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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Day of Access Manifesto

The inaugural Day of Access was held on June 16, 2019, at Meall Tairneachan, The Thundering-one Hill, Perthshire.

Four disabled people were given vehicular access to an altitude of 720m., with the support of Forestry and Land Scotland, John Muir Trust Heart of Scotland, and Kynachan Estate.

This manifesto was read aloud at the highest point.



















The Declaration of Meall Tairneachan: Precepts for the Remediation of The Body and The Land

When we think of the need for a disability access we often think only of accommodations of a spatial character – ramps, signage, parking spaces – but we forget the need for accommodation of the varying temporalities of the body…”

Michel Davidson


there can never be an excess of access


you want us to change the gate? – but what would a disabled person do up there?”


the chronically ill are among those most alienated from wild nature


if people could access the landscape equally would there be such a thing as “landscape”?


access should kindle a sense of belonging, even for those who are house-bound


for the chronically ill wild land remains a paradox: exhausting challenge and domain of healing


the issues of wounded nature and human suffering are adjacent


always try to carry a line ahead of you so as to not cross into all the pain that follows


the chronically ill understand a world defined by depleted resources


imagination unlocks the gate in the deer fence


who decides where you can go? Access is defined in culture before it is enshrined in law


like the loss of a limb, the loss of access enhances perceptions


access need not be physical: the imagination engenders
affiliations to places, species, and ecosystems


what will come of introducing vulnerable bodies into vulnerable ecologies?


there are different paths – they don’t all reach the summit


deficiencies in the legs may lead to gains in the eyes


a bed may feel like an immense landscape
a mountain may be hidden with one hand


the meaning of a mountain doesn’t reside in its summit


for some the hill is Medusa turning them to stone


try to be moss for a few hours – lie still like a patch of lichen
or collapse like a recumbent stone


everyone has the right to throw the blanket in


the ill are like fairies – they fold a different measure of time into the hill


from the moment a community considers access for the chronically ill their concept of Nature alters


our purpose: to forge an alliance between human healing and ecological remediation


rewilding, place-awareness and disabled access are acts of imagination


Day of Access is the avant-garde of the place-aware movement


Day of Access gifts a body a story that has become unlikely
returns a mind to the narrative of the wild


Day of Access offers public forestry a new purpose


the new hill tracks benefit neither wildlife nor people with constrained walking: vehicles are no longer only a means to access bloodsport thrills, dams, or minerals


the wheelie’s enemies: stiles & locked gates


those who have campaigned all their lives for equality may be dismayed by talk of vulnerability


as much as law it is kindness and respect that enable access


Day of Access has the audacity to ally need and pleasure


in Day of Access the poorly carry limits with them in their legs, but their eyes are free to wander


The Road of Access leads to The Hut of Place-awareness


photography: Mhairi Law (colour); Sam MacDiarmid (b/w)






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