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Super Duper Fun Day Sunday

There are Sundays.

And then there are Super Sundays.

But the 27th of September was an official Super Duper Fun Sunday.

So what made this date in September a Sunday Super Duper Fun?

The weather? Well, that was fantastic… even go as far as to say I got a bit of a tan!

The location?  A very pretty place in Matlock, Derbyshire – a great place to be.


Fun day Super Sunday was made so super-duper because it was a wonderful event held at Lea Green Outdoor Activity and Education Centre by Accessible Derbyshire for children with disabilities and additional needs where they can try adventurous activities, games and crafts.

Over 400 children attended with their parents and carers and it was wonderful to see so many happy and smiling faces.

One parent said to me that they loved to bring their child to the Super Sunday event as he could have a go on all the activities. She had taken him to a fun park and he couldn’t access hardly any of the rides. At Lea Green the story was totally different – there weren’t enough hours in the day to fit in all the activities. Staff from Lea Green Centre were on hand to enable the children to go abseiling in their wheelchairs, to go high rope walking, to play wheelchair basketball plus many more fun activities.

Andy and I were privileged to attend this event with TerrainHopper who provided the opportunity for all who wished to drive the TerrainHoppers around a course in the woods. From young children to grandparents, all ages of people queued up to have a go in the TerrainHoppers. And they had so much fun. The TerrainHoppers proved to be a very popular activity.  The course took them up steep embankments, over rough terrain and uneven ground.  It was so great to meet so many people and to be able to be part of giving children an experience that they would not forget.

For me the best thing about the day was seeing the faces of the children when they were on the Hoppers. There was lots of laughter and merriment.

This event was made achievable through the fund raising efforts of several people. The day cost around £10,000 to host. A huge amount of work went on behind the scenes to make it such a fantastic day. Our thanks go to Gillian and Jane from Accessible Derbyshire for inviting us to take part in the event and also to Valerie Rogers for her organisation of the day.

Pen-y- Ghent July 2015

Pen-y-Ghent is and will always be a special place for me.

Perhaps because it was the first ever Peak I climbed or because of its sheer size and beauty. Perhaps just because it is in my beloved Yorkshire Dales.


Whatever the reason I was just so excited to be attempting to take the TerrainHopper up to the summit.
A heatwave may have taken hold of the rest England over the past week but somehow the Yorkshire Dales has be overlooked. Today we woke up to heavy rain. The hill tops lay hidden in a blanket of mist.
But weather doesn’t hold us back.

We didn’t know whether we could reach the summit or not but that is – and always will be – part of the adventure in discovering new tracks and routes.  As Sam Dantzie, designer of the TerrainHopper has said, the machine isn’t invincible and there will be times when the going defeats it.  It’s the law of physics.  Or chemistry.  Or something or other.  But another huge part of the TerrainHopper philosophy, which I love, is to get out there and have an adventure.  Don’t simply stick to sanitised routes that offer little in the way of challenge.  Get out there and challenge both the machine and yourself.  Get out there and live!

The bridleway from Horton-in- Ribblesdale is relatively new.  To be honest, when Jonathan of Where2Walk was explaining this to me, I wasn’t really listening.  Not out of any form of rudeness.  More out of an excitement that was building.  My mind was, I have to say, elsewhere.

This was going to be the first attempt at reaching the summit in a TerrainHopper.  It was great that for today’s adventure Andy and I were joined not just by Jonathan, but also by Rachel Briggs, the  Accessibility Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Mist.  Not mist the cloudy stuff that swirls everywhere (although there was a more than fleeting appearance made by said swirly stuff), but Mist, Jonathan’s uber cute sheepdog.
Jonathan helped plan our Coast to Coast walk and walked five of the days with us and has a pretty good idea of the capabilities of the TerrainHopper.  However, today Rachel was able to experience the full potential of the TerrainHopper and experience how it is able to access areas of the countryside which would otherwise be inaccessible for people with poor mobility.

We  knew that the TerrainHopper could cope with the rough ground and the Three peaks ranger thought that we would have to pick out or path around protruding rocks and boulders but we were unsure of the obstacles that lay ahead. For the first section, the gentle climb from Horton, the TerrainHopper was in 2-wheel drive. It was only when the path got steeper and the track rougher, we put Harriet into 4-wheel drive.  The steep gradient and drainage channels were eaten up easily.

As the rain began to ease and the curtain of mist opened up putting the head of Pen-y- ghent in centre stage, my heart began pounding and the beats in my chest hammered out at the panoramic wow factor views. Tears welled up in my eyes: it’s ten years since I climbed up Pen-y-Ghent (Penny, as I call her.  I won’t say what called her!) and I never believed that I would ever do this again. But here I was on my mountain.

