely gardens and some spectacular houses. Guess the value was a good game!!!.
Eventually we made out way to a grass area adjacent to Dalgety Bay Sailing Club where it was decided to stop and partake in a picnic lunch. At this time the sun was shining brightly and it was an enjoyable spot. Adjacent to the sailing club work has started to remove the radioactive material from the bay and beach and work was ongoing during the time we spent having a bite to eat.
All too soon though it was time to make the return journey which was interesting to say the least as we took a number of wrong turnings and saw more of Dalgety Bay than we expected. Again, the company appeared to enjoy the journey and eventually found our way back to the start point. Everyone had smiles at the end of the journey and had obviously enjoyed the day out. What is next?
RAMBLE IN BLAIRADAM FOREST, KELTY on Tuesday, 11th May, 20121.
On this date our second event of the year took place on a lovely sunny morning starting at 11a.m. at the Forestry Offices, Blairadam Forest, Kelty.
11 Ramblers, 4 family and friends, 5 volunteers and 2 dogs took part in the ramble which followed the trails and tracks around the forest. The trails and tracks were maintained in good order and offered a good surface for the mobility scooters ad walkers alike.
Blairadam Forest is very popular with dog walkers and the car park was very busy as we arrived, unloaded and distributed the scooters and then set off. During our journey round the forest several photographs were taken and these are displayed in the gallery opposite.
The forest was a popular mining area many years ago and there is evidence of this at several points on our ramble. At one point whilst meandering round a middle path we saw a huge brick structure which was in fact part of an upright which formed a bridge of the space for trains carrying the coal away from the coal mine. Running through this part of the woodland is The Kelty Burn which comes from Loch Glow which is some way off to the west. At another point is a stream the wends its way over the stones and this emanates where a mine was filled in some years ago. This stream eft everything it passed a red/rusty colour.
After leaving this part of the forest the group travelled in a westerly direction past forest on the left but on the left there had been a lot of lumber work and it would be many years before the forest came back to what it was. However, I understand that smaller plants and wildlife come to life in this environment and so the circle of life goes on.
The route at this point was uphill and then the route took us back into the forest where we found a lovely spot to enjoy our picnic lunch and good conversation. Once everyone had enjoyed the short stop we continued through the forest and out on to the main drag. Sometime later we returnee to a forest track which was downhill before reaching a junction where a south bound turn lead us back to the start.
The weather had been very kind to us and there were a lot of smiles on the faces of the ramblers as we reached the end of this ramble. Thankfully the sun stayed with us for most of the day and we keep our fingers crossed that that will be the norm for our future events.
SCOOT - Wednesday, 5th May, 2021.
After many months of waiting we were able to hit the countryside once again with a scoot in the Glenrothes area. About 11a.m. on the date stated 9 disabled ramblers, 3 friends and family and 8 volunteers set off from A2B Van Hire, Poplar Road, Glenrothes. The plan was to make our way towards Markinch and eventually into Balbirnie Park, Markinch.
The scooters had all been disinfected prior to being handed over to the ramblers and everyone was asked to pay attention to social distancing. It was a lovely sunny day although there was a cold wind coming from the north west. However, after months of waiting to get out and about again this did not dampen the enthusiasm of all participants.
Once in Balbirnie Park the group passed along gravel paths and eventually to a picnic area on the northside of the park adjacent to Balbirnie Park Golf Club. Balbirnie Park is well known for its collection of rhododendron and making our way to the picnic sight a pink specimen was admired. On reaching the picnic area group had a break for a picnic lunch which was enjoyed by all. Luckily a short hail shower did not come to anything and a huge sigh of relief could be heard from the group.
After a short time the group continued on their way and left the park by way of the main drive returning to John Dixon Park and returned to our original start point by reversing the journey. On arrival back at our start point everyone agreed that it had been wonderful to be out as a group, to chat to friends and catch up. The group were already talking about the next event which was coming up in 6 days time when everyone was coming along.
Brunch Meeting - 12th March, 2020 - Peacocks Cafe, Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline.
On this date a number of disabled ramblers and volunteers met at the abovementioned venue for the last of the brunch meetings prior to the commencement of rambling in April, 2020. Originally 22 people had indicated their intention to attend but due to illness, injury and weather the field was decimated and 10 brave souls made it.
