You might have to do things differently as a blind or partially sighted person, but it certainly shouldn’t stop you from getting out and about.
Colin Antwis lives in North Wales. He runs Fieldsman Trails, a company that produces tactile and audio maps, and is a keen rambler.
“For over 20 years, I have wanted to record the sounds of the countryside for blind and partially sighted people. As a walker and as someone who loves maps, I was keen to take some of my friends out to show them the countryside. Walking with blind and partially sighted people, I have seen so much more by stopping, touching, feeling and smelling items along the way.
I understand some people are apprehensive about going into the great outdoors. But you don’t have to go up a mountain or into river valleys. Just go to your local park or back garden. Get out there, feel the stems and the new buds, and listen to the birds singing. No need ‘to do a Bear Grylls’ – just be yourself and be confident.”
Hazel McFarlane, pictured right, is from Ayrshire and enjoys doing more challenging activities to keep fit.
“I really enjoy running – I love doing ‘ultras’, which are any mileage over 26 miles. I’ve done some 33-56 mile ultras, marathons and half-marathons. I’ve got no sight at all, so four guide runners from my local running club run with me. I also walk and hike with friends.
Another activity that’s great for blind and partially sighted people is coastal rowing. I row in a five-person skiff. You just listen to the rhythm of the oars, get into it and you’re off.
When I cycle I’ve always got a pilot who goes on the front of my bike, while I ride a custom-made tandem at the back. I love to swim too. Doing the crawl stroke, I use my pinky and my toe to find the rope marker.
I think sometimes people are intimidated about joining their local running clubs, but they often have options for new runners. I have also taken part in Parkrun, and they’re fantastic. It’s a lovely, inclusive atmosphere.”
Steve Beveers from Merseyside is a keen blind golfer.
“The only difference between blind and sighted golf is that we have a sighted guide with us all the time. They can do lots for the golfer, depending on their level of vision. For a totally blind golfer, they will be guided to the ball to make sure they’re pointing in the right direction and given advice on which club to use.
Once the player is set up, then it’s down to the golfer to hit the ball. The sighted guide will give a description of the contact that’s been made and where the ball has gone.
Blind golf gives me the opportunity to play with and against other sportsmen and women, both in this country, in a regular match against Scotland, and in tournaments around the world.”
Find out more
For more information about sports for people with sight loss, visit British Blind Sport or call 01926 424247.
British Blind Sport help blind and partially sighted people to get active and play sports. The charity encourages adults and children to participate in activities at all levels, from grassroots to the Paralympic Games.
Want to join our Community? Sign up to RNIB Connect