Sprint road bridge is now open to pedestrians and vehicles, except for larger wagons, as the bridge in Burneside has not yet been repaired. This stretch of road is no longer part of the Dales Way, but in an emergency, walkers may wish to get to Burneside as quickly as possible from the Oakbank junction, rather than follow the Dales Way via Sprint Mill Cottages.
This was the remains of the footbridge, on your left as you enter Birks Mill on the Dales Way, heading for Brigg Flatts, after Storm Desmond. Its disappearance means that people wanting to cross the River Rawthey between Birks and Catholes are forced to take a 2 kilometres detour via Millthrop, reported YDNPA Ranger Paul Wilkinson, at the time.
Work has now started to replace it. The new bridge has a span of over 33 metres. Photo enthusiasts will notice that the middle support has been excluded in the present design, this is inline with the current re-evaluation of the changes in our weather regarding rainfall, river and bridges, as Storm Desmond has reminded us about the unpredictability of nature. The new bridge is higher and the lattice work design and lack of the middle support is to decrease the pressure of water when the river rises.The bridge has been supplied by Cumbria County Council and will be assembled by Yorkshire Dales National Park Authorities rangers. The bridge should be open to walkers by the end of November.
The Authority has been working with a number of partners to plan the replacement. Financial support has come from CCC, the YDNPA, Sedbergh Parish Council, Friends of the Lake District, HF Holidays (Pathways Fund) the Lancaster Group of the Ramblers’ Association and the Dales Way Association.
The Dales Way. A Piece of Cake. . . . only if you have an up to date Guide Book and good maps.The Complete Guide by Colin Speakman, updated this year, has both, and needs to be the first item in the rucksack before you set out next year.
At our AGM on the 15th October this year, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the formation of the Dales Way Association at the Flying Duck in Ilkley. Prior to the meeting 17 DWA members joined Chairman Colin Speakman for an autumnal walk from Burley in Wharfdale station to Ilkley via Burley Woodhead, Burley and Ilkley Moors along the Dales Way Link.
Most walkers were pleased to enter the Flying Duck, intact after the final descent. It was reasonably dry, but still needed concentration. However, all was put into the past as sandwiches with crispy chips appeared for the walkers. The bar was also available for those who wished to participate using their pocket money.
The AGM covered the Chairmans’s Annual Report, the Treasurers Report, an item from the Membership Secretaries Report, 405 members, and the Footpath Report covering the the damage storm Desmond had inflicted on the Dales Way footpath and the efforts YDNPA and CCC had mustered to repair the damage and bring the Dales Way back to normal. The Website Report stated that the News section on the web site attracted 2187 unique visitors and 6540 views per month, an increase because of the floods. The maps and diversion to the route, available on the web site as a download, had proved invaluable to walkers in the ever changing situation in the early days. The full minutes of the meeting are available to DWA members on our web site.
In Colin’s opening statement he reiterated the importance of David Smith, present at the the very first meeting at Blenheim Lodge, Bowness in 1991, along with other founders. David gave 17 years service, covering multiple roles and being a hive of energy. Sadly he is no longer with us, and is much missed. Colin also remarked how pleased he was to see Judith Smith here today to help us celebrate 25 years of the DW Association and to cut the celebratory cake.