If you like exploring remote regions and wild places, you don’t have to go abroad for a journey full of fun and adventure. Having a disability means you’ll need to plan your trip more carefully and you may need to invest in special equipment, but it doesn’t mean you have to restrict your travel to big cities and tourist resorts. There are all sorts of interesting places to go.
Once you get out into remote places, standard hotel accommodation often disappears. Fortunately you can find youth hostels in all sorts of places, and you don’t need to be a youth to stay in them. Most offer suitable accommodation for people with mobility difficulties, so phone ahead and check out your options. the cost is low and the staff are generally friendly, helpful and good at adapting to the needs of different guests.
If you plan to travel beyond youth hostel territory, you will usually need to organise you own accommodation. This means either towing a caravan behind your car, or, if you’re going off-road, camping. If camping, make sure you have a tent which not only accommodates your needs but is also capable of staying upright in rough weather. Your local camping centre can advise.
An alternative way to arrange accommodation is to stay with local people in small villages or farmhouses. There are an increasing number of websites where you can arrange to rent a room and board on this basis. Bear in mind that your hosts may not be used to dealing with disability issues. It’s unwise to stay in such places alone, for safety reasons, but many people find it a friendly and positive experience.
Some holiday agencies supply self-catering accommodation in remote places. If you choose this option, they should send you a detailed breakdown of accessibility issues before you book.
Travelling Around Britain
Getting around in far-flung parts of Britain can be quite a challenge. Having a car is helpful, but be aware that there is a risk of finding yourself on a country road where your wheels will get stuck. If you can’t rescue the car from such situations yourself, travel with a companion or make sure you have good rescue insurance. Smaller cars are often better than large ones for coping with narrow, twisty roads.
If you choose to travel by train, bear in mind that many smaller trains and stations do not offer good facilities for disabled travellers. Find out which train company you will be travelling with and phone in advance to arrange for extra help if you think you might need it. If you need a taxi from the station you will usually have to book in advance.
Exploring Your New Surroundings
Once you’ve reached your destination, the chances are that you won’t want to be limited to the places a car can take you. Fortunately there are an increasing number of specialist types of equipment available that can make it easier to get across rough ground with a disability. If you plan to use a wheelchair, make sure it has good enough tyres and suspension for the terrain you plan to take on. Some wheelchairs are even built for mountaineering.
If you use a stick to help you get around, there are many different types of specialist foot you can buy to help you cope with things like thick grass, rock, mud or sand. By carrying several different feet with you and fitting them as required, you can use your usual stick and take on many different challenges. You should also carry a torch, a knife, fresh water and a day’s supply of food in case of emergency – this is standard kit for anyone visiting such places.
If you plan on taking an assistance dog with you to remote locations, be warned – there will be many news scents and other distractions continually grabbing your dog’s attention. On the other hand, if you can cope with this, your dog will probably have the time of its life.
Finally, a note on safety. There are still quite a few remote parts of Britain not covered by mobile phone networks. Don’t rely on your phone to let you call for assistance. Your local camping store will be able to sell you a small, lightweight two-way radio and show you how to use it in case you run into difficulties. You can then set your mind at ease and look forward to a fantastic holiday.