It’s that time of the year again, the leaves are turning orange, there’s a crisp cold in the air and the spectacular Enchanted Forest light show is on for its 17th year. The Enchanted Forest takes place in Faskally Wood, Pitlochary, and runs for 5 weeks. With 80,000 people visiting this year, it is a must-see show, nearly selling out instantly every year. Following on from my visit to The Enchanted Forest last year, the organisers looked into my comments from my Euan’s Guide review and spent £6,000 to improve their accessibility. I was thankful that they recognised what I said and was delighted to be invited back again this year to do another review. If you haven’t read my previous blog post on The Enchanted Forest, then you can find it here.
The show this year was titled ‘Of The Wild’ and was centred around the spectacular wildlife and Autumnal feels of the Highlands. Before I comment on the improvements I must say the light shows were amazing, I thought they were definitely better than last year. However, I did miss some features from last year, I was disappointed with the bridge as last year it was beautifully lit up with rainbow lights and was interactive with sounds and water running down the side. Whereas this year it wasn’t really lit up with any colours, just spot lights going along. The accessibility of the bridge had been improved though. After my previous visit I mentioned that the pathway when coming off the bridge was a few inches lower, this meant I needed assistance to bump down as I have no upper body strength. I was really surprised this year though when I went to go off the bridge that I didn’t fall forward. The path way had been raised and resurfaced, this was just one of the improvements.
One of my favourite improvements this year, which might sound a bit strange, was the Mobiloo Changing Place toilet. I’ve spoken about the PAMIS Mobiloo Changing Place toilet on my blog before, which is a portable toilet with a hoist and changing bed that’s all cleverly fitted into a van. It’s a great toilet feature that allows visitors who need additional help to feel included and enjoy themselves without worry about finding a suitable accessible toilet. I am so happy that the organisers listened to my comments and hired the Mobiloo however, I would say it needed to be signposted better. I was told where it was when I first arrived, but it was quite hidden. It was apparent that the volunteers had been trained to make visitors aware of the Changing Place toilet, maybe because it was hidden away from the trail, but I was getting a little annoyed about the amount of people of people that asked me if I needed the toilet. I like to keep those sorts of things more discreet.
There were some sections last year of The Enchanted Forest that I couldn’t get to because there was bark on the ground, and bark does not mix well with the wheels of my chair. The storytelling hut had an accessible entrance this year where the bark had been cleared away from the path. Unfortunately, there was still bark at all the other areas though, but it was a thinner layer. I managed to get over to the gift shop, however I got stuck at the fire pit. I needed to ask another visitor to pull my chair out which I hated because I don’t like that sort of attention on me, after that I was scared to go on the bark after. I felt like I had to though when we got to the interactive light area. When we first got to this area all we saw was bark so we were going to skip it, but when we got to the other side we noticed a tarmacked path. I was really pleased because the last time I didn’t get to do any of the interactive things, however when I got up a little I noticed it suddenly just stopped nowhere near the lights. My friend Rachel went to have a look at the lights whilst I sat on the path, after a minute though I decided to face the bark again because I kind of felt left out. I nearly got stuck but managed to reverse out myself. I understand that it is a woodland area and it’s hard to change the layout, however I’m sure you would be able to lay mats down.
Some other interactive sections weren’t very accessible, like the wooden panels you put your hand on to listen to the forest story. They were at perfect height for children though, so I feel that’s better. The viewing platforms were perfect though, there was an area with a lower down bar for wheelchair users to easily see the light shows. I would definitely recommend you book to go see The Enchanted Forest next year, it is a must-see light show to start off the cold season. Their website does say it isn’t suitable for electric wheelchairs, however I use an electric wheelchair and I find it better than other places I’ve been to. Although you don’t get a free carer ticket, which puts me off paying because I’d have to pay double just for me to go.
Thank you to the organisers for inviting me to their press night to update my Euan’s Guide review.
Video coming 4pm Sunday on my YouTube channel.