Life Changing

Debbie describes how Accessthedales started, how she left her head teacher role and became a champion for the outdoors. 

Debbie and Andy
Debbie and Andy

“What do you do when your life changes completely?

I’m so use to getting up at 6am, ready for the taxi to pick me up at 7.15am.

On the way to school my mind becomes a working diary;

  • a meeting at 8.30am,
  • assembly at 9am shit! – forgot to plan it – what’s the theme? Friendship- that’s it – I’ll tell them about  Kev, my longest ever friendship – that will fill in 20 mins.
  • Must remind the site manager about the hole in the fence- had a complaint last night from a neighbour that her dog got out of her house and onto school ground, because some of our children had made a hole in the fence. She’d seen them at lunch time picking at it.
  • Got a governor calling in to review Child Protection Policy at 11.30
  • Bloody School Improvement Officer is in tomorrow- have I got it all ready?

And the list goes on…

But I loved the job. It was a very busy job, a very hard job but I loved it.

The only time that I could ever switch off from my manic life style was when I was up in the hills and mountains. When weekends came, and holidays too, my husband and I would set off walking. We would explore the Dales and the Lakes mainly, but have dipped our toes into the Peaks District.

We loved our long distance walking.

When you are out in the hills and there is no other person near you, and the nearest shelter is ten miles away, and the light is starting to fade then you can’t think about anything else except your own wellbeing. Your busy working life doesn’t exist.

The beauty of your surroundings takes over your mind. The peace is just so wonderful. So spiritual. So…I can’t think of words to describe what it feels. It’s just magically.

February 28th. That date will be a date that is sketch on my internal memory bank.

February 28th 2011 – the date that I’m told that I will no longer work- I stripped off my title. I’m plain old Debbie North.  I don’t own the title of Head teacher any longer.


Every day is now an ill health holiday.

But like a child leading up to the end of the summer holiday, I’m getting bored of the holiday. I want something to do. Something that makes me want to get up in the morning. Something to do of worth, within my limited laminations!

That is why I have set up the ‘accessthedales’ blog.

My mission is to get out and about in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in my wheel chair.

So far I have had several visits and have attempted several routes. I have had some positive experiences and some not so positive ones.

Yesterday I had some really good news – The National Trust have agreed in principal to having Trampers (an all-terrain) wheelchair in the Park and have now given the go ahead for the fund raising to begin.

To raise about £8,000 for a Tramper. I get the money together, the Yorkshire dales National park Authority will get the Tramper.

This looks like the start of ‘accessthedales’ for real.

Any help in raising the fund will be appreciated.

I don’t even know where to start!

‘accessthedales’ – making the Yorkshire Dales more accessible for wheelchair users”