A 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales
A Dales High Way Walk: a 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales

A Dales High Way

News Archive 2011

Early Anglo-Saxon site uncovered on Ingleborough

A team of volunteers from the Ingleborough Archaeology Group have excavated Volunteers form the Ingleborough Archaeology Group excavate the site at Selside the earliest example of an Anglo-Saxon building in the Yorkshire Dales.

The site, in Upper Pasture, near Selside, on the eastern flank of Ingleborough, was excavated over 11 days in spring this year. The excavation was led by Dr. David Johnson, who said: "We uncovered a small, rectangular, partly stone-built building with two rooms and in it we found 16 pieces of charcoal impressed into the compacted soil floor.

"Two of these were sent for radiocarbon dating and returned identical dates - between AD660 and 780, which puts the end of the site's use firmly within the Anglo-Saxon period. That makes this building the only firmly-dated, post-Roman archaeological site in Ribblesdale - which is of more than local significance."

The area around Ingleborough is beginning to reveal a detailed pattern of human occupation throughout the historic and pre-historic period. In 1975 a Viking-age settlement was excavated on the mountain's northern flank at Gauber, by a team led by Dr. Alan King. A number of coins dated that site to the ninth century.

Robert White, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's Senior Historic Environment Officer, said: "This is an exciting discovery and one which is a credit to the group for the professional way they approached and conducted the excavation.

"The results help fill in a picture of how life and farming communities developed in the Dales and shows just how much unrecorded archaeology there still is."

See the Ingleborough Archaeological Group's report here. Find out more about Dales archaeological sites here.

20 December 2011

National Park extension wins approval

Plans to extend the boundaries of both the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District View south from Great Kinmond on the Orton fells, with the northern Howgills in the distance. National Parks have won the approval of Natural England, the public agency responsible for advising the government on the environment. The decision follows a second round of public consultations.

Natural England's recommendations will now go to the Secretary of State Caroline Spelman for approval.

The second round consultations looked in particular at the future designation of the Orton Fells which lie to the north of the Howgill Fells, and include the fine limestone pavements of Great Asby Scar. A large number of those who responded supported the inclusion of the Orton Fells in the Dales National Park, including most of those who lived in the area. But there was opposition from both Cumbria County Council and Eden District Council, as well as a number of local parish councils.

Natural England has decided:

1) the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park should be varied to the north, to include parts of the Orton Fells, the northern Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang; and to the west, to include Barbon, Middleton, Casterton and Leck Fells, the River Lune and, part of Firbank Fell and other fells to the west of the river; and

2) the boundary of the Lake District National Park should be varied to the east, to include an area from Birkbeck Fells Common to Whinfell Common; and to the south to include an area from Helsington Barrows to Sizergh Fell, and part of the Lyth Valley, including the small new addition of land North of Sizergh Castle.

The route of A Dales High Way crosses both the Howgill Fells and the Orton Fells in it's final stages on its way to Appleby-in-Westmorland.

There will be further opportunity for public scrutiny, and if objections continue a public inquiry may result.

See previous posting here. Natural England's Lakes to Dales Designation project here.

9 Dec 2011

Sedbergh Folkfest cancelled for 2012

The very popular Sedbergh Folk Festival will not take place in 2012. A message The Sedbergh Folkfest team prepare for the 2011 festival appearing on the festival website simply says "There will be no Sedbergh Folkfest in 2012 as we have decided to take a year off and have a rest!".

Sedbergh is considered one of the north's finest folk festivals. Originally known as Dent Folk Festival, it took on a more commercial form and moved to Sedbergh in 2009.

But in 2010 its public funding support, valued at around £10,000, came to an end. With the added factor of very bad weather, the festival made a loss. In August the Festival organisers announced an increase in prices for 2012:

"Recent loses, rising costs & improvements mean 2012 tickets will go up. Weekend, Concert, Camping up 12%, introduction of a charge to attend the Arena events of around £5 per day with a weekend Arena pass at around £10 for the weekend."

The new announcement has come as a shock, Festival organiser Alec Lyon has promised to continue to run one-off events at various venues through next year.

