Skye and Lochalsh Disabled Ramblers advise on local paths audit (23/11/11)

On Sconser - Raasay ferry seated l to r Carolyn Kimmel, Pauline Smith, Nicola Rust. Standing l to r John Phillips (Senior Ranger) and Donald Kennedy (Access Officer)

Ramblers who access the countryside with mobility scooters recently assisted in an assessment of paths on the Island of Raasay.

On Wednesday 16 November, Carolyn Kimmell, Pauline Smith and Nicola Rust, members of the Skye and Lochalsh Disabled Ramblers group boarded the ferry from Sconser to Raasay accompanied by Donald Kennedy, Highland Council’s Skye and Lochalsh Access Officer and John Phillips, Senior Countryside Ranger.

The outing was part of an ongoing project to audit paths in Skye and Lochalsh for their suitability for mobility scooter users.

Since 2009, 27km of paths in Skye and Lochalsh have been audited by the group with around 14.5km found suitable for access by mobility scooter users. On some occasions minor alterations – such as modifications to a gate at the start of a walk – have been necessary to open up wider networks of path.

Forestry Commission Scotland has been particularly helpful in this respect. With their assistance, 8.3km of paths at Kinloch and Broadford forest has been made accessible to mobility scooter users.

Skye and Lochalsh Disabled Ramblers Group Secretary Nicola Rust said: "We had a great day out and welcome anybody who would like to join us.  We have mobility scooters and warm, waterproof clothing available.  For more information give me a ring. It’s the first step to getting out into the Skye countryside."

Highland Council’s Access Officer, Donald Kennedy said: “When assessing a path for disabled access there is no substitute to trying it out with the potential users themselves. In the audits we have undertaken so far we have learned an invaluable amount as to what is suitable in terms of gradient, type of path surface, gate width etc. There are many more routes to look at throughout Skye and Lochalsh and I look forward to continuing our partnership with the group.”

For further information about Skye and Lochalsh Disabled Ramblers, contact Nicola Rust on 01478 611056.

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