The newer track eventually gave way to a much rougher and rockier section.  This was going to be the whole crux of the journey.  The track was shrouded in mist and covered in bumps and bone-juddering rocks.  But we were all determined.  As the wind whipped the rain into our faces, we were making good progress.  Andy’s learnt not to scream now when a wheel of the TerrainHopper rears into the air as it tackles the rockier sections, but Jonathan still needed to lend him a sock to stuff in his mouth on this section.

Just when it looked as though victory was ours, we encountered an outcrop of rock in the path that was about eighteen inches high, vertical, wet and perfectly smooth.  I adopted ramming speed, gritted my teeth and slammed into it.  But there was no way the TerrainHopper was going to grip and climb it.  To the right of this ledge (I won’t tell you what Andy called it!) was a passable section of track, but it was still very rocky and incredibly narrow.  Though keen for adventure, safety comes first and the drop to the side was just too dangerous to even think of skirting around the edge.

Andy and Jonathan took the executive decision to call this the end of the adventure for the day.  Looking on the map, I reckon we at about 630m.  Frustratingly close to the summit.

Am I disappointed that we didn’t reach the summit?

I would be lying if  I said I wasn’t but as the gang at  The Calvert Trust would say, “ It’s what you can do that counts.”
Today I climbed to 630m in the Yorkshire Dales.  Every single metre I gained in height was a metre higher than I’d dared even dream about about just 18 short months ago.  On the descent, the whole adventure was likened to the first leg of a European football match.  The final score?

Pen-y-Ghent 2 v 1 TerrainHopper

But, importantly, TerrainHopper scored a vital away goal.

And some time soon, in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger: I’ll be back.

The mist was low on Pen-Y-Ghent

The mist was low on Pen-Y-Ghent

The Castleton Garland Festival


We spent a lovely time in Castleton during the last week in May. We stayed at the Loosehill YHA which was fabulous for meeting my needs (see blog on disabled friendly accommodation.)
On our last night we were treated to the Garland Festival. It is years since. I have seen. Maypole dancing. The atmosphere was great, with the local band leading the procession.
I wanted to find out more about this ancient tradition.

Oak Apple Day is a special day in the Castleton calendar.

It used to be a national holiday celebrated in England every year on 29th May.

It was a commemoration of the restoration of the monarchy in Great Britain and Ireland, which occurred in May 1660. Charles II entered London, on his birthday, and was returned to the throne. It was also a custom to wear oak leaves which made reference to the occasion of the battle of Worchester in September 1651, when the future Charles ll of England escaped the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree.

The origins of the Castleton Festival are a little sketchy. The first reference of it was made to it in the Churchwardens’ Accounts for 1749.

it may have been for the celebration of Charles ll or a festival celebrating the Druid Winter Solstice, or a celebration of the ‘Green Man’- a figure which represents crops and all living things.

The Oak Apple Day holiday was formally abolished in 1859, however, the Garland Festival continued to be a tradition in Castleton on the 29th May each year.

Until 1897 the Garland Festival was organised by the bell ringers who toured the village with garlands and performed a Morris dance.

In 1897 the bell ringers abolished their dancing and it was taken over by the girls of the village.

It was only in 1955 that the role of the ‘lady’ was taken over by a woman!

On this day each year a huge garland of wildflowers is created by the woman, though the men make the top of the garland. It takes most of the day to make the garland and then the procession takes place early evening.

‘Garland King and his Lady’ parade around the village on horseback wearing 17th century dress. They lead a procession through the village of Castleton, stopping at each pub, where the King and his Lady and attendants are offered a drink of ale, whilst the Girls entertain the crowds with their dancing.

The King wears the Garland throughout the festival. The Garland is approximately 3 ft high and is made from a wooden frame, wound with string to which petite bunches of wild flowers and leaves are attached. A further tiny wreath, called the ‘Queen’, is made from choice garden flowers and is put on the top. The complete Garland weighs roughly 56 pounds and is ceremoniously hurled onto the shoulders of the individual playing the King for the day at the beginning of the ceremony, covering him from the waist up.

Girls dance and everyone officially welcomes in the summer, as Oak Apple Day also celebrates the pagan rite for the symbolic ending of winter.

After the Garland has been paraded though the streets the procession finishes in the village market place, where the King and His Lady ride into the church yard. The garland is hoisted up to the top of Saint Edmund’s Church tower and is placed on one of the pinnacles for several days.

Maypole dancing then takes place in the market square.

The last time I was involved in Maypole dancing was at school, and I had to sit in the middle to hold down the base of the pole because I was the heaviest kid in the class!