Meanwhile it seems the parallel free community Dentdale Music & Beer Festival is still on.

See previous post here. See Sedbergh Folkfest site here and the Dentdale Music & Beer Festival here.

25 Nov 2011

Dales High Way to feature in Walk conference

Ten years ago the Foot and Mouth outbreak saw most footpaths in the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbrian Fells closed overnight. The result was a disaster for the rural economies of those areas, and a wake up call to the authorities as to how important walkers are.

So it's fitting that a decade later a one-day conference will turn the spotlight back on country walking, whether for health and pleasure or as an important factor in the modern rural economy.

A presentation on A Dales High Way, and the impact the long distance route has on the Dales economy, will feature in the afternoon.

Celebrated author Colin Speakman will deliver the key note talk on Walking: a cultural, environmental and human health perspective. He will be drawing on his long experience of work in the Yorkshire Dales and the extensive research he undertook for his recent acclaimed book Walk! A celebration of striding out.

"We have the finest rights of way legislation in the world. I've walked in Germany, France, Austria, absolutely magnificent, but when you look at our spider's web of little trails that you know you can walk and have the right to walk, it's one of the towering achievements", he said.

There will also be contributions about the Dales Railways, a new Wainwright long distance trail, walkers and sustainable public transport, and the benefits of walking in cancer rehabilitation.

The conference takes place at Victoria Hall, Saltaire on Wednesday, 16 November, starting at 11.30 a.m. and the fee of £15 includes lunch provided by the popular local Terrace Café bar.

There are still places available. If you're interested contact the Settle-Carlisle Enterprise network on 01969 650187

Get more details and a copy of the Conference programme here. See the Terrace café Bar here.

12 Nov 2011

Ilkley Moor footpaths resurfaced

Work to resurface eroded paths on Ilkley Moor is nearing completion, with rotting New flagstones laid on Ilkley Moor boardwalks being replaced by stone flags.

Work has been carried out on well used paths on the top of the moor, between Whetstone Gate and the trig point, as well as the main footpath leading from Lanshaw Lad down to Ilkley Crags, on the route of A Dales High Way. In total a kilometre length of footpath has now been resurfaced.

The 300 tons of flags came from a Manchester Mill and were flown onto site by helicopter. But not enough flags were brought in to quite finish the work, so more are expected in the near future.

The restoration work is part of the £1.9 million South Pennines Watershed Landscape project, which aims to conserve and study the uplands stretching from Ilkley to the south of Huddersfield, including Rombalds Moor.

Danny Jackson, countryside and rights of way manager for Bradford Council, said flagstones would encourage people to stick to the path: "We know it's a successful technique to restore the vegetation at the edges of the paths," he said. "We're restoring an eroded landscape."

See previous post here. See also The Friends of Ilkley Moor here.

1 Nov 2011

First outing for Friends of A Dales High Way

The Friends of A Dales High Way met on a glorious Saturday afternoon to walk Friends of A Dales High Way and members of the Dales Way Association climbing through Trench Woods the first stretch of the long-distance trail from Saltaire to Ilkey.

It was the first organised event for the fledgling group, and they teamed up with the Dales Way Association (DWA) who were walking the Bradford Dales Way Link. The two walks share a similar route between Saltaire and Ilkley.

The Friends met up with the DWA on the canal path at Saltaire and set off, climbing through Trench Woods and onto Shipley Glen under clear blue skies. At Golcar Farm the two groups split, each following their own respective routes onto Rombalds Moor, before meeting up again 2½ miles later at a boundary marker where the three local moors of Ilkley, Bingley and Burley meet.

After a brief rest, on they went, passing the Twelve Apostles stone circle before the steep climb down over Ilkey Crags to White Wells, where the flag was flying and the cold waters of the Victorian bath house looked most welcoming. Dales Way author Colin Speakman entertained the group throughout, with anecdotes and details about the various sights on offer.

Leaving the route of A Dales High Way then, it was down into Ilkley for a pint or two of Mary Jane before hopping on the train for home.

