WEDNESDAY 9th APRIL 2014. Helix Lagoon visit.

I took the opportunity to visit the Helix on Monday.

 Picture Gallery

The car park is relatively small considering the number of visitors that might be expected. While the football stadium car park is close to the pond I believe that access to it is on a permit basis only. Using this facility would also require carrying/transporting boats across a busy main road.


Due to spinal stenosis I am partially disabled and have difficulty in walking any major distance. I did, however, manage to walk from the Helix car park to the pond. I would not however be able to transport my boats for that distance despite having a simple trolley.


There is the possibility of vehicular access from the entrance along a path to the pond but this is closed off by padlocked bollards for obvious reasons as the park appears intended for pedestrian and perhaps cycle traffic only.


The pond, itself, is certainly deep enough to cope with yachts and appears to be about 6 ft. deep at the paving adjacent to the café. I did not check on the shingle beach area as my back was becoming painful. The ramp at the café is paved down to the perimeter line with stone ballast contained in wire baskets forming an extension further into the pond. It would therefore be simple to launch either from this ramp or possibly the shingle beach.


I would estimate the depth of water at the start of the ballast part of the ramp at approx.. 4 feet.


Since there are obviously access problems for disabled or partially disabled persons such as me(for undertaking boat sailing etc. not as a simple visitor) , I have put some questions to Grant MacKenzie at the community trust. These are mainly to do with the possibility of vehicular access closer to the pond both for disabled persons and also possibly for other club members.  I also queried as to whether possible access would have to be on a pre-booked basis or if it could be ad hoc or on a regular weekly or other basis.


I also asked about insurance requirements if sailing as an individual.


I would seriously consider that other potential users such as canoeists,  etc. may also find the pedestrian only access unsuitable for regular use of the pond. There was a canoe?/enclosed trailer beside the pond at the time of my visit but I think that it probably belonged to the trust as they are running canoeing lessons at the present time.


My interest is due to my living close to Alloa hence the Helix would be ideally placed as a local facility.

I shall keep you apprised of any progress in this matter and relay any responses positive or negative so that  the Federation may gain a better understanding of access, etc.