Monthly Archives: September 2013

Wainwright and the Dales Way

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk. His challenging 190-mile walk across Northern England has grown to be by far the most popular long distance trail in the country.


What is not generally known is the influence that the Dales Way had on Wainwright’s original creation.

Wainwright first had the idea for his Coast to Coast Walk after walking the Pennine Way, shortly after this first National Trail had been officially launched in 1965. Wainwright wrote his popular Pennine Way Companion (published in 1968), but admitted that he had not really enjoyed the trail. This set him to thinking of devising his own, “superior” walk.

He came up with the idea of a walk across England, from coast to coast. He fixed the start and end points, St Bees Head and Robin Hood’s Bay, and drew a line with a ruler from one to the other. His bee-line route crossed three National Parks: the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

In April 1970, a month after he married his second wife Betty, he wrote to his friend Molly Lefebure: “Incidentally, while honeymooning at York, I paid a visit to the North Yorks Moors area. Not bad, not bad. I might yet do a COAST TO COAST WALK, St. Bees Head to Robin Hood’s Bay, crossing Lakeland, using the newly-created Dales Way into Yorkshire and ending with parts of both the Lyke Wake Walk and Cleveland Way.”

Wainwright surveyed possible options for a high-level route into Yorkshire, shadowing the Dales Way, before ultimately rejecting them in favour of a more northerly route across the Westmorland Fells. The results of his research were included in his book Walks on the Howgill Fells, published in 1972. His Coast to Coast Walk was published in 1973.

See the full article here.

New Edition of classic Dales Way Guidebook

In 1970 Colin Speakman wrote the very first guide book to the Dales Way. Over 40 years on and his original book is now in its eleventh incarnation.

Dales Way - the complete guideThis is the second edition from Skyware Press. Illustrated with 79 stunning full colour photos to match Speakman’s compelling narrative, the book also features 24 detailed full colour strip maps of the entire route at a scale of 1:25,000.

With additional features, such as a brief history of “the People’s Path”, an alternative route between Cam Fell and Upper Dentdale, and detailed descriptions of the three link routes from Bradford, Harrogate and Leeds, it is easy to see why the book is described as the complete and definitive guide to the Dales Way.

As well as being a beautifully produced guide book, it’s also a unique piece of history. It is almost certainly the only guide book to a long distance trail that has been in continuous production for over 40 years, with a living author!

Speakman’s deep affection for the Dales Way and his lifetime love of the Yorkshire Dales shines through this book. That’s what makes this guide so unique – no one else could have written it.

Colin Speakman said: “The Dales Way is one of Britain’s best loved long distance walks. Connecting urban West Yorkshire with the Lake District, it goes through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, linking two of England’s most spectacularly beautiful National Parks. There’s no better way of discovering this magnificent landscape than on foot, and, as generations of Dales Way walkers have discovered, of enjoying wonderful Yorkshire hospitality and a warm welcome along the entire route.  Many people who walk the Dales Way return to do it a second or even a third time, because it is such an enjoyable and satisfying walk, as rich in cultural associations as it is in natural beauty”.

Fully revised and updated, this eleventh edition of Colin Speakman’s Dales Way is the only guide you will ever need to plan, walk and enjoy one of Britain’s most popular and beautiful long-distance trails.

Priced at £11.99 and available direct from Skyware Press at