However, the company was good and on occasions it was lovely to sit with a coffee and look out over the park and occasionally the sun did shine. As always many subjects were discussed including the subject on everyone's mind at the moment 'coronavirous'. Of the people who did not make the date due to illness I have to report that to the best of my knowledge not one has the virus. We will keep everyone updated in this connection
After a couple of hours of chat in good company we all left to enjoy the rest of our day. Look forward to seeing everyone again at the first ramble of the year on 6th April, 2020 when we will be enjoying the delights of Blairadam Forest, Kelty.
Brunch Meeting - 12th February, 2020 - Africafe, Fife Zoo, Ladybank
On the date and at location stated above 23 members and volunteers met to enjoy a good slection of food, coffees and teas. There was a lot of chat between parties about what had been happening since everyone last met up.
Several mentions were made about how enjoyable these days were as everyone missied the camaraderi, craic and friendships duirng the winter months when it was cold and wet and sitting on a scooter was the last thing on their mind. Due to the bad weather in some areas members who had wished to attend were unabe to do so but hopefully they will join us again at th
e next such meeting in March, 2020. At this meeting perhaps talk will include the start of the 2020 programme a copy of which is now on the webiste.
Xmas Lunch - 8th December, 2019 - Gilvenbank Hotel, Glenrothes.
On this date 41 members and family/friends met at the Gilvenbank Hotel for the annual Xmas Lunch. The meal on the day was one again excellent and the service ws first class. During the meal some of the lady volunteers organised selling raffle tickets to have a chance of winning a prize from the wonderful array of goods that had been brought along by those attending the lunch. As always some of the the winners had a few prizes to take home but as they say 'if yur no in it ye cannae win it'. Many thanks to the members who provided the prizes and also to the ladies who did the necessary with the tickets. The sum of £130 was raised as a resutl of this raffle.
During the lunch each table considered the questions provided in a quiz by Esther Higgins. The quiz was very interesting with a number of correct answers and also proved there were a few chancers in the room!!! No names. It will come as no surprise that the table at which Esther was sitting won the quiz. BUT. Esther assures me that she took no part in the quiz and gave no clues whatsoever to those considering the questions.
After the lunch was finished we were treated to a presentation by Kelan Halliday and her friend Lara Fell. This presenttion was done by the girls for a school project and they had selected Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers as their project. The winning project saw a monetary prize going to the slected charity. Unfortunately FTDR did not win but the girls did a great job. Unfortunately at the lunch the projector failed to work so we did not see the full extent of the presentation. Our grateful thanks go to the girls.
We certainly made Kelan work for her food on this day as she then proceeded to give us a musical performance on the violin and ukele accompanied by Gordon Burnett. Gordon also gave us an individual performance on guitar. Our thanks go to Kelan and Gordon for an enjoyable interlude.
Brunch Meeting - 18th November, 2019 - Sands A Place by the Sea, Aberdour.
On this date 17 ramblers, volunteers and former volunteers met for a brunch and catchup at the location above. A good natter was had by all with a new volunteer joinng us and a former volunteer also coming along to meet and greet everyone. The food and service as always at this location was first class and nothing was a problem. After a couple of hours of convivial chat the group left to continue with their day. Most enjoyable. Others will follow in 2020. Look out for the programme.
Ramble - 7th October, 2019 - Lady Mary's Walk, Crieff
On this date the members were schedued to travel to Crieff for the last ramble of the year using Lady Mary's walk as the route for the ramble. Unfortunately the weather forecast for the Crieff Area was horrendous and in the interests of health and safety for ramblers and volunteers alike it was decided to cancel the ramble for this year. This was not a decision taken lightly but health and safety is paramount. The ramble will be included in the 2020 programme at a different time of the year. Watch out for the 2020 programme.
Scoot - 20th September, 2019 - Coaltown of Balgonie.
On this date a number of members and volunteers set off on a Scoot from A2B, Poplar Road, Glenrothes. The group headed trough Glenrothes, via ??????? to Coaltown of Balgonie where they joined the route known as Johnnies Loan. The weather was very kind to everyone and eventually a picnic lunch was enjoyed on a pleasant spot on Johnnies Loan. After enjoying lunch the group took a different route back to the starting point. Unfortunately this change of route entailed some difficulties with overgrown hedges and a lack of drop kerbs. After negotiating these hazards the group arrived back at the start. Apart from the hazards it was an enjoyable day.
