Fishing village history to be made accessible to all

Dame Anne Begg visited Gourdon’s Maggie Law Maritime Museum on Thursday to hear about the work that was being carried out to make the visitor attraction more accessible for people with disabilities.

Dave Ramsay, Project Director of A Howe of the Mearns Heritage Association, talked the Aberdeen South MP through the work that was being carried out and what they had planned for the old Coastguard building.

The museum houses the Maggie Law - one of the first inshore lifeboats which was built in 1890.

As the museum is based in a historic two storey building with an external stair, with limited space downstairs, a small reception area on the ground floor will provide a purpose built space for wheelchair access where a laptop computer will provide a guided “Armchair Tour” of both floors of the Museum with an audio visual tour of the building, contents and exhibits. If necessary, the laptop can also be transferred to the visitor’s car. The “Armchair Tour” will be designed around audio descriptive text for people with a visual impairment.

As well as this, the Museum has bought two mobility scooters to enable Museum visitors to visit the trail from Inverbervie to Gourdon and the localised area.

This means wheelchair users can travel on terrain they would not normally be able to and join others on local walks.

When not in use by the museum, the scooters will be available for local community use, as the village presents physical challenges and barriers for many older people.

Dame Anne Begg said: “Not everywhere has to be physically accessible now because of the introduction of modern technology. A lot of places don’t make their premises accessible for disabled users because they think it’s going to be too difficult, but it doesn’t always necessarily mean adding a lift or a ramp, there’s other ways to think outside the box and make goods accessible to people with disabilities.”

The museum hopes to achieve Visit Scotland status before opening next year.