Before his diagnosis with MS in 1995, Bill worked for the Army School of Mechanical Transport as a HGV driving instructor. After retiring in April 1996, he kept active by sailing with the MS Society. He took part in offshore sailing for three years, sailing round the south coast of England and the Western Isles of Scotland. He also competed in both the North Sea Trophy Race and the Fastnet competition as part of a mixed ability team.
As well as sailing, Bill and his wife Fiona continued to enjoy hill walking, enjoying a big holiday to Andorra in 2005. However, bit by bit, walking holidays became more difficult due to Bill’s deteriorating mobility.
Bill said, “we first saw Experience Community (EC) and the Mountain Trikes on BBC Countryfile and then I tried out a Mountain Trike on an MS Military weekend for ex-military personnel where it was being demonstrated. We contacted EC and arranged to have a go on one of their trikes at a taster day at Oakwell Hall, Birstall, and several months later I managed to buy my own.”
Bill and Fiona live in Driffield and like to visit local sites such as Bempton Cliffs, Tophill Low, managed by Yorkshire Water, and Sledmere House and Gardens. They walk regularly with Driffield Striders and enjoy visiting local villages in better weather. Bill enjoys Hull Art Gallery which he visits independently or with friends – he can navigate the wide spaces in the gallery on his Mountain Trike.
One of their favourite places they have discovered whilst rambling with Experience Community is Langsett Reservoir, managed by Yorkshire Water. Bill told us, “we like this site because there is a variety of scenery and terrain. There are lots of ups and downs, trees, open ground and water, the feeling of being at one with nature and lots of muddy bits!”
While it’s a bit of a drive to get to Langsett Reservoir from Driffield, they both think it’s worth it. They told us, “Yorkshire Water have done some work on the footpaths so we can now do a longer route. The quality of the footpaths is great and most of it is accessible. It can get very boggy in places when it rains but that makes it interesting!”
The Mountain Trike that Bill uses, has, he says, given him some independence. However, more importantly, “it has given both of us back some of the life we’d lost. If I was still walking, we’d be out all the time and the Mountain Trike has given us some outdoor life back.”
Langsett Reservoir is just off the A616, near Penistone, with several disabled blue badge spaces in Langsett Barn car park. Please be aware that the car park tends to fill up quickly most days. There are disabled toilets available at this car park but there are no on-site café facilities. There is, however, the Bank View Café just across the A616, which also has a disabled toilet and great cake!
For more information on Langsett Reservoir and other Yorkshire Water countryside sites, go to www.yorkshirewater.com/things-to-do/reservoirs and click on Langsett Reservoir.
Please visit our website at www.experiencecommunity.co.uk for other walk ideas. If you have a disability and would like to share your favourite walk with us, please do get in touch through our social media networks or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org