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2016 Ramble Reports


Loch Katrine in August.

Here are a few photos from the recent Loch Katrine ramble. Apologies for there being no accompanying report.

Helix Country Park and the Kelpies - Saturday 4 June2016


There was plenty of light hearted conservation interspersed with "bubbles" of laughter as the coach carrying members and volunteers of the Forth & Tay Disabled Ramblers headed out of Fife over the Forth Road Bridge and on to their destination at the Helix Country Park near Falkirk. Home to the magnificent  Kelpies. .

"The Kelpies " are two 30m high steel sculptures resembling the heads of the horses that were the power houses used for towing the barges carrying coal etc. across the  Central Belt of Scotland, by way of the Forth,Clyde and Union Canals as well as for ploughing  the farmlands.


The coach dropped off the club members in the main car park at the "Helix" where they had good access to the toilet facilities before collecting their electric mobility scooters for using on the tour of the park area. They made their way from the car park following the well signed route up the tarmac surfaced road leading towards the "Kelpies".


The mid-day sun was beating down on the ramblers as they approached the hill top from where their first awesome sight of the massive steel sculptures came into full view. Needless to say, this resulted in the group coming to a halt to take in the full effect of the magical panoramic scene laid out in front of them. Many cameras suddenly appeared to capture this unique result of the artist and engineer working together to produce this timeless piece of Scottish history. The on-site information centre provided the ramblers with more useful information about the complete project including maps showing the various different areas of the park and the routes to them along the newly created pathways.


The group then found an ideal grassy area adjacent to the "Kelpies Basin" where they enjoyed their picnic lunches and watched a passing parade of resident parent swans with their cygnets as they waddled their way across the paved area between the canal lock and the basin.


After lunch,the ramblers regrouped and travelled along the path leading past the "wetland areas" of the park which are home to a wide variety of wildfowl and then continued onwards until reaching the entrance lock on the union canal ,which then gave the ramblers the opportunity to cross over the canal and view all the various types of craft moored alongside..This new branch was added to the canal, as part of the Helix project , to allow boats to navigate into the Kelpie Basin. As the group headed along the banks of the canal, they admired the many boat types moored there including cabin cruisers, converted barges and narrowboats.


After taking photos of the pleasure craft, the group headed back across the lock and made their way down into the southern area of the park along the pathway leading past the great lawn, a perfect area for holding concerts,highland games etc. and then on to the "Plaza" café situated beside the lagoon. A short comfort stop was taken here ( a perfect excuse to sample the ice-creams),before the group moved along to pass the adventure playground followed by the splash/play area , both of which were proving to be very popular with the children from the local communities. The ramblers joined the pathway leading off to the left which led them round the perimeter of the lagoon, which is used for all sorts of water sports , before finally heading back to the car park.


After another most enjoyable day out, a big "THANK YOU" .must go once again to our sponsors "The Health Gift" from money raised by " The Health Lottery"and the "Peoples Health Trust" also to all the volunteers/ drivers who made this event possible.

Fife Coastal Path - Inverkeithing to Dalgety Bay - Saturday 21st May 2016


The morning was mild, slightly overcast and with a gentle south - westerly breeze as

the club members usig electric mobility scooters , accompanied with their friends and volunteers headed out of the car park of the "Inverkeithing Swifts" football club and joined the Fife Coastal Path at the East Ness of Inverkeithing Bay This particular section of the path which runs between Inverkeithing and St.Davids Harbour has a good level surface and is well used by all members of the local communities

 

The ramblers continued at a leisurely pace which gave them plenty of opportunity to enjoy the panoramic views across the River Forth , with Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills to the south,, as it started to narrow  before flowing under the Forth rail and road bridges and winding on its way up to KIncardine and Stirling.

A short distance further along the path,the group passed the rusty remains of which had once been an overhead conveyor system used for transporting the excavated stone from a nearby quarry out to ships waiting to load up at the off-shore jetty.


