Deborah North profile picture

Deborah North

Inclusion and Diversity Expert for Access The Outdoor Guide

Debbie North, is passionate about the outdoors and encourages others to get outdoors and experience the benefits of being in wide open spaces. 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.

As Inclusion and Diversity Expert for AccessTOG, Debbie shares the ups and downs of what it is like to access the countryside as a wheelchair user. She uses a range of wheelchairs to develop and promote stile free walks all around the UK. AccessTOG works closely with the National Parks and charities such as the National Trust. Debbie is a keynote speaker and her recent talks have included Naidex and Motorhome and Caravanning Show. (NEC 2019/2020)

The Outdoor Guide was commissioned by Germany Tourism to film and promote barrier free Germany and she has travelled to many different regions, filming both countryside walks and town walks. Debbie has fallen in love with Germany and has been back to revisit places that she has been to and also to explore new regions of this stunning country. Debbie was due to talk at the IBT show in Berlin in March 2020, which was unfortunately postponed due to Covid.

Debbie lives on a sheep farm in Cumbria, UK with her husband Andy. Before her illness she was headteacher at a Primary School. Debbie and Andy were keen hillwalkers and loved completing long distance walks. Debbie hasn’t let her disability stop her from accessing the countryside. In fact in 2015 Andy and Debbie completed the Coast to Coast – a very famous and popular walk created by walker Alfred Wainwright. This long distance walk took two weeks to complete. The 175miles trail starts is St Bees, Cumbria and passes through the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales before finishing in Robin Hoods Bay in North Yorkshire. Her most popular keynote talk is called “Coast to Coasting in a Wheelchair called Harriet” – a light hearted insight into her C2C experience. She has had a book published which she co -wrote with Andy, “In the Spirit of Wainwright” – in which she shares the route that she and Andy took across country. Debbie now enjoys sharing her adventures with visitors to the TOG website.

As an Ordnance Survey champion Debbie is keen to encourage people whatever their ability to #getoutside and she believes passionately about Making the Inaccessible Accessible.

If Debbie is not at home- you will find her up a mountain!

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