Ladybower Fisheries launches brand new wheelchair accessible boat

Disabled people across the region can enjoy angling, power and pleasure boating on the reservoir following the launch of Ladybower Fisheries’ second specially designed Wheelyboat.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 1:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 2:00 pm
The new Coulam V17 Wheelyboat out on the water at Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire. Credit Steve Bullock.
The new Coulam V17 Wheelyboat out on the water at Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire. Credit Steve Bullock.

A brand-new wheelchair accessible powerboat, a Coulam V17 Wheelyboat, has been launched on Ladybower Reservoir by national charity The Wheelyboat Trust, in partnership with Ladybower Fisheries.

The new V17 Wheelyboat will enable Ladybower’s disabled visitors and anglers to independently access the clear waters of the reservoir, whether to fish or to simply enjoy power and pleasure boating in a stunning landscape. The V17 Wheelyboat joins an existing Coulam 16 Wheelyboat – a purpose built angling boat – that was launched on the reservoir in 2016, making Ladybower Reservoir truly accessible.

Andy Beadsley, director of The Wheelyboat Trust, said: “We have launched over 200 Wheelyboats across the country, including two Coulam 16 Wheelyboats in Derbyshire – one at Ladybower Reservoir and another on Carsington Water.

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"Our aim is to encourage anyone with a mobility, learning or sensory impairment to be able to enjoy being out on the water independently, whether that’s to fish or pleasure boat, something that is incredibly difficult for wheelchair users. We hope now Covid-19 restrictions are starting to ease that many people can enjoy Ladybower Reservoir this summer, thanks to the new Coulam V17 Wheelyboat.”

The V17 Wheelyboat is The Wheelyboat Trust’s most versatile Wheelyboat to date. Each boat is able to hit top speeds of over 30mph (thanks to their Suzuki 90hp outboards), which is ideal for powerboating, but they are also designed for leisurely pleasure boating – perfect for whiling away a few hours on the water.

Every Wheelyboat has roll-on, roll-off access, an open and level cockpit and their drive-from-wheelchair helms enable anyone in a wheelchair to not only board the Wheelyboat easily and move around safely but drive it too.

Ladybower Reservoir is large Y-shaped reservoir in the Upper Derwent Valley that lies in the heart of the Peak District National Park. Opened by King George VI in 1945, the reservoir draws visitors from Derbyshire, neighbouring counties and beyond. There are several beautiful vistas and viewpoints of water, woodland and moorland, which can be seen from the many walking and cycling routes around the reservoir.

On the water, visitors to Ladybower Fisheries can fish for rainbow, blue and brown trout (with some reaching 20 lbs!) either from the bank, via boat (which now includes two Wheelyboats) or from float tubes. Anglers of all abilities are welcome, and tuition is offered for those new to the sport too.

Troy Chadwick, Accessibility Coordinator at Ladybower Fisheries, adds: “Ladybower fisheries are proud to be working in partnership with The Wheelyboat Trust. Since the launch of our first Coulam 16 Wheelyboat in 2016 we realised that there was a massive demand for people with disabilities who wanted to learn how to fish or continue fishing after a life changing event. Boating is one of the very few sports in which able-bodied people and people with seen and unseen disabilities can participate on equal terms, which is something we celebrate at Ladybower.”

Troy continues: “Our new Coulam V17 Wheelyboat has been named 'The Gov' after our late friend and supporter, the dearly missed Alisdair Duncan from Orvis Bakewell. It will make a fantastic addition to our growing fleet of accessible boats used at Ladybower to make accessible fishing available to everyone.”

All Wheelyboats are hand built and fitted out to order by Jim Coulam of boatbuilders Coulam Ltd. The purchase of this new boat would not have been possible without the generous support of West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd, ALA Green Charitable Trust, Evans Property Group, the Duke of Devonshire’s Charitable Trust, The William Dean Trust, The Helen Jean Cope Charity, The Gordon Trust, Mansfield Building Society Community Support Scheme, and many other individual donors.

To book the V17 Wheelyboat, call 01433 659 712 / 07585 335 143, or visit www.ladybowerfisheries.co.uk

The Wheelyboat Trust relies on donations from individuals and organisations, and their work could not continue without the ongoing generosity they provide. To help get more disabled people out on UK waters, text WHEELYBOAT to 70085 to donate £5.

To find out more about The Wheelyboat Trust, visit www.wheelyboats.org