Bill Elderkin used “Tweedability II”, one of the Tweed Wheelyboats, to fish Boleside at the beginning of November. Bill has been fishing at the middle Tweed beat of Boleside for 30 years, and so knows the river – and its fish – intimately. The boatmen at Boleside have been diligently lifting Bill in and out of the usual Tweed fishing boats for all these years, and were beginning to find it a little difficult so they decided to try out one of the Wheelyboats to help both their backs, and Bill’s comfort, and it proved a hit for all.
The Wheelyboats are specially adapted to allow wheelchair users to access the boat safely from the bank using a ramp. The built-in hydraulics then take care of lowering the wheelchair into the boat where it is secured in position for fishing. The boat is a little heavier than a usual Tweed boat to provide it with the stability it requires for the additional weight of a wheelchair, and this means that in heavier waters it can be a little more awkward to manoeuvre, but most boatmen who’ve used it report that it is easy to row and move around the river in normal conditions.
Prospects this November have not been great, but with his long years of experience on the river – and a little luck as well – Bill caught a Salmon and a Sea-trout during his three-day stint.
Iain Gray, from the Boleside beat, said:
“Bill has fished with us for many years but our backs were getting sore lifting him in and out of our own boat. We thought we would try the Wheelyboat, which was generally a success. It made ingress and egress from the boat excellent although the boat itself is heavy and difficult to manoeuvre in the heavier flows. That said, we will go for it again next year!”
The Tweed Wheelyboats are available for any less-able angler who would like to fish Tweed in more comfort, and be able to get into and out of the boats with ease. See a short film on the Tweed Wheelyboats.
Wheelyboats are available from The Tweed Foundation, and more information – including booking boats – can be found here.