ANGLERS and tourists can now explore more of the Uists’ lochs thanks to funding for an accessible “wheelyboat”.
Hydraulic platforms will allow people in wheelchairs to use the boat, no matter how low the water level or how inaccessible the banks.
The boat will be used by anglers in the Outer Hebrides to fish for salmon, sea trout and trout, and for nature watching and pleasure trips.
The Uists’ new C16 Wheelyboat is one of seven part-funded accessible boats hand-built and fitted out to order by Jim Coulam of boatbuilders Coulam through a UK-wide initiative led by The Wheelyboat Trust and The Angling Trust.
It will be named in memory of Elizabeth Macdonald Buchanan, a trustee of The Wheelyboat Trust who lived on the island of Eriskay.
The North Uist and South Uist angling clubs received more than £7,300 towards the cost of the boat from the Salmon Pool Fund, a partnership between salmon farm operator Loch Duart and its feed supplier, Cargill Aqua Nutrition.
The Salmon Pool Fund has donated more than £74,500 to projects in Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides.
Alastair Macleod from North Uist Angling Club, who applied for the funding, said: “Angling is an important part of our community and is hugely popular with people of all ages across the Uists, with our clubs bringing together more than 100 adults and juniors from the islands and further afield.
“We are thrilled that with the support of Loch Duart and Cargill Aqua Nutrition, we will be able to welcome many more local residents and new visitors who have not been able to go out fishing before in the Uists.”
Mark Warrington, managing director of Loch Duart, added: “Working as part of isolated communities across North West Scotland and with many keen anglers within our employment – including myself – we know just how important fishing is to local residents and visitors alike.
“We are proud that this funding will provide accessibility for all angling enthusiasts on the Uists and will allow for equality of experience for anyone wishing to take part in angling in the spectacular setting provided by the islands.”
Read more fishing stories on Scottish Field’s outdoors pages.