Colin Speakman leads the 40th anniversary walk – 2009
On Monday, March 10th, 1969, the Yorkshire Evening Post carried a major news feature outlining “A new Dales Way …. from Ilkley to Lakeland“.
The article began: “Leeds, Harrogate and Bradford may soon by linked to the Lake District by footpath. It is all part of a projected new Dales Way mapped out by the West Riding branch of the Ramblers Association.
“If you are interested, if you have a longing for fresh air after this long dark winter of discontent, now is the time to polish your best walking boots and get out your rucksack.
“You can become involved in this wonderful scheme by presenting yourself at Ilkley Post Office on Sunday March 23, at 10.15 a.m. On that day members of the Ramblers Association are to walk along the first 10 miles of the new Dales Way from Ilkley to Burnsall, and members of the public are invited to take part.”
That cold March Sunday, over 130 people gathered to take part in the first ever public walk along a section of the Dales Way. Colin Speakman led them for the 12-mile trek to Burnsall, where they caught pre-arranged buses back to Ilkley. It was a huge success.
That inaugural walk has been celebrated every decade since. In 2019 the 50th anniversary of that first walk will take place on Saturday, 3rd August.
You can read the full account of that First Dales Way walk here.
Bradford Council have approved contentious plans to serve alcohol at Olicana Park caravan site, near Addingham.
The Dales Way passes through the site, passing the restaurant and cafe based in a new log cabin at the entrance to the site.
Approval for a cafe there had been previously granted in 2016. The new licence allows alcohol to be served for consumption on and off the site. The owners, Listers Leisure Ltd., said the business would serve onsite customers and people walking the Yorkshire Dales.
Letters both against and in support of the scheme were evenly matched. Some local residents raised concerns that serving alcohol could lead to an increase in traffic, noise and anti-social behaviour in a picturesque area fo the district. One park resident pointed out that “It is very rare these days to go out for a meal and not have a drink.”
Dales Way walkers might welcome a cafe stop after the first 3 miles on the trail, but it remains to be seen how many will want alcoholic refreshments so early on.
Alex McManus, former Footpaths officer for the Dales Way Association who retired from active duty earlier this year, was formally handed his “Honorary Life Membership” certificate today.
Alex McManus receives his award from Colin Speakman
The presentation was made by the chairman of the Dales Way Association, Colin Speakman, at a special lunch attended by most of the DWA committee near Harrogate. The honour was unanimously approved at this year’s Annual General Meeting in October.
Colin said: “Alex is one of the heroes of the Dales Way. For so many years he has been our tireless Footpath Secretary, doing great work working with all the local authorities along the Dales Way to ensure that stiles, gates and bridges were in good order, waymarks were in the right place and problems sorted as soon as possible, not to mention his work as a great ambassador for the route, in person and on his DVDs. In making him only our second Honorary Life Member in our history (the first was the legendary cartographer Arthur Gemmell) the Dales Way Committee is merely recognising his outstanding achievement over so many years”
Alex first joined the DWA committee in 2003 and became Footpaths Officer in 2005. He also served as Newsletter Editor from 2010 to 2014 and turned his hand to a number of other roles, including minutes secretary for a while.
Alex will continue to contribute to the DWA through articles on the website and Newsletters. We hope to see him at a number of next year’s 50th Anniversary events.
A popular suspension bridge which crosses the river Wharfe beside the Dales Way at Addingham has been closed for up to 6 months.
The bridge is not on the route of the Dales Way, which passes just above it, so its closure will not affect Dales Way walkers. However, it is often used as part of a cicular day walk from the Dales Way, either between Ilkley and Addingham, or as an optional link via Beamsley Beacon (For a route description see the Dales Way Association Newsletter number 48, Spring 2018).
A notice states: “North Yorkshire County Council has made this Order to prohibit any pedestrian from using Public Footpath 15.96/36/1, Nesfield with Langbar, between grid reference SE08354994 and SE08314990 for a temporary period of six months (subject to access to premises) between 23/10/2018 and 01/04/2019 due to danger to public from unsafe bridge.”
Due to a road closure at Bolton Abbey until around the end of November, bus services between Ilkley, Bolton Abbey and Grassington/Skipton are diverted. Passengers visiting Bolton Abbey on Sundays should catch the bus to/from Bolton Bridge Devonshire Arms, which is approx. 10 minutes walk from Bolton Abbey village green.
Minibus service 74A between Ilkley and Hebden on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is diverted between Bolton Abbey and Barden Tower via Embsay, so the stops at Strid Wood and Barden Scale are not served in either direction, but buses will still stop at Bolton Abbey village green.
Cravenlink Sunday service 873 between Ilkley and Skipton operates via the A59 between Bolton Bridge and Embsay, so the stops at Bolton Abbey, Strid Wood, Barden Scale, Barden Moor and Eastby are not served in either direction.
DalesBus Sunday service 874 between Wakefield/Ilkley and Buckden operates via the A59, Embsay, Eastby and Barden Moor between Bolton Bridge and Barden Tower, so the stops at Bolton Abbey, Strid Wood and Barden Scale are not served in either direction.
Check the revised timetables at the DalesBus website here.
Update: The route has now reopened and buses are running normaly.
Smithy Beck is a small stream that enters the River Lune North of Hole House Farm, which is mid-way between Lincoln’s Inn Bridge and Crook of Lune Bridge. The small bridge over it was damaged, thanks to Storm Desmond, still safe to cross, but needing repair. On Sunday, 14th October, Graham Pye, Access Ranger YDNPA, and a team of 4 Dales Volunteers rebuilt the footbridge. There had been some concern that the bridge build might not be possible owing to the weather forecast. As it turned out, the weather improved on the Sunday and even though the beck was described as ‘gurgly’ by one of the team, the conditions were good enough to continue. Well done Graham and the team.
The Dales Way Association was thanked for their donation. Picture by YDNPA
At the end of August we received an alert from Lisa – a Dales Way walker crossing from Dent to Sedbergh:
“I will be completing the Dales Way tomorrow (what a delight!), and I wanted to alert you to an area that needs repair.
“Coming out of Gap Wood, the right side portion of the dry stone wall supporting the first gate you come upon in the field has collapsed. When we opened the gate, a large stone fell out of the bottom of the wall, which we thought quite odd. In a moment or two, the whole side collapsed.”
Though probably the responsibility of the local farmer to repair, we let the National Park rangers know of the situation. Steve Hastie, Area Manager of the Western Dales Area, was soon able to report:
“Our volunteers have been out and repaired the wall you reported as damaged. It was near enough to the footpath for me to be content to allocate resources.”
Well done guys, and many thanks!