We’re blessed here in the UK for having some of the best and most beautiful landscape, however I truly believe the Yorkshire Dales holds something extra special. Now you might think I’m biased, being a Yorkshire girl (actually I’m half Lancashire so I’m more of a ‘pink rose’ kinda gal!), but whether I’m biased or not, the Yorkshire Dales hold some wonderful memories for me.
When I was asked if I would like to be a trustee for Access The Dales, I didn’t need to give it a second thought; being part of something which endeavours to make the countryside accessible for all is something I definitely need and want to be a part of. The outdoors for me represents freedom, freedom from noise, from expectation, from time limits and schedules. It might sound a little odd, a deaf person needing freedom from noise, but when I’m out in the hills the pressure is taken away - I don’t need to listen, I don’t need to communicate, I can just be. I take my hearing aids out and the sense of relief is enormous, I don’t need to be anybody; when I’m standing on top of a mountain, I feel insignificant, yet I feel safe and secure, like the vast landscape is wrapping its arms around me. Why would I not want everybody, regardless of age, ability or situation, to have the opportunity to experience such joy?
If you’re reading this you will already know the reasons behind the charity being set up, the how and why and the driving passion behind it. Andy’s passion for walking was contagious, and whenever we were out walking together as a family, Andy always took the time to point out the mountains and landmarks around us, he knew nearly every single one by name. I’m not the quickest of walkers, but Andy would keep me company at the back, never pushing me to go any faster, but offering gentle encouragement, masked of course by familiar banter and witty gibes.
I cherish the memories of adventures with Andy and Debs and I’m blessed to have had those opportunities, there never being a barrier too difficult for them to encourage me to overcome. I want to take that encouragement, that enthusiasm and passion for the outdoors, and share it with everyone. Especially those who might not otherwise be able to access it. Whether walking in the hills, standing on top of a mountain, exploring a valley, paddling in a beck or paddle-boarding on a river, our beautiful countryside has so much to offer, I implore you to get out there, and if you feel like you can’t, for whatever reason, let us help you get there.