A WHEELCHAIR user is helping create a countryside for all by, in her own words, 'making the inaccessible, accessible'.

Debbie North is passionate to get the message out that the Lakeland countryside is not as insurmountable as it seems and there is a way for wheelchair users to enjoy the glittering outdoors as much as anyone else.

She has continued to explore some of Cumbria’s greatest peaks, and among her favourite trails are: Skiddaw, Blencathra and Latrigg, recently going on an expedition up Fleetwood Pike and exploring some of the beauty that Eden Valley has to offer.

Debbie became a wheelchair user back in 2010 due to a chronic degenerative spinal condition and what seemed like the end of her favourite pass-time - walking, quickly became an exciting opportunity to persevere, trial and test out cutting-edge technology, whilst inspiring other people with similar conditions.

She had forged a friendship with the company that had invented the all-terrain wheelchair and in 2015 set off for the coast-to-coast. She, said: “At this point nobody had thought to use the terrain hopper for such extremes. They developed it mainly for the snow or the beach. But I was determined to push the boundaries of accessibility.”

Debbie explained she likens her many wheelchairs to different shoes for they suit her with certain tasks. The terrain hopper is her “four seasons hiking boots.”

When discussing whether the terrain hopper is difficult to operate Debbie, said: “Since I’ve been using it, my confidence has increased, I’m no longer unsure about turning it and how to approach rough terrain. But it is fairly easy now.”

Debbie who lives near to Kirkby Stephen continues to be keen to promote the use of all-terrain wheelchairs and the many routes that are available in the Lakes, which new users may not know are suitable for wheelchair access. She works with The Outdoor Guide, a free online resource dedicated to enjoying the outdoors, to showcase what routes she has successfully done and others can do.

Debbie, explained: “It is possible to get out into the countryside. The more we shout about it, the more the countryside will open up for wheelchair users. We have so many walks in Cumbria and the UK, and they are accessible.”

Be on the look out for Debbie on your next walk. She concluded:

“Get out there and enjoy the fresh air, it’s really good for the mind, body and spirit.”