Debbie lives on a sheep farm in Cumbria with her husband Andy.
She trained as a teacher in Leeds, a career path that she followed for 30 years before spinal degeneration forced her into ill-health retirement.
Debbie's love of fell walking blossomed when she met Andy, a keen hillwalker himself. But in 2008, she was diagnosed with spinal degeneration and was no longer able to walk the hills she loves so much. Andy refused to go exploring without his walking partner because it didn’t feel right. After a spell of feeling sorry for themselves, Debbie and Andy teamed up with TerrainHopper, makers of a 4x4 all-terrain wheelchair, so they could get out into the countryside again. With their hiking boots on and TerrainHopper charged and ready to go, they travelled coast to coast across the North of England, in the spirit of Wainwright.
Debbie works with The Outdoor Guide (TOG) with Julia Bradbury – a free online resource which was co-founded by the TV presenter together with her sister Gina. Debbie runs AccessTOG – the wheelchair friendly section of this website, which is dedicated to promoting a countryside for all. There are over 100 barrier free walks on the website, many of which have been filmed so that people can watch the video and make an informed decision as to the suitability of their own wheelchair for the walk.
Debbie often get asked how people can improve their accessibility, from community groups to organisations, individuals and businesses – She is here to help!
The very fact that you are asking the question is a step in the right direction. Debbie can help you make small changes that would have such a positive impact on the experience of your users, colleagues, customers or friends!
From workshops on auditing of accessible stile free routes to Accessibility Awareness presentations. Debbie can tailor her level of input to your individual requirements, meaning that no question is too big or too small.
Debbie is a keynote speaker and is available for after dinner speaking and conventions. Recent engagements have included Naidex Show (NEC Birmingham) Camping and Motorhome Show (Nec Birmingham) U3A (online) Farm, Business and Innovation Show (Nec Birmingham) Walkers Are Welcome Conference (Norfolk) Regional WI Conference (Cumbria)
Possible Talk Titles
Coast to Coasting in a Wheelchair called Harriet
In 2015 Debbie and her husband Andy set off on a 170 mile trek across the UK travelling from St Bees on the West Coast to Robin’s Hood Bay on the East Coast of Yorkshire. What was different about this long distance trek was that Debbie used an all- terrain wheelchair. Debbie doesn’t let her disability get in the way of adventure and if she’s not at home then she will be most likely up a mountain in her wheelchair called Harriet.
Making the Inaccessible Accessible
Debbie is passionate about creating a countryside for all. In her bid to make the inaccessible accessible, Debbie gives a light hearted insight to the ups and downs of wheelchair life as she seeks out stile free routes in the UK.
Access The Outdoor Guide
With over 100 stile free walks on the website, Access The Outdoor Guide ( AcessTOG) is a UK destination website dedicated to enjoying the outdoors. Co-founded by television personality Julia Bradbury, AccessTOG shows people how to find the best stile free walks the UK has to offer, along with recommendations for great local places to eat, drink and sleep. Debbie shares with you some of her walks and her wealth of knowledge of accessing a stile free countryside
Barrier Free Germany
Magnificent mountain views, breathtaking National Parks, stunning castles and amazing cities – Germany has so much to offer to a person with poor or no mobility. Barrier Free Germany is a place to be explored. Debbie has a wealth of experience of travelling in around this amazing country in a wheelchair and can share with you her knowledge and experience of barrier free Germany.
Debbie has co-written her first book with husband Andy. ‘In the Spirit of Wainwright’ describes the journey that the pair of adventurers undertook on their epic trip to complete Alfred Wainwright’s coast to coast.
Debbie is a freelance writer and has produced articles for newspaper, magazine and online publications, including The Telegraph, Trail Magazine, Coast Magazine, The Dalesman, Cumbria Life and Berghaus.
Debbie loves to be in front of camera. She travels around the UK with The Outdoor Guide, filming accessible walks on online promotion.
Debbie has also appeared in several TV programmes including Yorkshire Dales and lakes, Best Walks with a View with Julia Bradbury and A Year in the Life of a Mountain- Helvellyn.
Get in touch with your questions and Debbie will endeavour to assist you whether as a presenter, consultant, writer or motivational speaker.