Monday, 26 May 2014


Members of RSPB Liverpool joined Roy on his Challenge yesterday; Chris Tynan, Laura Bimson, Rhodie Blythe and Jenny Jones.

Transpennine trail
It was a good day for a walk, the weather held out until 5pm as the troopers pasted Fiddlers ferry Marina.
Intermittent  birding was allowed,  yellow wagtail, lapwing chicks and up to 70 godwits on carr lane pools. Reed bunting and warblers in the reeds along the disused canal Widnes to Fiddlers ferry marina.

Plenty of people about, charity cycle racers from Manchester to Liverpool shared  the trans pennine trail with us, not to mention other cyclists who need to go on a cycling proficiency course, or buy themselves a bike bell as least.
Heading for cake and tea!

Our groups doggie partners Charlie and Yella had plenty of opportunities to meet the locals canines, fortunately without incident. Dog walks please clean up after your pooches.

Roy's challenge incorporates looking at accessibility for the disabled. On this part of the  trans pennine route the paths were fairly good with the odd puddley sections around Widnes. The steps at pickings pasture  up towards Runcorn bridge are in impassable for those in chairs/scooters. Main difficulties for Roy were around kissing gates and squeeze stiles met with  at various points, fortunately Roy's  FourX  -4 wheel drive, 4 wheel steer chair  managed them with difficulty.  Anna, Roys'  wife tasked as  mechanic in charge when dismantling the hand rests, sometines required to enable Roy to squeeze the chair through these obstacles. (Other outdoor wheelchairs or mobility scooters would probably not of  got through).
Pretty Pickerings

Only other incident was when Roy went cross country and tried going across a stretch of grass at Halewood, needless to say there had to be a rut, and the chair got stuck in it, all hands to the deck to heave it out, won't be doing that again.  No harm done.
In a rut!
Swans Spike Island
Mersey view towards Fiddlers Ferry

All in all another successful day on the challenge. Chris managed  to make it to the end  complete with blisters.  I baled out after 14 miles at the Fiddlers ferry inn, no I didn't prop up the bar - alas my lift home was already waiting for me. 

Tired but happy Laura

Roy' s coast to coast Wheelchair Challenge

Dear colleagues, friends and family
As many of you will know, in September 2013 I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. It is not a very nice illness.

Although I can still hobble a few yards with the aid of a stick, all my walking is now done from a wheelchair. Like many other people I love being outdoors and watching wildlife. It makes me feel alive. Yet despite purchasing the best four wheel drive wheelchair on the market, many paths suitable for disabled people like myself, are INACCESSIBLE, due to stiles, kissing gates and other obstacles. Many paths I could access yesterday are today out of bounds!

It needn't be like this!!!

While I can' t change what happens in the wider countryside, working for the RSPB, I can ensure that the 20 superb RSPB Nature Reserves in northern England, are exemplars of accessibility for people with disabilities, mobility problems and for parents with prams!

So, introducing Roy' s coast to coast Wheelchair Challenge to raise money to improve accessibility in the countryside!
Southport to Hornsea
215 miles along the Trans-Pennine Trail
In the wheelchair
In just 10 days
Other wheelchairs and legs welcome!

During this year, I will be auditing the accessibility of all RSPB Nature Reserves in northern England and drawing up a prioritised list of actions for change from installing wheelchair friendly access points to better views from hides. 100% of the money raised by the Wheelchair Challenge will be spent directly on implementing the changes I identify.

The Wheelchair Challenge programme.

Saturday 24th May Day 1 Southport to Childwall, Liverpool 22.25 miles

Sunday 25th May Day 2 Childwall, Liverpool to Lymm, Warrington 21.5 miles

Monday 26th May Day 3 Lymm, Warrington to Stockport 19.75 miles
Tuesday 27th May Day 4 Stockport to Woodhead Reservoir, Peak District 20.75 miles
Wednesday 28th May Day 5 Woodhead Reservoir, Peak District to Wombwell, Barnsley 21 miles

Thursday 29th May Day to let the muscles recover!

Friday 30th May Day 6 Wombwell, Barnsley to Thorpe in Bain, nr Doncaster 22.75 miles
Saturday 31st May Day 7 Thorpe in Bain, ne Doncaster to Selby 22.5 miles
Sunday 1st June Day 8 Selby to Faxfleet on the Humber Estuary 20 miles
Monday 2nd June Day 9 Faxfleet on the Humber Estuary to Hull 21.5 miles
Tuesday 3rd June Day 10 Hull to Hornsea 15 miles and Finish!!!

Am afraid the walk is going to be a bit unstructured re timings during the day - largely because we don't know what access obstacles we are going to come across! For example, a did a recce at Pickerings pastures, Runcorn yesterday and I can't get the wheelchair up the 52 steps! So here, the van will pick us up and drop us off under Runcorn bridge to continue the route.
However, each day will start at 9.30 and as we are travelling around 21 miles a day it will probably take 7 - 8 hours.

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