After passing this point along the route, the pathway narrowed slightly as it followed the contours of the shoreline. It had sparse woodland bordered with a stone wall on the left hand side  river views on the right and a view opening up ahead  over the bay to St. Davids Harbour. The ramblers continued to enjoy the picturesque scene as they made their way around the bay before coming to the housing developments situated round the harbour basin. After passing along "Harbour Place" the path veered left up a steeply inclined section that led up to "The Bridges", a public road in the township of Dalgety Bay. From this location,the ramble leader led the group on a detour away from the coast and followed a route which gave the ramblers a chance to see many of the different executive house types, each with its own architectural features , before finally rejoining the coastal path at the "Dalgety Bay Sailing Club" at New Harbour .

 

The group parked up at the adjacent picnic area  where they stopped for lunch, had a chat and admired the yachts belonging to the sailing club members as well as taking in the views up river to the Forth Bridges.

Unfortunately the lunch break was disrupted by the sudden onset of one of those heavy "spring" showers which seemed to appear from  no where, lasted a few minutes and passed by just as quickly


The ramblers then re-assembled and started making their way back along the coastal path, passing "The Courtyard" , a group of houses developed from the refurbishment of the stables of Donibristle House.which was built around 1700 by the "Earls of Moray" who owned Donibristle Estate. Continuing further along the path, the group arrived at the main entrance to Donibristle House with its elaborate wrought iron gates and screens which stretch between the two L-shaped wings. The original main block of the house burned down in 1858 and has now been replaced by an apartment block with the wings restored as housing.


The next point of interest the group came to was on the rock promontory of "Downing Point" with the remains of concrete plinths on which world war two gun batteries ,search lights and barrage balloon anchoráge points were located as part of the coastal defences which can still be seen to this day.

Carrying on at a leisurely pace, the group had a good view of the many different forms of craft using the river from small fishing boats to large container ships .As the group headed back along the final section of the route before reaching Inverkeithing, they had another opportunity to capture pictures of the "Forth Bridges Trio" namely the Rail Bridge built 1890, the Road Bridge built 1964 and the new Queensferry Crossing due for completion by the end of 2016.

 

Once again a very big "THANK YOU" must go to our sponsors  "The Health Gift from money raised by The Health Lottery and the Peoples Health Trust"  and to all the volunteers / drivers who made this event  possible.

Woodside to Stenton Ponds - Tuesday 3 May 2016


The weather on the morning of the 3rd May turned out to be "third time lucky" for the club because it was calm and mild in comparison with the conditions on the previous two rambles of the season. The group of ramblers on electric mobility scooters accompanied by their volunteer helpers made their way from their base in Woodside and down the short inclined path which joined up with Boblingen Way Cycle path . The group turned to the left and followed the cycle path as it wound its way through Warout Wood. This busy path /cycleway runs mainly east to west passing through the various different precincts of Glenrothes and giving the users many changing vistas as they proceed along the route.

After following this woodland route for about half a mile, they diverted on to another pathway leading off to the left signposted "Thornton" This took them uphill, through the edge of the woodland and onwards through different more open grassland until they reached Beaufort Drive where the volunteers controlled the traffic to allow the group to cross safely. The pathway then led them down through the housing of Pitteuchar Precinct before reaching the underpass at Glamis Ave. , allowing the ramblers access up in to the Glamis Centre with its shops, Library and Community Centre.

It was here that the group took the opportunity to have a comfort stop before continuing along the tree lined pathway leading on to the metal bridge spanning the dual carriageways of the A921 Bankhead to Kinglassie RD. .

After crossing the metal bridge, they continued to wind their way along the path through some more woodland before reaching more open grassed areas and houses in the Stenton precinct. The front gardens of the houses displayed many varieties of colourful flowers and shrubs. Slightly further on as they passed Fyvie Green, the ramblers spotted the concrete sculptures depicting the alien shapes of UFO`s.

