Author Archives: DWA

Autumn buses on the Dales way

874 at Bolton AbbeyAutumn means shorter days but often beautiful ones, with dazzling leaf colour and when the leaves are off, even better views, excellent for short day riverside walks on the Dales Way. If you make use of public transport, you can park, catch the bus and walk along the Dales Way back to the car – or better still go all the way by bus and train and enjoy that well-earned pint at the end.

This works especially well in Wharfedale, with the all-year Sunday 874 DalesBus running between Leeds, Ilkley, Bolton Abbey, Grassington and Buckden, and Monday to Saturday Upper Wharfedale Venturer service between Grassington and Buckden, but note that from October 28th the Saturday Pride of the Dales service 74 between Ilkley, Bolton Abbey and Grassington will cease to operate.

However from then there will be a new Friday NYCC 74A service between Ilkley and Grassington, so that you’ll be able to reach the Bolton Abbey, and Burnsall areas on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Ilkley and Grassington.

Remember too that the Western Dales S1 service between Dent Station, (meeting trains from Leeds) Dent village and Sedbergh runs on Saturdays all year, so another great opportunity for autumn days in Dentdale. Details of all these services are all in the Metro DalesBus timetable or log on to www.dalesbus.org.

West Winds open for Autumn

Finally, great news that our friends Lyn and Steve at West Winds Tea Shop in Buckden have decided this year to stay open daily until the end of October and at weekends throughout November especially for Dales Way walkers. This is especially appropriate given that the other tea shop and café in Buckden has now closed, and the Buck Inn is also currently closed – though it is expected to reopen soon.

Colin Speakman

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Huge increase in wagons on Cam High Road

There has been a huge increase in the number of 40-ton timber trucks on Cam High Road, following the acquisition of the Greenfield forest site by the current owners of the Cam Forest.

Timber waggons on Cam High Road

Now up to 10 wagons a day are to be found descending the steep road to Gearstones, which serves as an important route for the Dales Way, the Pennine Way and the Pennine Bridleway.

Just last year the owners of Cam Forest gained approval for the limited extraction of timber over an initial period of 3 years, with up to 6 wagons per day. The acquisition of the much larger Greenfield Forest now means the initial period has been extended to 15 years, with the first three years seeing more “intensive harvesting”.

The new rules suggest that of the 10 wagons per day “five of these would take place before 9.30am and endeavours would be made for the majority of the remaining movements to take place after 3pm. Plus, no movements would take place at weekends or bank holidays.”

However, when DWA members were out on Cam on Tuesday, at least four wagons passed along the Cam Road between 2pm and 3pm.

Of course, it is relatively easy for walkers to step off the track and give sufficient berth to the huge wagons, but it is more difficult for horse riders and cyclists, and should any horse drawn cart happen to be heading uphill at the time….

A number of issues remain to be resolved, including the promise that a permissive Dales Way path would be made along the new track at the foot of the Cam Road, avoiding the busy B6255 to Far Gearstones.

New certificates are a big hit

Dales Way walkers finishing the long-distance trail are now heading in droves to pick up their Completers certificates directly in Bowness.

Hawkshead certificates

The new certificates are being offered free by Hawkshead outdoor outfitters at their shop in Bowness-on-Windermere, at the end of ther trail. And, for every certificate issued, Hawkshead will donate 10p to the Dales Way Association!

Since the start of the season there’s been a steady stream of Dales Way walkers arriving at the store.

Hawkshead said: “We are loving celebrating in the successes of the Dales Way walkers! Congratulations to all our Dales Way walkers who are now coming in our Bowness store thick and fast to claim their coveted certificate!”

The Bowness store is at 7 West End Buildings, Kendal Road, Bowness, LA23 3EE, Tel: 015394 48694. The shop is open Mon – Sat 9.00 – 5.30 & Sun 10.00 – 5.00.

(Pictured are just some of the recent recipients as shown on Hawkshead’s facebook page: Peter Minchin, Peter Courtney, Stuart Fraser, Isabel Fraser, Dot Morson, Kelvin Peterson, Palm Evans, Maureen Tissington, Peter Tissington and Mary O’Brien.)

Fine walk for Association AGM

The Dales Way Association held its 21st Annual General Meeting on Saturday 26th October. Despite the awful rain on the Friday and the storms predicted for Sunday, members travelled from as far afield as Essex and Shropshire.

The 2013 AGM walk from Burnsall to Grassington

Colin Speakman pauses to read the information board alongside the river Wharfe near Loop Scar

The day started with a walk along the Dales Way from Burnsall to Hebden swing bridge where we paused to inspect the work which is being done to replace the planking on the bridge. The repairs have been made possible by a generous donation from DWA member Eileen King in memory of her late partner Roy Doherty and we were delighted that Eileen had made the long journey to join us. We then walked on to Grassington where we had a short break before returning to Ilkley and the business part of the day.

We got to Burnsall and returned from Grassington on the number 74 bus, a regular service that takes both locals and visitors up and down Wharfedale and is a lovely ride in its own right. During the meeting Footpath Officer Alex McManus told members that he had spent the summer inspecting the Dales Way footpath and had relied on the bus to travel back to his car. We were astonished to learn therefore that this and other rural bus services are in danger of being cut.

Dales Way Association Chairman, Colin Speakman told the meeting; “The Yorkshire Dales National Park, and the Dales Way, one of the jewels in the National Park’s crown, must remain fully accessible to everyone, and the bus services in Upper Wharfedale are essential to achieve this.”

See the Dalesbus website here and the proposed cuts 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 skyware.co.uk/shop.htm

New Cam bridge now open

The new bridge on the Cam High Road which crosses Gayle Beck is now open.

New Bridge across Gayle Beck at Gearstones

Fortunately, good weather has meant that the closure of the bridge hasn’t caused too much disruption for Dales Way walkers.

There are still some ongoing works to finish off the bridge, so walkers should follow any directions from construction workers on the site.

The original footbridge was removed to be replaced by this new road bridge, capable of taking the 40-tonne logging trucks which will be used to remove logs from Cam Woods. Logging traffic should be restricted to short early morning and late afternoon sessions. Logging is expected to continue for 10 years.

One advantage for walkers of this work is the establishment of a permissive track parallel to the busy Blea Moor Road down to Far Gearstones, taking the route off road for this short section.