By James Crook

151144154April 10 - Scotland's first purpose built cycling track for disabled people is on course to open later this spring in Cawdor, just outside of Inverness, at the new Highland Cycle Ability Centre.

The £250,000 ($380,000/€290,000) project, led by the Cawdor-based Watermill Foundation, has been funded by various donors, including Sportscotland, the national agency for sport.

The centre will offer tricycles, hand cycles and tandems to visually impaired cyclists to help them navigate the one kilometre track, and detachable tandems will also be offered to wheelchair users, along with other specialist equipment.

"The Highland Cycle Ability Centre is the first of its kind in Scotland, and will play an important role in supporting young people with disabilities." Watermill Foundation chairman Joanna McGregor told Able magazine.

"There are few dedicated sporting facilities for young disabled people in Scotland, particularly in rural areas, and so we are delighted to be opening the first centre of its kind in the Highlands.

151145069Scotland's Neil Fachie took gold in the 1km time trial at London 2012

"The centre will offer young disabled people opportunities to experience all aspects of cycling, from off road riding in a safe, yet challenging environment to training workshops on cycle maintenance.

"Ultimately, the aim will be to enhance their skills and confidence, while at the same time providing a facility that encourages physical activity and helps raise the profile of disabled sports."

"This is very much a community facility, and we will be encouraging local schools, community groups and cycling clubs to use the centre.

"Our aim is to provide a sporting facility where the emphasis is on ability, rather than disability."

Scotland has produced an array of talented disabled cyclists, including Neil Fachie, who took gold and silver at London 2012, piloted by Barney Storey, and four-time Paralympic World Cup champion and multiple-Paralympic gold medallist Aileen McGlynn. (pictured top)

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