Ramble - 14th September, 2019 - Loch Leven Heritage Trail - Harbour to Burleigh Sands
On this date a group of 14 disabled ramblers, family and friends set out from the harbour at Loch Leven on a ramble heading to Burleigh Sands. The first objective was to safely traverse the road leading out of the car park which was part of a diversion as the wooden walkway was being replaced and currently closed to the public. However, with much care and attention the party got on to the paths leading through the Kirkgate Park and so on to the heritage trail proper.
The wind at this time was fairly strong and had a slight chill to it but it was mainly behind the convoy as we made our way to the path along the edge of the loch. The wind was whipping up the water and the surf was splashing on the shore. The wind at this point was coming off the water and for those on the scooters it was uncomfortable but there were smiles on faces.
Soon we left the park area and got on to the main path which was a bit more sheltered. The path passes through open land on one side and woodland on the other. Soon we were into woods on both sides and this helped with protection. The train of scooters was going along smartly and keeping in single fle to allow cyclists, runners, walkers and dog walkers place to pass. Large numbers of people using the path were very pleasant when the mobility scooters were passing and their cheery words were returned by the ramblers..
We wound our way round the track and eventually arrived at Burleigh Sands where the view was lovely with Benarty Hill in the distance looking very dark probably because of the black cloud hanging over it. Off to the west the sky did not look very inviting and concerns were voiced about the weather on the return journey.
The scooters were parked up and volunteers foudn space on the becnh under a tree. Just as we did so a party of cyclists arrived and informed me that they had intended to have their lunch at this point, However, they decided to move on but not until I had spoken with a couple of them from who I learned they were from Auchterderran Parish Church on an outing. We wished them a safe journey as they headed off into the wind.
The party of ramblers enjoyed their lunch and the customary sweeties handed out by Edith Steele (Volunteer). Soon everyone was wrapped again and ready for the return trip.
The return trip was uneventful and the window died down quite a bit and the dreaded rain did not arrive. Soon we were back at the start having once gain negotiated the diversion without incident. All ramblers were returned to their respective transport and the scooters were loaded back on to the vans. At this point the drivers and other volunteers decided that a coffee was a great idea. Off we went to The Boathouse Restaurant at The Harbour where surprise, surprise, we found several disabled ramblers and other volunteers enjoying the fare.
All in all it was a good ramble despite the weather and we look forward to the last ramble of the season on 7th October, 2019. (A report prepared by one of the ramblers will be added hereto on receipt)
A ramblers perspective:-
You may remember an old tourist advertising poster of a man running along a beach and shouting: "Skegness is so bracing!" Well, bracing would be a good word to describe Loch Leven on Saturday 14 September, when a goodly number of us set out on our ramble. But then, I quite like bracing. The wind was strong enough to whip up white horses on the loch, but much of route was more sheltered and the really good news was that the promised rain never materialised. I reckon that was because I was foresighted enough to wear my waterproof trousers! We stopped for lunch beside a small beach, watched over by two swans out in the middle of the loch, and then retraced our steps to the car park.
The scenery was beginning to look autumnal, and the grasses which had turned brown were looking quite picturesque, but one family we met were disappointed to hear we hadn't seen any blackberries. We met a lot of people walking and cycling. Alec, as always, had to stop to tell people they were going the wrong way or to make a fuss of their dogs, which made our ramble very sociable. It's always good to see families with children out enjoying the fresh air, instead of indoors glued to some sort of screen.
I always appreciate, as I'm sure do all the other members, the chance to get out in the fresh air myself and to travel distances it would be difficult for me to do otherwise. I often remember the times when I could walk long distances and the places we were able to go then which I couldn't go now, but my regrets about that are less sharp since being a member of this group.
The volunteers are always helpful and the rambles well organised. Thanks must go not just to those who walk with us, but those who organise the scooters and look after their maintenance. I think anyone who reads this, who is not already a member of the group but is thinking about it, should feel encouraged to join. I know how grateful I am to the person who encouraged me to join.
Beecraigs Country Park – Thursday, 29th August, 2019.
As we approach the end of the rambling season Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow was the location of this ramble. Alex Spence and his wife Elizabeth had carried out the heath and safety check for this ramble and had decoded on a route. Alex therefore was the group leader on this occasion.
The weather forecast for the day was not particularly good with strong winds and showers forecast. However when we arrived in the car park at the visitor centre, although windy, it was a clear day and we could clearly dee the bridges over the Firth of Forth.
As the van crews unloaded the scooters it did get a little damp and the rain hoods were the order of the day to start with but this did not appear to dampen the spirits in the party.