A grand day out and a great success for the fledgling Friends. Membership is free, so why not join up now?

More details on the Friends of A Dales High Way here. See Chris's report of the walk here.

16 Oct 2011

High Way features on Radio Ramblings

A Dales High Way features on the popular Radio 4 programme Ramblings this Radio 4 Ramblings on the Dales Way: Fleur Speakman, Chris Grogan, Clare Balding, Colin Speakman. week. Dales High Way author Chris Grogan joined Colin and Fleur Speakman and presenter Clare Balding to walk a section of the Dales Way.

As they follow the course of the River Wharfe, through the dale of the same name, Clare hears from Colin and Chris about their passion for walking in this landscape. Colin explains about the imagination of the Romantic writers who inspired generations of people to enjoy the countryside, his love of long distance walking, his passionate belief in rights for ramblers and his fight to keep paths open and accessible for all.

The remnants of Hurricane Karina almost put paid to the recording, but the route was switched from the high level section between Grassington and Kettlewell for a more sheltered riverside section from Grassington back to Burnsall.

The Dales Way is one of Britain's most popular and cherished routes and for over 40 years walkers have followed its route from Ilkley in Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere, passing through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the foothills of southern Lakeland.

It also inspired the creation of A Dales High Way, a sister route to the Dales Way which does what it says on the tin and follows a higher level route from Saltaire to Appleby-in-Westmorland.

The programme is transmitted at 06.07 on Saturday 1st October, and again at 15.00 on Thursday 6 October on BBC Radio 4.

Photo shows (from left) Fleur Speakman, Chris Grogan, Clare Balding, Colin Speakman.

Listen to the programme on BBC i-player here. See the Dales Way Association website here.

1 October 2011

The Festival Season's Not Over Yet

Organisers of Saltaire Festival are hoping that the sun will continue to shine this Salatire Festival's Music Piazza weekend. Traditionally the festival finishes with a weekend of outdoor fun and this year is no exception. The Continental Market starts on Friday and on Saturday and Sunday there is the huge Festival Gala, with its funfair and stalls, in Roberts Park.

A highlight of the festival is always the live music on the Piazza Stage. Starting at noon both days festival goers can enjoy sounds from performers as diverse as the Phoenix Ceilidh Band and the 50's rock 'n' rollers Eddie Earthquake and the Tremors. A beer, some sunshine, what could be better?

Walkers on A Dales High Way may come across other festivals this month. Skipton International Puppet Festival takes place from 23rd to 25th September - watch out for those giant sheep, and Sedbergh, England's only Book Town, is organising a programme of late summer literary events under its The Write Idea banner, starting on September 21st.

See Saltaire Festival website here; Skipton Puppet Festival here; and Sedbergh's Write Idea here.

15 September 2011

One off the wish list for Dales Rescue Team

The Upper Wharfedale Rescue team have taken possession of a brand new Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Teams new Incident Control Vehicle Incident Control Vehicle packed with state of the art communications. The hi-tech VW Transporter, which includes a 40 foot electronic mast that extends at the push of a button, replaces an old box trailer which had to be towed to major incident scenes.

Transport Officer Mike Brown is delighted at this huge advance for the team. "The old trailer was 30 years old and just had a couple of radios inside and with no heating. It was pretty grim in winter and as it only had room for one person, discussions with our controllers, the police and other key personnel had to done outside against the elements. We had to make the old trailer work but it was hard going."

It took the team over four years to raise the required funds plus many months of setting out a very detailed specification both for the vehicle and then the communications equipment for the demanding rescue work they perform in the Dales.

One of four Fell Rescue teams that cover the area of A Dales High Way, last year they took part in 40 emergency call outs. Just two weeks ago they assisted the Clapham based Cave Rescue Organisation at an emergency near Selside.

A group of four adults and eight teenagers became trapped in Long Churn Cave Rescue operation at Long Churn Cave, Aug 10 2011 following heavy rainfall and severe flooding. Initially water levels were too high for the teams to enter the cave, but eventually the level fell for a short 50 minute period and search teams were able to locate the party sheltering beyond the Cheese Press and assist them to the surface, none the worse for their ordeal.

