Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Accessible Days Out in Fife: StAnza and Beach Wheelchairs


StAnza banner on side of wall


*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Visit Scotland

During my week-long stay in Fife, I had three accessible days out planned; I was visiting the Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries (you can read all about that here), catching a poetry performance at StAnza and venturing to St Andrews beach to test the beach wheelchairs.


I was lucky enough to be in Fife when StAnza – Scotland’sNational Poetry Festival was taking place and on the Thursday I ventured up to the Poetry CafĂ© in the Byre Theatre in St Andrews to watch the hilarious Carly Brown and thought-provoking Joe with the Glasses perform a few pieces.

I managed to get a disabled parking space right outside the venue and took the lift up to where the performance was taking place. All was easy to find, access was fab and I had no problems.

Woman sat in powerchair outside Byre Theatre in St Andrews, she's wearing black coat, black jeans and pink hoody


Once I got to the fourth floor (if memory serves me right, which it usually doesn’t) I was ushered into the theatre and eagerly awaited the start of the show. Ashamedly it had been quite a while since I’d read any contemporary poetry as I’m either writing an article or playing with my dog so I was excited.

Carly Brown was introduced and as soon as she started performing her first poem, I fell in love. She was witty, sharp, captivating; she held every member of the audience in the palm of her hand. She was mesmerising. I laughed so much; I related to so much, I was inspired SO much. Her poems ‘50 Shades’ and ‘To Ruin Christmas’ were definitely my favourites. You absolutely have to check her out on YouTube, you won’t be disappointed.

Woman stood in front of microphone with StAnza board behind her


Next up was Joe with the Glasses; his poetry was hard-hitting, political, emotional and challenging. He almost rapped his poetry as it emulated lyrics. His words were captivating and I sat at the back of the theatre in tears when he shared a poem about his brother, it was so moving.

Man stood in front of microphone in front of StAnza board

I spoke to Carly after the show and basically fangirled. I told her that she had inspired me to start writing poetry again and I loved her style. In all honesty, I kind of want to be her friend, she had a sense of humour mirroring mine and was just so incredibly talented. I bought her book, she signed it and we follow each other on Twitter now, so we’re basically friends, right?

As Joe left the theatre I awkwardly stopped him to tell him how awesome he was and that his poem about his brother made me cry. He was really lovely and gracious.

I’d been to watch performance poetry before but it was nothing like this; this was amazing.

Beach landscape, people on beach, St Andrews town in background

St Andrews beach with rocks and water

St Andrews beach with people on sand and water


The next day we headed back to St Andrews (and quite frankly, I fell in love with the place) to go to the beach. It’s been such a long time since I have been on a beach so was really looking forward to it, alas the weather wasn’t the greatest. It was really cold and drizzling but we had a go anyway. St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs have six chairs which are free to rent and come in different styles. I went on a debug chair which is like a standard wheelchair but with huge wheels. They also have hippocampe chairs that are great on all terrains, especially the beach.

I sat in the debug, was belted in and Ian pushed me onto the beach, with Teddy in tow. Ted had never been to the beach before so was loving life (you can read more about that here). Although the weather was rubbish, it felt good to be on a beach again. Ian said it was really smooth and easy to push, and I was comfortable.

Woman sat in beach wheelchair wearing black coat and covered in grey blanket, she's holding the lead of a red and white cockapoo puppy

To use a beach wheelchair at St Andrews you must book in advance and they can be rented for one or two hours, or half a day.

If you’re a wheelchair user and in St Andrews, you should definitely check them out, just make sure you don’t go on a freezing cold day like we did.



*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored but all views are my honest, unbiased opinion.

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