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Countrystride #102: A COAST TO COAST LOVE AFFAIR, with Debbie North which we travel east to the big-sky North York Moors to meet access campaigner and Cabinet Office disability ambassador Debbie North on a stretch of her beloved Coast to Coast walk. Setting out in springtime squalls from The Lion Inn at Blakey – infamous stopping point on Wainwright's enduringly popular cross-country journey – we learn from Debs about the outdoors childhood that forged her connection with wild places, before following her life-changing journey from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay during which she fell in love not only with the north country, but also with travel companion (and colleague) Andy North. Recalling the loss of her mobility and the dark days that followed, Debs describes the first ever Coast to Coast crossing made in a wheelchair; recollects her doomed attempts to reconnect with nature using didgeridoos; and tells us why she isn't calling for Stannah Stairlifts to be installed on Scafell Pike.

Debbie looking into Rosedale from the point where the Coast to Coast comes down from the Lion Inn.

Our guest for the day: the fabulous Debbie North.

Old friends: Mark and Debs on the 'miles without stiles' mineral trail.

Dave, Debs and Tip the dog.

Locked gate: requiring an awkward diversion.

Verdant Rosedale.

Remnant water tower wall.

Image of Deb and Andy's record-breaking C2C walk; from left, Andy; Mark; Debs and Heather Pitt. Thanks to David Pitt for the image.


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