A new wheelchair-accessible powerboat is set to help more disabled people to enjoy the waters of Castle Semple Loch.

The new boat – a Coulam Wheelyboat V17 – will allow disabled visitors to Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park to independently access and enjoy watersports at the site.

Castle Semple Centre already has one Wheelyboat - a Coulam Wheelyboat V20 - which was launched in 2015. 

This was the first V20 to be launched in Scotland and it has proved so popular with disabled visitors who can now take part in accessible powerboating, powerboat training and pleasure boating activities, that a second Wheelyboat is needed to keep up with demand.

The Gazette: Kyle and David Hill out enjoying ‘Lightyear’Kyle and David Hill out enjoying ‘Lightyear’ (Image: Castle Semple Centre)

A naming ceremony recently took place to christen the centre's second Wheelyboat. 

Kyle, from Corseford School, named the new boat 'Lightyear' after Buzz Lightyear, his favourite character from the Toy Story franchise. 

Now Kyle, alongside his family and friends, will be one of many now able to explore the 2.5km long freshwater loch which boasts medieval ruins and is home to numerous bird species too.

Andy Beadsley, director of operations at The Wheelyboat Trust, said: "Wheelyboats are a lifeline for anyone with a disability of any kind, as users can board safely and independently rather than being manhandled into the boat which is not only unsafe but also undignified.

"Before Wheelyboats, those who are mobility impaired or have additional special needs simply haven't been able to experience life on the water due to lack of access.

"As a wheelchair user myself, I know first-hand the numerous benefits that being able to take part in activities that able-bodied people take for granted can bring. 

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"Wheelyboats not only offer physical access to lochs, lakes and rivers but they are enormously beneficial for positive mental health and well-being, too."

David Hill, chief instructor at Castle Semple Centre, added: "We estimate that 250 people per year will benefit from our second Wheelyboat, so to be able to offer the opportunity for that many people to take part in activities they previously couldn’t, attain recognised qualifications, or become a Powerboat Instructor is hugely positive for locals and visitors alike.

"We are immensely proud to be home to Scotland’s first ever Coulam Wheelyboat V20 and even more so now her sister boat, the Coulam Wheelyboat V17 'Lightyear' is available for public use, too."

To book one of the Wheelyboats, visit https://clydemuirshiel.co.uk/outdoor-activities/accessibility/.