Accessible Day Out at St Andrews Beach with Emma

As we drove across the Queensferry Crossing one Friday morning, sun splitting the skies I was reminded of the time my partner, Allan and I were chosen to walk across the bridge before its opening in 2017. We were among the 50,000 lucky people chosen from a ballot to take part in the once in a lifetime experience to walk, or in my case, roll across the new Queensferry Crossing.

However, we were actually on our way to St Andrew’s for a day at the beach. This time we had my Mum and nephew with us and we were looking forward to spending time together and making the most of the sunshine.

It was especially exciting because it meant I got to use my beach wheelchair again after almost two years. I have the WheelEEZ beach wheelchair conversion kit which essentially converts a manual wheelchair into a beach wheelchair. It's brilliant and an absolute game-changer for those less able to access the beach. I love it!

We packed a picnic, beach essentials and the beach wheelchair into our Ford Tourneo Connect wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV).

St Andrews has a few beaches, but we decided to visit West Sands. The car park was already fairly busy when we arrived but thankfully managed to find a parking space quickly, which was also close to one of the sandy pathways down to the beach.

We were all feeling hungry so to save time we ate our sandwiches in the car. The air conditioning was on so it was the perfect cool temperature to enjoy lunch before venturing out.

It was then time to get transferred from my power wheelchair into the beach wheelchair. Before we knew it we were down on the beach, sands between our toes and the sun blazing hot in the sky.

As a full-time power wheelchair user, the beach is usually off-limits as sand and wheels just don’t work well together. Normally I’d sit on the sidelines watching everyone else. But having the beach wheelchair allows me to feel included and enjoy quality time with my family.

We did forget the wheelchair armrests though, so we had to improvise by tying a scarf around me and the backrest to prevent me from falling over to the side.

It was just so nice to be out in the fresh open air while relaxing by the sea. The gentle breeze cooling us down was so welcome and I enjoyed sitting in the shade under a parasol attached to the back of my wheelchair.

Beaches across the UK are becoming more inclusive and accessible to wheelchair users. Many of these beaches including St Andrews offer free rental of beach wheelchairs, which is fantastic.

We had a great beach day. I loved watching our nephew splashing around in the ocean and seeing how confident he has become in the water. He loved playing around in the sea with his Uncle Allan, building sandcastles, playing ball and eating endless snacks. All while looking out to the stunning sea view. It felt relaxing and refreshing after our year of shielding due to COVID. Can't beat it!

On the way home we drove through Crail, Pittenween, Elie before stopping in Leven for chips which we munched while sitting in our WAV at the promenade. Looking forward to another beach day already.

Thank you to our friend for another great review. ​

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