I'm Debbie North. In 2008 I was diagnosed with spinal degeneration.
Whilst struggling to overcome the battles of failing health, I was forced to take early retirement from a job I loved - headteacher in a Primary school - and lost the ability to go hillwalking, my favourite pasttime. I have spent far too much time in hospital as a result of my condition, contracting pneumonia twice and being hit with health problems all linked to a degenerative spine.
I set up accessthedales in 2011 to raise awareness of accessibility in the countryside and to fundraise so people with disabilities can get into the hills, the dales and the mountains. I figured if I was missing the hills there must be others in the same position.
I have already raised the funds for an all-terrain wheelchair, a Tramper, which is housed with the National Trust at Malham in North Yorkshire.
I've also raised £6000+ for the Calvert Trust Kielder by trekking coast to coast, from St Bees on the west coast of England to Robin Hood's Bay on the east coast, a journey of 170 miles. The trek received extensive media coverage and the whole accessthedales project has caused much interest.
We have a book covering this adventure due in July 2016 from Sigma Press called In The Spirit Of Wainwright.
Earlier this year, I became the "wheel-friendly guru" for 'The Outdoor Guide with Julia Bradbury.' It's a role I'm very excited about and one that will help to continue getting the message out there to people with disabilities that the hills, dales and mountains are accessible for them.
Why am I crowdfunding?
I'm crowdfunding to help fund a long distance trek we are doing in April 2016, starting from Semerwater in Wensleydale through to Bassenthwaite in the Lake District. It is called the Coast To Coast To Coast. We have a team of 4 making the trek and a driver of a back up vehicle, which is needed for transporting our TerrainHopper between the route and accessible accommodation.
Our aim is to raise at least £6000 for the Calvert Trust Kielder enabling them to buy a TerrainHopper and at least the same amount for the Cumbria Community Foundation Flood Appeal. That is why being able to cover our costs in making the trip is so important. Every penny we can save in expenses is a penny that will go to our good causes.
(the logo was kindly gifted to us by NCR.)
Coast To Coast To Coast
The Coast To Coast To Coast is a route we have devised. It is a journey of 81 miles over seven days and is designed to be accessible for people with disabilities using an all-terrain wheelchair. We start at Semerwater in Wensleydale and head to Ullswater in the Lake District before finishing on the northern shores of Bassenthwaite, also in the Lake District.
In 2017, the companion book for this trek, Coast To Coast To Coast, will be released by Sigma Press.
What will your money be spent on?
Your money will be spent on accommodation for our team of 5 (four making the trek and our back up vehicle driver)...
Thanks to the wonderful support of the people at Irton House Farm in Bassenthwaite and the Best Western at Shap Wells we already have some of our accommodation covered. TerrainHopper are sponsoring us through the loan of an Overlander 4Z.
What if we raise more than our target?
Any funds raised above and beyond our target will go directly to our good causes, the Calvert Trust Kielder and the Cumbria Community Foundation Flood Appeal.
When we reach £500...
We'll post a video introducing the accessthedales team for this trek. They're a handsome bunch and you're in for a rare treat :o)
When we reach £1000...
We'll post a video detailing the progress we've made in preparations for the trip, giving an insight into the logistics of such an adventure.
When we reach £1500...
We'll post a mini-movie trailer about the journey, injected with that special accessthedales' humour :o)
Here's some of our rewards...