Residents living in and around the Cairngorms National Park will be able to get around more freely after the park authority introduced an electric trishaw yesterday.
The joint venture between the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is designed to aid people with physical and mental health problems enjoy the restorative benefits of getting out and about in the outdoors.
The official launch of the trishaw took place at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, as one of the client groups likely to benefit from the delivery of the new transport method is those suffering from dementia.
The trishaws, which can take up to two passengers, are to be piloted by trained volunteers to allow members of the community to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the positive benefits of exercise.
The electric trishaw is to be managed by the Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport Company under their Where2Today? project.
Maggie Lawson of the group said: “Relatives or friends of older people who they think would benefit from being out in the fresh air, can give us a call any time at the office or email us their enquiry.
“It will be used in Aviemore to begin with but if we have the use of a trailer, it will allow for the trishaw to be used in other communities too, as we know there are already requests coming in.”
David Clyne, Recreation and Access manager at the CNPA, said: “The idea is to help more people safely enjoy being outdoors in this wonderful National Park. It is great for people with mobility issues, medical conditions or mental health problems.
“I myself have trained as a volunteer pilot and I am really looking forward to meeting lots of people and helping them to enjoy the feeling of ‘cycling’ in the outdoors.”
Currently, 14 volunteers have trained to become pilots of the trishaw, with the Where2Today? project seeking more to come forward.
Francesca Osowska, SNH’s chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support this project. It’s so important to connect with nature – and this new trishaw is a simply wonderful way to make it easy and safe for people to get out and enjoy the countryside.
“Spending time in nature is invaluable for both mental and physical health, helping us cope with stress and to keeping us healthy and happy.
“I find myself that getting on a bike or taking a walk in one of Scotland’s many beautiful places can make all the difference in how I feel. I’m sure those who use the trishaw will find the same benefits.”