One of the world’s only disabled-friendly tall ships sailed into Aberdeen Harbour yesterday.
With billowing white sails and the sun at her back, the impressive 171ft Lord Nelson docked at Blaikie’s Quay alongside the city’s enormous offshore ships and ferries.
Her hard-working crew, formed partially of disabled and disadvantaged people, immediately set to work carefully furling her many sails after scaling her expansive web of rigging.=
Perched perilously in her crow’s nests, the sailors were treated to an incredible view of the Granite City’s sparkling skyline and the blue waters of its famous harbour.
The breath-taking vessel is currently voyaging around the UK on a two month adventure, organised by the Jubilee Sailing Trust and Barclays.
Named after the most famous disabled admiral to ever set sail, the Lord Nelson has been designed from the hull up for use by those with physical limitations, those with learning disabilities, or those with visual impairments – such as the one-eyed Horatio Nelson himself.
Featuring the world’s only wheelchair-friendly bowsprit and an audio compass, the ship provides landlubbers faced with severe day-to-day limitations the opportunity to experience first-hand what it’s like to live life on the seven seas.
Yesterday her cheerful crew, accompanied by volunteers from the bank, carefully departed the boat along its gangplanks onto the dry land of Aberdeen Harbour for a brief respite from their journey to restock the hold and enjoy the city.
Speaking during a brief period of calm, the tall ship’s captain Darren Naggs said: “The idea is for people with disabilities to work on complete equal footing with those that don’t have disabilities together, to get the ship from A to B.
“We’re going around Britain right now, we started in London about two weeks ago and we’ll finish again in London in June.
“Every single trip we do is a positive bonding exercise. There’s no other way to operate the ship than to work together, so everyone naturally generates this community spirit.
“You can have somebody with a disability working alongside an athlete, alongside someone from a different walk of life – you get all stratas of society on our ship.
“It’s somewhere that a lot of life-long friendships begin.”