Deafblind UK

Could you climb the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales and cycle the 483 mile route in-between?

Could you do this if you were also Deafblind?

Bob Nolan, Chair of Deafblind UK, has decided to take on a challenge that we believe has never been done before by a deafblind person in the lead-up to Deafblind Awareness Week 2018, which starts on Monday 25th June 2018, as Deafblind UK celebrates 90 years of helping the deafblind community.

Guided by his wife Louise, who is also Deaf, Bob will climb Ben Nevis on 18th June, Scafell Pike on the 22nd and finish his challenge climbing Snowdon on the 25th whilst good friends Jerry and Fred will guide Bob as front riders on his tandem on the two cycling legs to complete his epic journey.

So why is Bob taking on such a daunting challenge?

“Sadly the incidence of deafblindness is growing in the UK with over 400,000 people now struggling with the everyday challenges of normal life.  I want to raise awareness and let people understand that whilst dual sensory loss is so isolating for so many, it doesn’t have to be.  With the right support deafblind people can lead full and active lives and still fulfil their dreams. I hope that by completing this challenge, I can inspire others to come forward and with the help and support of DBUK and DbS achieve their own ambitions whatever they may be.”

Bob was born deaf with a progressive sight loss which started to impact on his life in his childhood years and now has less than 3% left. This has never held Bob back and as well as recently retiring from a successful and fulfilling career with Shell, he has chaired Deafblind Scotland for over 17 years, backpacked solo around the world, crossed England on foot, run numerous marathons, cycled 1000’s of miles for charity, loves open water sea swimming and even started his first deaf pop band at the age of 16. Bob’s cup half full approach to life and extra-ordinary belief in making the most of what he has, inspires us all and like Helen Keller once said, he believes “Life is either a great adventure, or nothing.”

We asked Bob what he was looking forward to most about the challenge and what he was dreading.

“I am looking forward to climbing Ben Nevis as that will mean the training is over. The thing I am least looking forward to, is cycling the hills, not the uphill climbs as you might expect, but the fast descents.  I struggle to anticipate corners and changes in light anyway, but at speeds in excess of 40mph, I have to put all my trust in my guides and as the world rushes by, it’s terrifying!”

If you would like to wish Bob well, please feel free to place a message on our facebook or twitter pages. You can also make a donation to further support deafblind people on Bob’s fundraising page