The gorgeous scenery of the Lake District and Cumbria should be accessible to everyone, but the high fells and rough terrain can be difficult if you've got limited mobility.
Lake District Mobility aims to tackle this be setting up outdoor visitor attractions with Trampers, all-terrain mobility scooters that can be hired so that you can enjoy a "roll" in the hills. Whether your mobility is restricted permanently or temporarily, the Tramper is a great way for you to spend time outdoors with your loved ones. You don't even need a blue badge!
The small charity was set up by mumpreneur Julia Walker, who began working from her kitchen table. Having in the past experienced limited mobility herself, and knowing how her grandfather-in-law - once a keen mountaineer but now restricted by age - was yearning for the mountains, Julia began exploring possibilities. During a chance chat with a close friend, a fantasy enterprise was dreamed up and, encourage by the same friend, Julia started her research, speaking to individuals, charities and businesses including the Calvert Trust and the Forestry Commission. Their response was clear: the Lake District needed to be more accessible!
A year later and with a folder full of research, Julia approached the Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service, which helped Julia develop a strong business plan. The search for trustees began and, in April 2017, Lake District Mobility achieved charitable status. Oh, and the close friend who encouraged Julia along this journey? Ruth became one of the first Trustees!
Julia and Ruth then set off to Exeter to meet the staff at Countryside Mobility, who have developed nearly 50 Tramper hire-sites in the south west of England in just 10 years. They officially entered into a partnership with Countryside Mobility in late 2017 and, using their knowledge, experience and support, Lake District Mobility has developed and grown the Lake District's own offering.
Now and the Future
The charity now boasts three regular staff members, a volunteer, and a real office with real office furniture. And the future? They are constantly looking for and having discussions with potential hire sites across the Lake District and West Cumbria. Julia explains: "We want to get more outdoor attractions to partner with us and to offer Trampers, opening more of the beautiful Lake District and Northern England to visitors who may think they can't have the full experience."
"The feedback from people who have used the Trampers has been uplifting," continues Julia. "The Trampers offer a sense of independence that enables families and friends of different abilities enjoy the outdoors together. We hear from grandparents who, for the first time, took their grandchildren for a walk; parents watching their children thrive because they can get out instead of being left behind; and people of all ages taking in the views they thought were lost to them forever."
Hire a Tramper
Trampers are currently available for hire from Langdale Leisure Centre near Ambleside and Whinlatter Forest Park near Keswick. To hire a Tramper you must be at least 14-years-old and able to manage the manual controls and you can book by contacting the hire site directly. You'll be trained on using the vehicle before receiving a map with routes that have been tested and picked for their safety and spectacular views of some of the best Lake District scenery.
You can also find out all you need to know about hiring a Tramper in the pre-hire section of Lake District Mobility's website.
Find out more:
This is a guest blog written by Lake District Mobility. To find out where you can enjoy your very own Tramper trip, or to learn more, please visit their website or contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.