Exploring Edinburgh and the Kindness of Strangers

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via Disability Horizons

Srin is an avid world travel. He and his wheelchair have been all over this planet! His trip to Edinburgh, Scotland included some great accessible accommodations, and an encounter with incredibly kind strangers who helped to made it a memorable one.

Exploring the city

Srin arrived at the Edinburgh Waverly train station via the London Kings Cross station. Though Srin had made the trip from London to Edinburgh previously by car, this was his first time traveling by train. “I very quickly came to decision that I would most probably never go by car again! The train journey was comfortable and much faster than the car journey,” he shares.

Srin stayed at the King James Thistle hotel, just minutes from the train station. Before booking his room, Srin found he was pleased when he checked the website which had detailed information on wheelchair accessibility. “The room was very spacious and the bathroom was large and had a roll in shower unit,” he writes. Srin even arranged with the hotel to have blocks placed under the bed so it could be raised to a more comfortable height for him.

Srin’s first night in Edinburgh was spent with clients where they experienced Edinburgh’s nightlife including a cooking class, wine tasting, and of course pub hopping! Srin then met up with a friend from university and together they spent the next couple days exploring the beauty of Edinburgh. One of their outings was a walk through the hills of Holyrood Park. Since Srin had been to Edinburgh previously, he was aware of the steep hills and rough terrain. But one look at the highest hill in Holyrood Park, and he knew he would never make it up. Luckily, there was a slightly smaller hill right next to it that looked challenging yet promising. “Although, it was steep and uneven, I thought I would give it a go!” writes Srin. “My Permobil C2K wheelchair is like a tank, it is a tough machine that has in the past powered me up some dreadfully steep inclines and terrain in the past.”

A seemingly unattainable goal

So Srin began the trek up the hill. “I had to navigate my way carefully through the gravel, closely keep an eye on the best route and at the same time keep the wheelchair in a position on the path that would not allow it to tip over!” writes Srin. And he was doing really well until about three-quarters up the hill. That’s when the hill got steeper, the terrain changed from gravel to moist grass, and the wheels began to lose traction.

“Slightly disappointed at my impending failure to get to the top of the hill, I began to slowly turn around to descend. Out of the blue, I then hear two voices 'do ye need anae help?'” 

The two voices belonged to two strangers, Chris and Lee, who approached Srin and offered to push his very heavy power chair to the top of the hill! They got behind Srin’s chair, and together, heaved the chair forward. “The view from the top was stunning,” says Srin. I like to think that this was a point where no wheels had rolled before!” Chris and Lee once again offered their services to Srin when it was time to leave, and helped get Srin down the steepest part of the hill until he could safely and independently maneuver on his own.

Srin’s Edinburgh adventure wasn’t just about the amazing sights of Scotland. It was also about experiencing the compassion of total strangers. “In the grand scheme of things,” shares Srin, “I guess getting to the top of a hill is no big deal. But for me it was a great feeling getting to the top, and it was the kindness of strangers that allowed that to happen.”

Have you had an encounter with total strangers that made your day? We’d love to hear about it. Share it with us, and you might be featured on AbleThrive!

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