The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue team, based in Grassington, is the third oldest team in the country with more than 80 highly trained volunteers on call 365 days a year. They are one of only three teams in the country who perform both surface and underground rescues - all three are in the Yorkshire Dales.

See our previous post here. The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Team website here, and the Cave Rescue Organisation here.

26 Aug 2011

Three Peaks path wins cash boost

A bid for conservation work near Pen-y-ghent by the Three PeaksPen-y-ghent from Horton Station Project topped an online poll for crucial Eurocash aid.

The bid was voted top of four similar British campaigns by the public and will pick up 30,000 Euros (£26,154) for improvements to an alternative route on the popular Three Peaks Challenge Route.

The Three Peaks Challenge is a 24-mile endurance walk crossing Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough and the Three Peaks Project aims to encourage charities, organisations and individuals to help in the maintenance and conservation of the network of paths that has to cope with 250,000 visitors each year.

A notoriously boggy section of the route over Horton Moor and Black Dubb Moss - between Pen-y-ghent and Ribblehead - has become badly eroded and the topsoil has been washed away, causing significant damage to internationally-important peat habitat.

An alternative route over Whitber Hill passes over drier ground and uses mainly existing paths. With some work, it could be developed as an alternative official route.

Steve Hastie, Three Peaks project manager, said: "This really is excellent news. It means we can put the missing link in to the circuit so that walkers will be able to avoid the infamous Black Dubb Moss and we can put in place appropriate revegetation work to help the damaged land recover. Once it's all finished, we will, for the first time, have a sustainable circuit."

A Dales High Way uses some well-maintained sections of the Three Peaks route as it crosses Ingleborough.

The winning bid was put forward by the Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust.

See previous posting here. Find out about the Three Peaks Project here, and the Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust here.

If you've walked the Three Peaks Challenge Route, please fill in this simple Three Peaks Project survey here.

10 August 2011

World Heritage sites linked in 210 mile walk

The two World Heritage sites of New Lanark and Saltaire were linked this week in a very David King, Dave Shaw and Roger Clarke arrive in Saltaireunusual way. A small but enthusiastic group of supporters turned out to greet Roger Clarke, Dave Shaw and David King as they walked into the Boathouse pub in Saltaire yesterday, completing the 210 mile walk they had devised.

"It seems very likely that Titus Salt was influenced by Robert Owen's New Lanark mill and village when he came to build Saltaire", said historian Dave Shaw, "and we wanted to celebrate the bonds between these two unique sites".

New Lanark lies about 25 miles southeast of Glasgow. Founded in 1786 by David Dale, who built cotton mills and housing for the mill workers, it became a successful business and an epitome of utopian socialism under the stewardship of Robert Owen.

The walkers had an outline plan of the route they would take but assessed it every evening and made changes if necessary. They used established long distance paths where possible and in fact were partly inspired to undertake the trek by A Dales High Way which covers the 90 miles from Appleby to Saltaire.

"One of the highlights for me was getting back to the Dales and feeling the limestone under our feet, "said Roger. "Seeing Ribblehead Viaduct and knowing we were only 45 miles from home was a great moment."

While Roger and Dave walked, David King provided excellent support, driving the luggage between overnight stops and on occasion ferrying the walkers to B&Bs which were a little off-route. David, along with two others, joined Dave and Roger for the final seven miles from Ilkley and the triumphant entry into the Boathouse where celebratory pints of Saltaire Blonde were waiting.

Read the full account of the walk on the Saltaire Village website. See also New Lanark website here.

27 July 2011

Kings Head in Ravestonedale re-opens for business

These days it's tough going making a pub work, especially in remote rural areas. So it's The Kings Head Hotel, Ravenstonedale good news to see The Kings Head in Ravenstonedale - a beautiful pub of great character - reopen after a two-year closure.

The grade-II listed pub has undergone a complete refurbishment and now has six en-suite bedrooms, with WiFi facilities, plasma televisions and a choice of shower or bath, providing useful accommodation for walkers on A Dales High Way.