The route shortly led the group to Mar Drive where the volunteers were once again called on to control the traffic as the ramblers crossed over and joined another pathway which led them passed a scaled down feature representing The Great Wall of China. This attractive multi-contoured wall was constructed entirely of concrete "sets"

The ramblers followed the pathway until reaching the final road crossing at Foxton Drive which then allowed the group to enter Stenton Park.. The pathway into the park led the group through woodland before reaching the more open areas and on to the wooden bridge from where the ramblers were rewarded with clear views over the Stenton Ponds.


The group noticed that the eastern end of the pond consisted mainly of reed beds which provided an ideal habitat for a swan who was currently sitting on her nest and also for all the other forms of resident wild life of the area. The western end consists of more open water area also complete with its resident swan family.

After crossing the bridge, the group followed the pathway along the waters edge until reaching the west end of the pond where they parked up on a grassed area, sheltered by surrounding woodland , to relax for a while in the spring sunshine and enjoy their picnic lunch.as well as having time for a good "Social Blether."

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Although this was one of the shorter rambles (scoots) that are organised during the season, they provide an excellent way of allowing members to enjoy the company of others and to appreciate the hidden treasures of the countryside on their doorsteps.

They also" provide an opportunity for new members to get a good introduction to the rambling experience and all the pleasure that it brings.

A big "THANK YOU" must go to all our volunteer helpers and also to our sponsors without whose generosity these outings which give so many a feeling of well-being would not be possible

Tentsmuir Forest & Nature Reserve - Monday 4th April 2016


The weather on the morning which heralded the start of Forth & Tay Disabled Ramblers 2016 season was a bit inclement to say the least as members and volunteers gathered in the main car park at Tentsmuir Forest. The club`s electric mobility scooters, all freshly prepared and serviced for the busy season ahead, were lowered out of the transport as the ramblers donned the necessary wet-weather gear to help protect them from the elements.

The main car park is being upgraded at the moment and is being cleared of a large area of the existing mature pines. The Forestry Commission explained this was also necessary to protect public safety from the danger of falling trees planted in the high water table area causing them to be unstable with their shallow root systems.

After the briefing from the ramble leader, the group set off into the forest heading north along the trail signed with pine cone markers. The forest is located on what was originally moorland before it was acquired by the Forestry Commission in the 1920`s and comprises mainly of Scots and Corsican pines interspersed with rowan and birch trees. It provides an ideal habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including roe deer ,red squirrels and bats. The heavy rain helped to intensify the fragrance of pine in the air produced by the damp undergrowth.

The ramblers continued along the trail trying to avoid the deepest of the water filled pot holes but also enjoying being part of the great out doors once again after a winter that seemed to have lasted forever. They passed high stacks of large pine tree trunks which had recently been felled and were awaiting transportation to the timber mills.

Their branches and foliage had been stripped off and used as material to help stabilise the ever shifting sand dunes along this part of the coastline. .Tentsmuir Forest is really popular with the local communities and is well used by walkers ,cyclists and the nearby riding stables who take advantage of the long stretches of sand to give their horses plenty of healthy exercise.


The winding trail shortly brought the ramblers to the grassed area in front of a 19th century "Ice House" which was originally used for storing salmon but now provides a home for roosting bats.

The group took this opportunity to refresh themselves by having a hot drink and a bite to eat as well as a social chat. The overall cover provided from the new heavy duty capes provided for each scooter, certainly scored maximum points on this ramble.

The original intention was for the ramble to proceed westwards after lunch and head towards the nature reserve area at Morton Lochs with its variety of wild-fowl and recently discovered evidence of a stone age encampment.. Regrettably after further discussion between the group about the weather conditions, possibly leading to further risks of flooding and mud along that section of the route, it was decided that the safer option would to be to leave this part of the ramble to another time and return along the out-going route.

The club would like to thank everyone who braved the elements and helped to "LAUNCH" (perfect description on this occasion) the disabled ramblers 2016 season. and also to the sponsors who helped make this possible.

 Scottish charity No. SC033022.  
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