Cycling legend backs Loch Leven campaign

Chris and Sarra Hoy with Esme.
Chris and Sarra Hoy with Esme.

Cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy and his wife Sarra have backed a project aiming to transform access at Loch Leven, after being inspired by a local girl’s story.

The project involves the building of a new accessible underpass at the southern end of the loch, which will link up miles of pathway, and replace an old tunnel with steep steps at each end.

The tunnel, the only safe crossing point under the B9097, has made access difficult for anyone with mobility issues, and families with young children, while creating a complete barrier for anyone using a wheelchair or mobility scooter.

A crowdfunding campaign is underway to raise £19,000 to help make the project a reality.

Chris said: “This initiative is a superb response to a long standing problem at Loch Leven and it deserves a generous public response.”

Chris and Sarra visited the area in 2013 to meet Esme Macintyre, a local girl who suffered from mobility issues after developing a brain tumour. Esme died in July 2013 at the age of 18.

Esme’s father, Dave Morris, said: “Esme enjoyed riding a tricycle around the Loch Leven Heritage Trail, but the steps in the underpass made it impossible for us to reach the facilities on the other side of the road. As her condition worsened, sometimes I would wonder if I could push her wheelchair across before the next lorry appeared.

“When Esme was asked what she would like to see happen after she passed away, an all-abilities underpass was her first suggestion.”