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Latest addition to Coniston fleet is a real ‘catch’

20 September 2011

One of the most popular stretches of water in the Lake District has just become more accessible for a group of people who will now have their own dedicated boat to give them the chance to enjoy the lake like everybody else.

Coniston Water – which has around a million visitors a year – has just taken delivery of an electric boat specifically adapted with its own moveable ramp to accommodate wheelchair users, particularly the nation’s 45,000 registered disabled anglers.

The £15,000 boat, which is jointly financed by the Lake District National Park and the Environment Agency, has a top speed of six mph and is capable of taking between four to six wheelchair anglers for up to four hours – enough time to see the entire lake.

The two-year project was marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony on one of the jetties at the Coniston Boating Centre before Terry Moseley from the British Disabled Angling Association pushed his wheelchair onto the boat and gave a fishing demonstration to crowds on the lakeshore.

National Park Director of Park Services, Bob Cartwright, said the Pioner Multi vessel was an important and valued addition to the Coniston Boating Centre fleet and he hoped it could be the first of several such boats on this and other lakes.

“The Lake District is a national park for everyone and we must provide facilities for all abilities. The national park is genuinely for everyone not just the super-fit athletes,” he added.

easy access for wheelchairs

The Environment Agency’s Fisheries Officer, Mike Farrell, said he had been delighted to work in partnership with the national park to make sure the project was completed.

“This is a fantastic resource and I hope we can use it, and future additional boats, on lakes all over Cumbria and further afield even throughout the whole of the north west,” he added.

And after his first venture out onto Coniston Terry Moseley said he thought the boat was fantastic – “there’ll be a huge demand to use this boat, it’s so stable yet still feels really powerful.”

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