South Downs 100 Mile Challenge

Authored By Robin Helby

100 miles trip to Beach Head

On Friday September 19th Sue Watson and Robin Helby completed an extraordinary eight-day adventure along the South Downs Way with the aim of raising money for the Disabled Ramblers. What made this attempt different from other similar walks is that Sue and Robin are both disabled and completed the trip by electric scooter without any support, helpers or carers. The aim was both to celebrate 2003 as the European Year of the Disabled and to raise funds for the Disabled Ramblers.

Sue has had MS since 1986 and Robin has a spinal injury but are both keen ramblers (Robin is Vice-Chairman of the Disabled Ramblers). They wanted to show that with the right equipment, they could be on equal terms with other walkers. Their plans involved stopping at a different location every night. All of their equipment and provisions would have to be carried with them, including medical equipment and battery chargers.

Setting off from Winchester, it would be 100 miles to the finish at Beachy Head, with an additional 30 miles to and from the overnight stops. This meant they would need to achieve a daily average of over 16 miles across very demanding rough terrain with many long steep climbs. Fortunately they both own Tramper scooters, Sue's was one year old and Robin's four years old.

Made by Salisbury based Beamer Limited, the Tramper electric scooter is unlike anything you will see in the high street. While being perfectly at home in the local supermarket, the Tramper really comes into it’s own in extreme conditions ranging from rough country paths and farmland to working its way through snow and ice. With large batteries and tyres specially designed for such conditions, Sue and Robin’s planned journey through some of the most picturesque countryside was well within the Tramper’s capability.

After eight days Sue and Robin triumphantly arrived at Beachy Head. Though very tired from the effort, they were elated by their achievement. It was incredible for two disabled people to enjoy day after day of fantastic views through some of Englands finest scenery. It was hard work but so rewarding and proves that neither distance nor terrain need be a limitation. Our Trampers performed faultlessly and coped with everything we met - we only felt we were disabled when we got off! With the Trampers help we will have raised over £2,000 for the Disabled Ramblers”, explained Robin.