We have some friends visiting this coming weekend, staying near Crieff and wanting to show their two daughter’s how stunning Scotland is and have some mini adventures. They love the outdoors and will do just fine in the variable Scottish weather (although I do hope it does stay dry for them). But this will be a visit with a difference. Back in September of last year, Dad of the family, was involved in a serious accident when he was knocked off of his motorbike by a car. Eight months later and he is still using crutches to aid him to walk. This got me to thinking about five accessible friendly activities in Perthshire that I could recommend.
- Blair Castle – This stunning castle dates back to 1269 and was not really gearing up for being wheelchair friendly back then but it is still well worth a visit. The website clearly states it is not possible to do the full tour around the castle because of the stairs but provisions have been on ground level for an audio tour. The disabled access page of the website gives a detailed description with images of the gardens and deer park so you can make your own mind up where you wish to venture. It also mentions on the Visitor Facilities page that a scooter is available to hire for those with limited mobility to access the gardens. There is a childrens play park and plenty of space to eat your picnic and listen to the peacocks calling.
- Loch Leven Heritage Trail – I am a BIG fan of this place, for many reasons, and yet until I searched for accessible places to visit, for this post, I wasn’t aware that you can actually have free use of a Trail Scooter. This makes the twelve mile long trail accessible to everyone! With three locations around the loch to collect a Trail Scooter it really sounds like a brilliant way to get around. One thing I must point out that if you like the look of this and are planning your holiday the website does state that you will need photographic ID and a utility bill to confirm your address before you can use one. The heritage trail gives access to views across Loch Leven, bird hides and woodland. Have a look at the Trail Scooters at Loch Leven website for more information.
- Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre – We visited Loch of the Lowes quite recently to see the magnificent breeding pair of ospreys. Although we walked in from some three miles away through woodland and steep paths, the reserve and around the visitor centre itself is accessible for everyone and the car park is right next door. Ramps and handrails lead to the hides for anyone needing assistance. Leading from the car park there is also a short path along a boardwalk which offers a different view across the loch. Inside the visitor centre there is a large viewing window to watch the red squirrels, woodpeckers and other woodland birds at close quarters. Great way to spend a few hours. Read all about the visitor centre and it’s access guide here.
- Perth Museum & Art Gallery – Situated in the centre of Perth this museum and art gallery is perfect for a family visit. With great access into the building including a ramp, a lift and everything is on one level. With various exhibitions on show in the galleries there are also collections showing Perth and Kinross’ history and natural history of zoological and botanical interest. The added attraction is that this is free to enter.
- Pitlochry Dam and Visitor Centre – The new kid on the block. Open in February 2017 and immediately a popular choice for visitors of all ages. Host to interactive displays, a short film about the Tunnel Tigers, a gift shop and a cafe with fabulous views of the dam. It is free to visit and lifts provide access between the two floors. Even if it’s just for a piece of cake and to enjoy the view, it’s well worth stopping for.
Whilst looking for these five accessible friendly activities in Perthshire I have found a number of websites that also provide advice and links on the subject. Walks with Buggies could also apply to wheelchairs so is well worth a look. VisitScotland also have ideas for accessible holidays and places to visit. There is also DisabledGo which can be used for hotels, attractions and restaurants across the UK.
I do hope that this list helps with my friend’s holiday plans and maybe yours too. If you know of anywhere else in Perthshire that could be of interest to my visitors please do let me know.