Inspiring disabled Fife man’s guide to accessible outdoor routes in new exhibition

A young disabled Fife 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.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:49 am

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

It showcases the immense impact everyday walking can have on our health, wellbeing and the environment.

The 26-year old from Thornton has Friedreich’s Ataxia – a degenerative neurological condition - which has left him wheelchair dependent.

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Screen shot from Connor's blog

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 the Kingdom and the surrounding areas.

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.

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Connor Beveridge

“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.”

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.”

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