The King  is ready to have the garland placed over the top of him

The King is ready to have the garland placed over the top of him

The garland is in place,and the King puts his glasses on!

The garland is in place,and the King puts his glasses on!

Axe Edge Moor and Three Shire Heads Guided Walk

Beautiful countryside. Have a great weekend

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The day the Tramper was finally at home at Malham Tarn

Andy and I had a most fantastic time in the Dales last week.

The reason for our visit was to attend the launch of the Tramper at Malham Tarn.


The Tramper is now owned by the National Trust and is available for hire from the National Trust office at the Tarn for only £5 per day.


For Both Andy and I there is something magical as well as homely and beautiful about the Dales.


We travelled up the day before the launch and had a leisurely drive through the Dales.


As soon as we turned off the A1 and made our way through Ripon, Leyburn and Bainbridge, the Dales begin to open up in front of our very eyes.

The tissues were out – the tears had started.


The hills, the limestone dry stone walls, the barns and the lambs just tell you that you have arrived at “Gods Own Country”

Malham Tarn

Malham Tarn

My mom, bless her, had some sort of fascination with dry stone walls.

She never stopped talking about dry stone walls.

Wherever we went in the Dales she would jabber on about dry stone walls.

One of the most embarrassing moment of a trip to the  Dales one time  was when mom asked a farmer, who was mending a gap in a wall, how he managed to disguise the cement on both sides of the wall , so that the stones looked like they were just piled up on top of each other!

She was so obsessed about dry stone walls we though of buying her a day’s course on dry stone wall building, but thought it a bit cruel for her 73rd birthday. So we booked her a helicopter flight instead.

Making the dales the Dales

Making the dales the Dales



The wonders of the Dry stone wall

The wonders of the Dry stone wall










In the evening we had arranged to meet up with some friends who had travelled up from Sheffield for the launch in the Lion Inn in Settle.

The number of times we have finished off  a day’s walk with a pint of bitter shandy in what was then The Golden Lion.

The pub has since changed hands and name. The interior was quite different.

Whilst waiting for them to arrive I interrogated the poor young barman the refurbishment and especially about what had happened to the Unicorn tapestry that hung on the back wall, near to the open fire. I’d read a historical novel, the name of which I can not remember, which was about the tapestry in question. He kept saying he didn’t know- he’d only worked there for a few months and the alterations had already been made. That didn’t stop me from asking even more questions about the other pictures and objects that I had noticed were no longer on display. 

Poor lad, I think he was pleased when I finally our friends arrived and I left him alone.

After having something to eat and an exchange of gossip with our friends we left them to enjoy the rest of the evening and we made our way back to the Craven Arms where we were staying.

It was early to bed as we had an exciting day to look forward too.

I woke early the next morning and looked out through the curtains to see  thick fog.

Andy asked how I was feeling.

Have you ever been so excited about something that your stomach does forty two cartwheels a minute?

 When your heart rate feels like it is beating faster than Roy Castle’s record breaking  fastest tap-dance of 1,440 taps per minute which averages 24 taps per second ( a record set on 14 January 1973 but  was beaten in 2011 by Anthony Morigerato Who tapped 1,163 in one minute; a little bit of pointless trivia for you)?

Well that’s how I felt as I tried to eat breakfast.

As we  drove into Malham the sun burnt through. It was going to be a bright sun shiny day – good words for lyrics for a song I think.

The first time I saw the tramper it was on the back on the trailer. The trailer was ready to be on the move as BBC Look North film team wanted  the tarn  as a back drop for their report on the Tramper. We were told to follow on.

It wasn’t until the tramper was off the trailer that I got to see it in its full glory, with the accessthedales logo on the front the chair. A few tears of joy were shed.

The tramper was reversed off the trailer and I was told to ‘get going’. Unfortunately I had forgotten that the Tramper was set to go backwards and headed straight down a pot hot. Six other people took a sharp intake of breath.  There was a freeze frame moment of shear panic.

I called out ‘It’s ok, I’m in control’ ( thought I did panic for a moment but like a true professional I kept smiling). Once I found the forward button the Tramper climbed easily out of the hole.

The onlookers began to breath again!

Watch out!  Debs is about.

Watch out! Debs is about.

Despite that first hiccup the Tramper glided over the rough terrain.

Andy strolled on besides me whilst Jenny( the camera wizard) kept running ahead of us to capture the moment when I first reached places that without the use of the tramper would otherwise be inaccessible. Poor Jenny- the camera was really heavy and it was a really warm day for running around with a camera on her shoulder.

Sally made the interview so relaxing. I was dreading the interview. I get so tongue tied and all ways use wrong words or even make up words.

