Challenge to make the countryside accessible for all

A couple from Yorkshire are taking on a hill climbing challenge as part of their mission to make the countryside accessible for all.

Debbie North and husband Andy were keen hill walkers before ill health meant Debbie had to start using a wheelchair. Since then the pair have set up Accessthedales to promote accessibility in the countryside. They are also pioneering new routes which are suitable for all-terrain wheelchair users.

Last April, Debbie and Andy completed their version of the Coast to Coast from St Bees on the west coast to Robin Hood's Bay on the East Coast. The route, which was mainly on bridleways and small country roads, took two weeks to complete.

Their book, 'In The Spirit of Wainwright' is a guide to the route which they took and will be available in July 2016.

Debbie commented: "We have some wonderful countryside in the UK but it can be very difficult for people living with disabilities to enjoy it in its full glory. Through Accessthedales we are aiming to open up new routes and increase accessibility for all."

Their latest long distance trek 'The Coast To Coast To Coast' is a newly devised 81 mile route that will take seven days to complete. It starts on the shores of Semerwater, North Yorkshire before passing into Ullswater and ending on the shores of Lake Bassenwaite in Cumbria.

The group is raising money for the Calvert Trust Kielder. Last year Accessthedales raised £5,300 towards the cost of buying a TerrainHopper for the Trust and this year they are hoping to raise the rest of the money needed to secure the purchase.