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.