If you love the highs of a good workout or the endorphin rush after pushing your body to the limit, you'll enjoy the adapted sporting activities available around Britain. From handgliding to rafting, here’s some of the top accessible sporting spots in Britain:
Set sail in Scotland
Immerse yourself in the drama and beauty of the Highlands of Scotland at Adventures Unlimited. It’s close to the city of Inverness (eight hours by train from London Euston, or three hours' drive north of Edinburgh) and offers canoeing and kayaking on Loch Ness, sailing on the Caledonian canal and double kayaks, which can be shared by disabled and able-bodied participants. Activities can be booked for groups or individuals, and they offer short-breaks and kayaking/canoeing touring weekends, as well as half or one-day taster sessions.
Cycling in the Forest
Thetford Forest in Norfolk, eastern England, is a great place to discover the British countryside on two wheels, and Bike Art Thetford has a range of bicycles to hire that offer disabled visitors the chance to enjoy gliding up and down the cycle-paths that wind between the trees. Equipment includes tricycles with a back platform for a wheelchair, with an additional seat for passive passengers, tandem and semi-recumbent trikes. Equipment should be reserved before arriving at the Park. Thetford Forest is around two and half hours’ drive from London.
Take to the Skies
Britain’s biggest provider of disabled hangliding, Airways Airsports offers the chance to glide over the gorgeous countryside of the southern Peak District and Derbyshire, (around an hour’s drive from Manchester). Tandem tuition using aerotow – where the glider is towed by another aircraft – means getting off the ground is problem free, and the flight will be steered and managed by one of Airways’ experienced gliders. Visitors can choose from one-off experience days or a short-course, which teaches the basics of hangliding.
The Lee Valley Riding Centre in east London, which has two floodlit outdoor riding arenas and an indoor area, offers half-hour sessions for disabled riders taught by specially trained instructors and volunteers who lead the horses and ponies. It’s a short taxi ride from Clapton overground train station.
The thrill of hurtling over white-water rapids is one that can be enjoyed by everybody. The National White Water Centre, on the eastern edge of the Snowdonia National Park in north Wales (around five hours’ drive from London) has a specially-designed seat that can be put into any of its rafts, with quick-release straps in case of emergency. Any disabled visitors have a specially-assigned member of crew in the raft, to ensure their safety. Back on dry land, there is a ramped entrance, disabled changing room and an accessible viewing balcony to watch the other rafts whizz by.