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Image by David Lintern

Able2Adventure: helping to make the Cairngorms more accessible

By Gemma Hendry on 15th December, 2022

Organisational Manager and Lead Instructor for Able2Adventure

Throughout November we’ve heard from different people in the National Park about how they use and enjoy the Speyside Way. In our final piece to shine a light on the Speyside Way, we hear from Gemma at Able2Adventure and her passion for getting more people outside experiencing the Speyside Way and many more places in the Cairngorms National Park, regardless of their age or ability.

Images by David Lintern

The Cairngorms is a magical place, and one that we believe should be accessible to everyone regardless of their age or ability. We were surprised when we moved here in 2016, how many of the trails were wide, and how few were gated in comparison to our previous home in the Lake District.

After a few years of exploring and researching, we realised the potential for people to explore by off road wheelchair and adaptive bike. So, in 2019, we set up Able2Adventure, a mobile outdoor activity organisation for people of all ages and abilities. We found ourselves using the trails around Glenmore Forest in particular for Duke of Edinburgh groups and guided walks with wheelchair users. However, it wasn’t until we met Craig Grimes, from Experience Community that we truly understood the potential of the trail network in the park. Craig rides both a handcycle and off-road wheelchair called a Mountain Trike, both with e-power as an option.

We organised a weekend of exploring the routes he thought possible for both, and found ourselves on the logging way, around Loch an Eilein, up to Ryvoan Bothy and lapping around Loch Morlich. It was through this connection that we were donated a Mountain Trike from Crathie Holidays. At the same time, we discovered the fleet of adaptive bikes available at Badaguish, and together decided it would be great to make these available to the general public.

Without even having to try people were getting in touch with us to hire off road wheelchairs or adaptive bikes to explore the trails in the park.

We knew we needed to put more of our time and focus on these and as such set up Access Mhor Cairngorms, a hub of adaptive bikes and wheelchairs supported by the Speyside Trust at Badaguish. From here we can explore the local forest trails in Glenmore Forest or through the use of our WAV (Wheelchair Access Vehicle) we can venture up to the Green Lochan, Ryvoan Bothy, Loch an Eilein or any number of local village routes in Nethybridge and Boat of Garten.

In October of this year, we ran ‘Trailblazer’ a 7km wheelchair adventure race starting at the Hayfield in Glenmore Forest. Wheelchair users from all over the UK came to participate in the race; in manual chairs, trikes, handcycles, freewheels, paratrekers and mountain trikes. It was fantastic to see so many people using so many different types of wheels.

The hub is constantly growing and through the support of our funders the Cairngorms Trust and SSE Hydro we are looking to build a fleet of all sorts of adaptive bikes and off-road wheelchairs. We currently have an Ice Trike (recumbent foot pedal trike with e-power), children and small adults’ trailer, clip on Freewheel to manual wheelchair and 4-wheel Paratreker on order. In 2023 we will be making an official launch of the hub to offer hire and guided rides to both locals and visitors in the park. We can help people to test which bit of kit works for them and we can help to transport the equipment to their home or their walk/ride. We will also being offer ‘Active Travel Sessions’ whereby local residents can book a session for trying out the different bikes and chairs to see which would be suitable for them. They will then be able to hire the equipment to test it out on their local routes.

This is just the beginning of what’s in store for Access Mhor Cairngorms. In 2023 we will be guiding a 40km handcycle ride around the Ryvoan loop and Mountain Trike weekends where people can be guided as well as attend skills and maintenance workshops.

We are lucky to be based in a National Park with so many fantastic accessible routes to explore. We look forward to getting more people out in this beautiful area in 2023 regardless of their age or ability.

Find out more about Able2Adventure at

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