LOOKING AHEAD TO THE PAST

The John Muir Trust is a conservation charity dedicated to protecting and enhancing wild places. Each year the John Muir Trust award a small number of grants to individuals, to enable them to visit and explore wild places. Grants are to enable people to go and experience wild environments while, at the same time, raise awareness for the protection of wild places. I am thrilled to say that I have been awarded one of this grants this year. Later this month I will embark on a tour of Orkney to report on disability access to the fascinating archaeological sites.

Earlier in the year, I had the idea that I wanted to visit Orkney. Readers of my blog will know that last year I cycled the length of the Outer Hebrides and, among other things, visited Callanish. This 5000 year old neolithic stone circle was a truly amazing site and it really ingnited my enthusiasm for taking a look into the past. I have heard from many people that Orkney was an amazing place and just steeped in archaeological history.

Before long I was looking at organised tours of Orkney that I could join. As well as being phenomenally expensive, one of the tours specifically said that it was not suitable for disabled people. This, like a red rag to a bull, made me even more determined to see for myself.

With the grant from the John Muir Trust, I will be visiting Orkney later this month to visit the archaeological sites for myself. I am very excited about this. As part of my on going work, I will be reporting on the accessibility of the sites for disabled people and way in which disabled people can also have a glimpse into the past as well. I hope that by doing this I will help improve access to tourism for disabled people to allow them to enjoy wild places as much as everyone else can.

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