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.