Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lifetime award for Dales Way creator

Colin receives his award

Colin Speakman won the Golden Eagle award for Outstanding Services to the Outdoors at the meeting of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild this weekend.

Colin is a prolific writer, environmentalist, academic and broadcaster. He was presented with a specially commissioned painting of Pen-y-ghent by the artist and environmentalist, David Bellamy.

A co-creator of the Dales Way, now 50 years old and one of the most popular long distance paths in the country, Colin has written nearly 60 books, covering walking and history, transport guides, biographies, poems and fiction. He has recently been described as one of 20 of Britain’s all-time “Walking Heroes”.

His recent publication was a biography of John Phillips, the influential 19th-century Yorkshire scientist who completed the first detailed geological surveys of the Yorkshire Coast and the Yorkshire Dales and who helped establish the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

His new book Yorkshire: Ancient Nation, Future Province* will be launched at a special event at Bradford university next month.

Awesome Achievement

The 2nd ever Dales Way Ultra Marathon took place over the weekend of 14th and 15th August. Chris Grogan, Dales Way Association secretary, went to the end to congratulate the runners. Here she is with Steve Dillon, the only runner to complete the 2019 and 2021 Dales Way races AND the brutal Dales High Way Challenge.

‘I’m in awe of their fitness and stamina,’ she said. ‘Most people walk the 82 mile Dales Way in a week. These runners did it in a day or less.’ Winner Greg Judges arrived home in just 17 hours 11 minutes and is pictured here accepting his medal from Ryk Downes, event organiser and DWA committee member.

Britain’s 10 best scenic spots for runners

The Dales Way features in another top list – this time in the Financial Times’ Top 10 scenic spots for runners in Britain.

Fergus Scholes writes “What better way to enjoy a run than in breathtaking British countryside, traversing its long-distance footpaths and National Trails? We’ve rounded up the best scenic spots to put you through your paces.”

See the full FT article here.

Hebden Suspension bridge closed

Hebden Suspension Bridge

Hebden Suspension Bridge has had to be closed following damage due to the recent flash floods.

A spokesperson for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said: “There’s been some damage to Hebden suspension bridge following the heavy rains. Unfortunately we have had to close the bridge while we look into repairs. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

In 2014 the bridge was redecked thanks to a generous donation by DWA member Eileen King, in memory of her partner Roy.

UPDATE 21 Nov 2020: The bridge has been repaired and is now open again.

Bolton Abbey Estate and the Dales Way

As a precaution to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Bolton Abbey Estate has introduced restrictions to visitors. Day visitors are now required to book tickets online in advance at a cost of £10 for a group of up to 8. This is to control numbers exploring the estate grounds and using the facilities, including cafes and toilets.

This applies to visitors arriving by car, public transport OR on foot. But, as we understand, this does NOT affect walkers on the Dales Way.

Dales Way walkers are advised to arrive along the trail from south or north, to stick to the track and pass directly through the estate. A one-way system is in place, which will not affect walkers from south to north, but will affect walkers from north to south. Walkers should stick to the one-way system.

The problem arises because part of the Dales Way footpath through the estate follows permissive paths, which are not rights of way.

We are currently awaiting further clarification.

Controversial Fencing proposal alongside the Dales Way at Hebden

DalesWayatHebden

The section of path between Burnsall and Grassington is one of the most popular sections of the Dales Way. The easy walking and generally open aspect make it one of the best loved sections for Dales Way walkers and is particularly popular with local and day walkers.

From the suspension bridge north is a 1km open stretch of riverside along an avenue of chestnut trees, giving a feeling of parkland to this section of the Dales Way. Shallow waters with gravel beds at the northern end are a magnet to dog walkers and families with young children.

It is this popular section that is subject of a riverside regeneration and fencing project proposed by the local Angling Club.

The Appletreewick, Barden & Burnsall Angling Club (ABBAC) are proposing a replanting/regeneration scheme along the left river bank (alongside the Dales Way path) to combat erosion and improve the wildlife habitat, which includes the planting of “locally sourced, native species, primarily hawthorn, blackthorn, alder, hazel and rowan”.

To protect the area from grazing, they also propose to fence off the entire 1 km stretch from the suspension bridge gate to the gate at Howgill Beck, the fencing to run alongside the path between the path and the riverside.

The fencing will include 4 small gates “to allow access for the anglers”.

The £18,000 project has the support of the landowner and has received a £4,000 grant towards the cost form a National Park administered award.

Unfortunately, the first we knew of the scheme was when we read about it in the Craven Herald on July 16th.

The National Park Authority has given the public until August 21st to comment. The Dales Way Association has prepared a report on the scheme, which can be found on our website.

The proposal is likely prove very unpopular with local walkers.

See the DWA report at:- http://www.dalesway.org/downloads/Hebden-fencing-report.pdf

Bolton Priory footbridge closed for repairs

priory bridge

The popular footbridge at Bolton Priory, which carries the Dales Way footpath across the river Wharfe, is to be closed for 2 days from Monday August 3rd to Wednesday August 5th.

In February the bridge was damaged by floodwater and in March the National Park Authority put a 6 month closure order on the bridge, though people continued to cross it.

High waters have delayed the repair work, which involves replacing a section of the bridge nearest to the Abbey. Local contractors will be carrying out the work.

Walkers should stick to the east side of the river from the Priory, taking the access road from the Cavendish memorial to the Cavendish Pavilion, to rejoin the Dales Way there.

Patchy reboot to Dales Way

The Station Inn at Riiblehead has re-opened

As businesses gradually open up again walkers are returning to the Dales Way, some doing day walks or short sections and others planning to walk the whole trail. Companies like Brigantes, Contours and Sherpa Van are booking full walking holidays or baggage carriage and pubs, cafes and B&Bs are beginning to welcome guests again.

The Station Inn at Ribblehead – a popular spot for Dales Way walkers, has now re-opened.

The picture is not the same everywhere however and the situation is changing rapidly. In Dentdale for example we hear that only Stone Close Tearoom and Ewegales Campsite are currently open while all three pubs remain closed.

It is important therefore that walkers check with individual businesses before setting off.

A list of accommodation providers can be found at http://www.dalesway.org/accommodation.htm

Follow the Great Dales Way race

Over 150 runners set off from Bowness-on-Widermere this morning at 8.30 a.m. to run the whole 80 miles of the Dales Way as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations.

DalesWayrace

By 4 p.m. this afternoon the front runners had reached Gearstones (see above).

You can follow the progress of the great Dales Way challenge race live by going to the website:

https://tracking.racedrone.net/osmap/?dales-way&fbclid=IwAR2JgvTcat562wQ4BX1Ou_qZ0Ysnwtxp1fMANM-W0MIU8dHKHpvxSc5Oe0o

The race is being organised by Punk Panthers and you can find full details on their website:

http://punkpanther.co.uk/dales-way-challenge/

Despite the recent rain it has been hot and sunny today, which has taken its toll.

There are eight checkpoints along the way, with the final one at Ilkley opening at 8 p.m. this evening. The front runners are expected some time after that. Why not join them and cheer them in.

The First Dales Way Walk

2009anniversarywalk

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.