Above left: John takes gold – and breaks the world record – for discus at the 1984 games at Stoke Mandeville. Above right: John completes a leg of the Olympic torch relay in June 2012.
John Harris is a former UK Paralympian, winning gold, silver and bronze medals, as well as breaking the discus world record. As a youngster, John was a keen athlete, but at just 18 he fell from a big wheel at a Butlins holiday camp and was left paralysed below the waist.
Now in his late 60s, John has been a long-time campaigner for improving access for disabled people. He recently worked with the charity Axess Films to create two videos on the Goyt Valley. One is along the ‘Riverside path’. The other along a section of the Cromford & High Peak Railway line.
Click either video to play, and the expand button bottom right to view in full screen. And *click here to view more of John’s ‘Access Peak’ videos. (*This link seems to have vanished and I can’t find where they’ve put it! Let me know if you manage to find it and I’ll update this page.)
Disused railway track
Directions: There are some disabled parking spaces opposite the start of this track, which runs along the disused High Peak Railway line. They’re clearly marked on the right, as you come down from the Buxton to Whaley Bridge road. The track is easy to spot, on the left, beside a small pond.
Directions: There’s a small parking space close to the start of this track, which runs down to the River Goyt (which is very much a steam at this point). If you’re coming down from the Buxton to Whaley Bridge road, go over the dam and turn left. Go past Errwood Hall carpark and up the slope. A small gate on the left is the start of the track. The spaces are just a short distance further along the road, on the left.
Although the Riverside Path has been designed for easy access, I think you’d have to be fairly fit to push a wheelchair back up the slope without any help.
There are a couple of other options for anyone with mobility problems:
- The road along Errwood Reservoir from the main car park towards Errwood Hall car park. There are disabled parking spaces just to the left of the entrance to the main car park. Traffic along here is always quite slow because of the number of people walking this narrow road. And it’s completely closed to traffic on Bank Holidays and Sundays between May 1st to September 30th.
- The old railway track along the shore of Fernilee Reservoir. There are car parking spaces quite close to the start of the track. Simply follow the sign to Fernilee from the Buxton to Whaley Bridge road.