A high ropes course which allows wheelchair users to experience a new challenging outdoor adventure has opened at The Lake District Calvert Trust. Based on the shores of Lake Bassenthwaite, it’s thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.
The nature of the sloping woods behind the centre allows wheelchair users to access the course, before using the horizontal ropes and obstacles taking them to a maximum height of 10 meters above the ground. Built using a series of trees as the main supports, this unique and specialist facility is 100 meters long and stretches across eight platforms, with seven separate challenges.
The Lake District Calvert Trust is a residential outdoor centre with more than 40 years of experience in delivering adventure holidays for people with disabilities. With this unique high ropes course now up and running, it will be incorporated into The Calvert Trust’s existing activities programme which includes sailing, canoeing, horse-riding and abseiling.
To celebrate the opening, a group from the charity BackUp had a sneak preview. The organisation helps people rebuild their independence and confidence after devastating spinal cord injuries.
Julie Hill, Group Leader of BackUp said: “The new addition at the trust is fantastic, as it isn’t something we’d be able to do anywhere else in the country. As wheelchair users, we all took great delight during our trip in testing this new activity out before anyone else. As a specialist centre, The Calvert Trust was already a great destination for us, but this is really the icing on the cake.”
Sean Day, Centre Director at the Lake District Calvert Trust says: “We wanted to make our residential stays at the centre more exciting, creating a unique course that could challenge both those with learning difficulties and those with restricted mobility. We already had a wheelchair accessible challenge course and zip wire on site, so our task was to think about how to make a high ropes course accessible so it could get maximum use from our visitors.”
The course was designed and developed by adventure specialist Technical Outdoor Solutions. It cost £84,000 and support from the Harold and Alice Bridges Charity, the Bailey Thomas Charitable Fund, the Leathersellers’ Company Charitable Fund, and a personal donation from Michael Toulmin, who until 2015 was a trustee of The Calvert Trust, made it possible.