Beach scenes: Barry Island and the beach wheelchair

I don’t recall the last time I walked on a beach. It’s been years, then some more years still. To be fair, we either lived in Oxfordshire or South Yorkshire, which are no where near the beach. But mainly it was because these days ME means that I’m a bit too unsteady my feet, and walking in sand is rather hard work when you have little energy. Making beaches an accessibility nightmare.

Then I found out that beach wheelchairs exist. And more, that they had them at Barry Island, which is only 15 minutes away from us! So I booked one via the Vale of Glamorgan council (it’s free), and last Wednesday we went to the beach, along with our friend Manishta, who is currently staying with us.


Three people, two white, one a person of colour. One white person sitting in a beach wheelchair, the other two people above and behind. Everyone is smiling and happy. To the left you can see the sandy beach and the edge of the water.
Kevin, Manishta, and yours truly in the chair, ON THE BEACH.
And overview of the beach looking from the sand out to the sea. You can see Steepholm Island in the distance.
Barry Island beach.
Two white people on wet sand. One is standing and pushing the other in the beach wheelchair.
Kevin pushing myself in the beach wheelchair. As you can see, it has very big (and light) wheels that easily get over the sand.

Yes, we all were a bit silly. It was SUCH FUN.

A person of colour standing on wet sand with their arms out and a big smile.
Two white people in the water, one in the beach wheelchair and the other behind and pushing. Each has one raised arm and they are grinning, happy and being silly. Around them stretches the water with white clouds and hints of blue sky.
A white persons feet in the sea water whilst they sit on the beach wheelchair.
I got to dip my feet in the water from the safety of the chair. It was bliss.
Seagull feet. They are a golden yellow, with black claw nails at each tip, and they are standing on the sand.
The feet of a large pterodactyl seagull.
A person of colour with xe's arm around a white person, standing at the beach, just near the edge of the water. Both are smiling.
Two white people standing just inside the water line, one slightly behind and hugging the one in front. Both are smiling and are happy.
A short walk in the water, Kevin holding me up.

Honestly, it was just wonderful. I had this moment when I felt like I ‘normal person’ for a little while. I got to feel the waves and walk on the sand, both of which ME usually keeps beyond me. It was a revelation, and I wish every sandy beach had beach wheelchairs for disabled people.

Apparently there was supposed to be 3 of the chairs at Barry Island, but only one was working (even then, with a fault). I really hope the council repair them all and keep them going, as I’d love other disabled people to get to have the same fun at the beach. I deeply wish that one of these could be made available at every sandy beach; it makes such a difference for disabled people.

Since our visit I’ve been pretty shattered, with the usual ME payback (aka PEM) hitting me. But wow, I went to the beach! It was totes worth it.

A view of one section of the beach looking towards a headland outlook. The sky is overcast, but the sun has just peaked through and it's making the water sparkle. There are random people dotted about in the water.

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