Disabled Fife Local Shares Portrait Promoting Accessible Walks

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AN INSPIRING young disabled man has been featured in an online exhibition recognising efforts to champion the joy of everyday active travel and motivate others to utilise accessible routes.

Thornton local, Connor Beveridge (26) has Friedreich’s Ataxia – a degenerative neurological condition – which has left him wheelchair dependant.

Despite his disability, Connor’s love for the outdoors is stronger than it has ever been, and he recently launched a blog dedicated to identifying accessible routes in Fife and the surrounding areas.

Connor’s portrait and inspiring story is part of Scotland’s Walking Charity, Paths for All’s “Humans of the Walk” online exhibition, launched as COP26 is underway in Glasgow.

The gallery of portraits and personal stories showcase the immense impact everyday walking can have on our health, wellbeing and the environment.

Connor said: “Chronic conditions can have a big impact on your mental health. The fresh air can help with this as it gives you a sense of freedom and the ability to appreciate other things in life like nature.

“Having a disability can put up a lot of barriers but once you are outside in the fresh air you forget about this and let yourself relax, unwind and enjoy the surroundings.

“I’m so lucky to have an array of accessible routes on my doorstep, the Fife Coastal Path is also nearby which makes for a lovely trip and I enjoy listening to the sound of the waves.”

Connor’s blog ‘Accessible Walks Scotland’ highlights how accessible a route is including information on the car parking and amenities as well as a general overview of the condition of the path and whether or not you can access it with a wheelchair.

He added: “People living with a disability like to see what a location or route is like before visiting themselves, so my blog is hopefully providing some reassurance to likeminded individuals so that they can get out and explore.

“I’ve had people get in touch to say my blog has given them the confidence to visit an area which is brilliant. The information can help those living with a disability, families with kids, individuals with anxiety or those who are mobile but struggle when the path is not in good condition.

“Everyone needs to be doing a lot more to help the environment to ensure we are able to keep enjoying these beautiful surroundings we have available – if we all just do our bit it will make a big difference.”

Images captured by the talented photographer Rebecca Holmes and her team, bring to life individual stories of overcoming challenges, connecting to our natural world and feeling our best.

Nine individual stories have been captured in locations all across Scotland from different ages and abilities.

Reducing car travel for short journeys is an important step that Scotland must take to tackle the climate emergency, as car journeys are responsible for 39% of transport emissions.

The charity is determined to promote walking and wheeling as the default choices for short journeys or as part of longer public transport journey to make a happier, healthier and greener Scotland.

Kevin Lafferty, Chief Executive Officer at Paths for All, said: “We can all ‘do our bit’ for climate change by walking or wheeling more often to reduce our carbon footprint, while improving our physical and mental health.

“As COP26 is taking place in Glasgow we want walking to be recognised for what it is – a planet-saving, health-improving force, free and accessible to everyone.

“As a charity, we want to revolutionise the way people use their cities, and stop our spaces from being dominated by cars. Scotland’s towns and cities should be a backdrop for people walking, wheeling, cycling or simply spending time enjoying cleaner, quieter, calmer streets.

“The people who have been featured in Humans of the Walk show just how wide an impact our own individual actions can have – so think of what we could accomplish together.”

Paths for All’s mission is to support people in Scotland to be active every day, everywhere.

The charity works to create more opportunities and better environments for everyone in Scotland, no matter who they are or where they live, to stay active through walking, wheeling or cycling.

To find out more about Path’s for All, visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/