Sally Young and Jenny from BBC Look North

Sally Young and Jenny from BBC Look North

When we got back to the National Trust office for the official launch of the tramper, I was surprised to see so many people there. It was lovely to see my friends who had come up especially for the day, but also to meet people who I only know from the twitter family who I have built up a relationship with over time,  this included Nicola and Roy other wheelchair users.


David, the regional link for the Tramper company bought another tramper along so Roy was able to use it. He too was every impressed.


Lovely speeches were made from different  people, for which the tissues were needed.

After tea and cake, we set off around the tarn – approx four and half miles.


That was it – I was out in the Dales,soaking up the scenery, the sunshine and the atmosphere of the Yorkshire Dales. I was like a dog with a bone; the cat that got the cream; the blonde that got her tramper! Words just can not express the emotion of the day. I was on a high all day, but this time I can National Trust blame the morphine for it.


The interview was aired on Look North – Yorkshire, at 6.30pm Friday. Since then so many people have been in touch to send their congratulations. My five minutes of fame


In the press release I wasn’t allowed to thank Emmeline from the National Trust or  Rachel from the Access Development team for all their support thoughout my campaign to raise the £7,000 needed to buy the Tramper, but as this is my blog, I can do as I want:

so thank you Emmeline and thank you Rachel for your continued support throughout my campaign and fund raising.


The. Tramper is now available to hire out by anyone for just £5 per day. You out will be given routes to follow and instructions on how to use the tramper, so that you don’t go down a pot hole!


Emmeline Butler

Business Support Senior Co-ordinator

National Trust

Yorkshire Dales

01729 830416


Now start planning my next fund raiser- to buy a Terrain Hopper for the Calvert Kieder Trust.

For that I am doing the Coast to Coast off road in a Hopper.

Will keep you posted.


A delight to be out in the Dales

A delight to be out in the Dales

tramer launch 459 tramer launch 233 tramer launch 338 tramer launch 374 tramer launch 417 tramer launch 375 tramer launch 394




Launch of the Tramper

I am pleased to be able to invite my friends to the launch of the new tramper which will be homed at Malham Tarn. I hope that you will be able to join me.


Walking your way to good health

The Great outdoors should be available to everyone, this is why I am trying to raise money to by all terrain wheelchairs for use in various locations around the country. Now the money has been raised for tramper for Malham Tarn, I am beginning to investigate the possibilities of finding funds to buy a terrain hopper for use in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Even if your mobility is poor getting outside into the countryside promotes good health

Visit Peak District & Derbyshire

We all know that taking more exercise would be good for our health but can sometimes find it difficult to get started – especially if it’s a been a while since the last time or if you’re recovering from illness.

And that’s where High Peak Walking for Health’s new walks in Buxton and New Mills can help.

Walking is one of the easiest steps individuals can take to achieve the recommended 30 minutes exercise five times a week and the introduction of these new guided walks, supported by High Peak Borough Council, means there’s never been a better time to get started.

The Buxton Health Walks take place every Wednesday at midday from Buxton Leisure Centre and every Friday at 9.30am from New Bodies gym in Fairfield and the New Mills walk happens every Monday at midday from Ventura Court.

The programme has been awarded accreditation by ‘Walking the…

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Sunnybeck Cottage

It’s great to hear from people who won one of the fabulous prizes in the raffle which was held at Country Harvest,Ingleton in aid of accessthedales.
Carol, from Sunnybeck Cottages emailed me this morning to let me know that
Mr Somerfield and his family, who won a weekend stay at Sunnybeck Cottages, had been for the weekend.
They had a wonderful time and adored the cottage.
Mr Somerfield, who does a very good impression of  Arnold Schwarzenegger, wrote in the visitors book  “I’ll be back”
Thank you Carol once again for donating the prize and thank you to the Sommerfield family for supporting accessthedales.

I’m Back!

I apologise.

If I was an American, I would apologize.

But I’m not.

So I won’t.

The reason I’m apologising?

I haven’t updated the blog site for a very long time.  You may have noticed.

But I have good reason – 3 months in hospital and major surgery on my spine.  I’m not going to talk about that in this particular blog though because that will sort of take your focus off this bit:

ACCESSTHEDALES has successfully raised all the money for the tramper!

A couple of days after I came out of hospital, I received a call to say the the grant application to the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust Fund had been approved. With this money and the money raised through the Just Giving site and the fund raising event at Country Harvest, the target has been reached to buy a tramper for the Yorkshire Dales. 

A heartfelt thank you to EVERYBODY who has supported this venture. 

I’ve been told to rest by my consultant, the occupational therapist and my husband.

But I just wonder if I can raise money for a Terrain Hopper for the Lincolnshire Wolds?