Trust brings in segways to attract more visitors

Tom Ash, left, and Tim Chadwick demonstrate the Newhailes segways
Tom Ash, left, and Tim Chadwick demonstrate the Newhailes segways
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MOST tours involve strolling around an area or attraction at a leisurely pace with a guide leading the way.

But visitors to a Lothians heritage site have, for the first time, been given a chance to explore their surroundings in an entirely different way – while riding a segway.

Dozens of people were taking part in “segway tours” at Newhailes in East Lothian over the weekend, with participants following an instructor around a designated route before being given some time to enjoy the battery-operated segways at their own pace.

The move is part of a wider push by the National Trust for Scotland to attract more visitors and try out different activities at its property in 
Musselburgh.

A spokeswoman for the National Trust for Scotland said: “The house at Newhailes is well known for its exquisite interiors.

“The land surrounding the house is also a heritage treasure, and these tours will give people a chance to experience it in a totally new way. We want to encourage more people to get involved, explore and support the heritage that’s on their doorstep. This is a gentle alternative to having a stroll round the grounds.

“We think Newhailes is the first heritage site in Scotland to take part in tours like this, although it’s hard to be 100 per cent certain.”

The one-hour tours are being run by Rotherham-based Segway Events, with more planned for another two weekends later this year.

Managing director of Segway Events, John Snape, said he hopes to make the segway tours, or “rallies” as he called them, a permanent feature at Newhailes and plans to expand the rally area, which is currently around a quarter of a mile long and allows the segway riders to explore Lodge Park at the estate.

Mr Snape said: “I want to create a longer route around Newhailes eventually. 
This is a tester event to see how it goes. Eventually I want to have a full course up there.

“It is a family activity and something completely different. It’s the newest thing on the market and everyone should have a go.

“It is a great experience and there’s nothing else like it.”

Participants will be provided with safety gear – a helmet, wrist guards and knee protectors – before receiving five to ten minutes of one-to-one training from an instructor and then completing around half a dozen laps of the semi-circular route, which takes in some of the woodland walk areas surrounding the 17th-century house.

Following the hourly sessions, which cost £39, National Trust for Scotland staff will be on hand to explain more about the site and encourage the participants to view the house.

There will be eight segways available, which can reach speeds of up to 13mph.

Segway tours will also take place at Newhailes from August 11 to 13, and September 1 to 3.

Participants must be over ten years of age, at least 134cm tall and weigh a minimum of 7.1 stone.

Places are still available – to book, visit {http://|www.segwayevents.co.uk | www.segwayevents.co.uk www.segwayevents.co.uk}.

A wheely good invention

SEGWAYS are two-wheeled electric vehicles designed to travel conveniently in towns and cities.

The motorised scooter uses gyroscopes to remain upright and is controlled by the direction in which the rider leans.

Riders lean backwards, forwards and to the left and right using a thin handlebar attached to a pole.

The self-balancing device was designed by Dean Kamen, an American entrepreneur and inventor, and was unveiled in 2001 before being mass produced in 2002.