Akex lead us off from the car park and headed towards a petting farm in the park where we were able to view calves and an orphaned deer. There were a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahhss’ at this point but we were able to get everyone back on track and head off down the track.
A short time later we came across 5 beautiful stags in a compound happily munching away on the grass and I have no doubt contemplating the upcoming deer rut!!! They were magnificent specimens and the cameras were clicking away merrily. Continuing on our way we then saw what will be the object of the stags intentions in a few with a couple of large paddocks of hinds.
The park also has a number of sheep grazing in the paddocks and a Hebridean lamb took a great interest in the passing group of people on funny vehicles.
Soon we were away from the animals and into mature woodland. The weather at this this time had improved somewhat and the rain hoods were coming off. The woods gave us a shelter from the wind and we wound our way through the trees and passed the fishing loch. The trails and paths in the park are all in excellent condition and suitable for the scooters.
Alex eventually brought the party to a lovely clearing overlooking a pond where we were to enjoy picnic lunch. As it was rather windy at this point some of the party decided to get some cover behind a copse of trees.
During lunch we saw a large number of schoolchildren and teachers in the area and enquries revealed that this was the new intake at Linlithgow High School. As they were all from different surrounding schools the management brought them out into the park to work together in groups on tasks and so get to know each other. What an excellent way to introduce everyone.
As we finished lunch the wind and rain increased and a decision was made to head straight back to the star of the ramble. Some of the party then made use of the facilities at the visitor centre with coffee and other goodies. Our party leader on the day, Alex Spence, recommended the soup although the volunteers who were left opted for a well earned tea or coffee and then off home.
Prior to the ramble there were a number of call-offs due to illness or injury and to those members we wish you a speedy recovery and we hope to see you on the next ramble.
RAMBLE – 6th August, 2019 – Loch Leven Heritage Trail anticlockwise.
On Tuesday, 6th August, 2019, 15 mobility scooters and passengers set off from Findatie Car Park on a ramble round part of Loch Leven Heritage Trail. The weather was not to bad at the start with light rain. Spirits were not dampened as some of the ramblers had arrived early enough to enjoy the goods on offer within the café.
The first part of the ramble led us down a path with good views over Loch Leven and across to Bishop Hill. Once on the heritage trail proper we reached the main obstacle of the ramble. A locked gate which meant some fancy maneuvering of the scooters by the operators. Some were better than others but all eventually got through. The slight delay gave some time to enjoy swans and cygnets on the river Leven which at this point passes through a sluice gate. 5 cygnets were enjoying themselves on the river watched over by mum and dad.
The path passes through wooded areas with silver birch etc. predominant beside the paths. The rain did get a little heavier at this point and we had to get the rain mates on the scooter riders. Once again this did not dampen spirits and we continued on our merry way.
We eventually reached the path leading to Grahamstone where we left the trail and found a space to have our picnic. After a shortish break we gathered the caravan together and set off back to the start. The rain continued to be off and on. One blight on the day was a scooter breaking down resulting in the spare scooter being put into use whilst some of the volunteers eventually had to push the stricken scooter back to the vans. Everyone eventually reached the car park again and the scooters were gathered together and reloaded.
One again some of the ramblers took advantage of the café before leaving for home. Many of the ramblers commented on how good the ramble was and looked forward to doing it again in better weather. We will bear that in mind. Thanks again to the volunteers.
Friday, 5th July, 2019 – Birnie and Gaddon Lochs, Collessie, Fife
On this date ?? members, carers and volunteers enjoyed a lovely day at the venue. Two vans were required on this ramble providing ?? scooters for the members.
As the route is not particularly long the group leader on the day gave the pre ramble talk on route, safety aspects, First Aiders and stated that the ramble would follow the path round the lochs and back to the start where we would enjoy a picnic. Thereafter we would make the return journey.
The sun shone brightly as the group made their way round the lochs which are a haven for waterfowl such as swans, geese, coots, moorhen and several more. There is also lovely trees and flowers to see as the route unfolded.
After the first circuit the party was ready for a picnic and gathered at the picnic benches and watched the birdlife on the loch and on occasions threw unfinished sandwiches to the greedy neighbours. After sitting in the sun for a short the group then retraced their steps round the lochs and ending at the car park once again. The party enjoyed the day. Some then left the group and enjoyed tea and scones at the recently re-opened Fife Zoo which later reports on the café stated that it was well worth a visit.
All in all a good day with thanks to the volunteers who ensured the scooters arrived on time and intact an also ensured the safety of the group during the ramble.