A DISABLED woman is to be the first person to tackle the coast to coast challenge in an off-road wheelchair.

Outdoors enthusiast Debbie North hopes to complete the challenge in two weeks in a bid to raise awareness of the lack of accessibility in the countryside.

Starting the expedition alongside husband Andy on Sunday (April 12) in aid of the Calvert Trust, the 53-year-old has also got a steep target of £11,000 - but is already £2,500 in.

"I've found myself in a wheelchair and can't do what I used to enjoy doing," said Debbie, who began using a wheelchair in 2008 as a result of the degeneration of her spine.

The former headteacher, of Lincolnshire, decided to take on the route from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay in January 2014.


She will be the first person to use an electrically powered off road wheelchair and scooter - the Terrain Hopper - to journey from west to east.

"The Guinness Book of Records have done the first search and it has gone to a second stage, but it's looking as though it's never been done before," added Debbie. "We'll take two weeks to get across the country in the spirit of Wainwright.

"We need to take into account styles, gates and terrain but the intention is to get as remote and high because we want to show we can."

To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/Deborah-North1 The Youth Hostel Association and the Shap Wells Hotel is offering the couple a discount so they can stop off in comfort along their way.