Owner Chris Metcalfe-Gibson said: "The new and vibrant management team is determined to restore the reputation of this traditional Cumbrian pub as a welcoming hostelry in which good food, real ales and excellent accommodation can be enjoyed."

Ravenstonedale is a lovely Cumbrian village at the northern foot of the Howgills, directly on the alternative route of A Dales High Way and one-mile from Newbiggin-on-Lune on the main route. The village has another pub, the Black Swan Hotel, with an adjacent small shop.

Most remote rural Inns were established centuries ago to cater for early pack-horse traders and cattle drovers. They now provide food and accommodation for modern-day travellers - walkers, cyclists and tourists. Many long-distance routes would be difficult without the crucial services they provide.

Sadly, not all pubs have made it through these harsh financial times. "Village life in Britain The New Inn, Hoff, in better days is dying out because rural pubs are closing at a record rate", said a report last year from the British Beer and Pub Association, which revealed pubs were closing at a rate of 25 a week. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "Along with local shops, post offices and schools, village pubs are pivotal to the life of local communities across Britain. Pubs act as much more than a social venue. They are a focal point for sports teams, local groups and meetings. In addition they provide a range of community services like post offices and shops."

One such casualty is The New Inn at Hoff, former home to the Appleby Blues Club. Just 2½ miles from the finish of A Dales High Way, it closed its doors three years ago and is unlikely to reopen as a pub.

See the Kings Head Hotel website here, and the Black Swan Hotel here. See also Ravenstonedale's village website here.

11 July 2011

Welcome to Glas-Dent-bury

"Welcome to Glas-Dent-bury" said folk singer Martin Stimson as he took the stage at Mud slide at Dentdale Music and Beer Festival 2011 Dentdale's third Music & Beer Festival on Saturday afternoon, in pouring rain.

The crowd gathered under umbrellas on straw bales, or squeezed under the canopy of the nearby food tent, for the open-air performance whilst kids enjoyed a mud-slide down the once grassy embankment.

But the downpours did little to spoil the event, the popularity of which is beginning to cause a strain on the resources of this quiet Dales village - the largest campsite at High Laning was fully booked weeks in advance.

The festival was created in 2009 to take the place of its predecessor - the Dent Folk Festival, which had moved 6 miles down the road and renamed itself The Sedbergh Folkfest. The free festival's huge success is in no small way due to the fact that it truly is a community event.

An army of volunteers prepare, cook and serve the amazingly delicious food at the Dentdale Deli - all sourced locally. Another army serves the wide range of real ales from the two on-site bars, and yet another run round stewarding the event.

At the village hall the local football team dish up breakfasts for bleary-eyed music fans. Impromptu session at the Sun Inn, Dentdale Music and Beer Festival 2011 And throughout the festival the two village pubs are a haven for the wet, cold and thirsty as they squeeze in to catch some of the many ad-hoc sessions that start up in any corner where a handful of musicians have gathered.

Even some of the main acts - Dick Gaughan; Heidi Talbot, Boo Hewerdine and John McCusker; and Charlie Dore are there because they've been sponsored by locals.

Funds are raised by sponsorship and by bucket collection, and as well as funding the next year's festival, the proceeds have been ploughed back into the community - helping to fund cave rescue, the primary school and the church bells. Funds also helped save the local bus service which was due to be cut completely. Festival committee member Peter Rushton said: "For some local residents, particularly teenagers, it's the only way of travelling out of the village."

Some walkers on A Dales High Way and the Dales Way were amongst the crowd as the sunshine appeared at last for the final day of the festival. Long may it continue.

See the Dentdale Music & Beer Festival website here, and the Sedbergh Folkfest here. See our previous post here.

26 June 2011

50,000 visit Appleby Horse Fair 2011

Appleby Horse Fair this year attracted record numbers of visitors, following the success of TV App;eby Horse Fair 2011. Photo - www.metro.co.uk series such as "The Lakes" and "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding".

Yet the fair was hailed a huge success despite an estimated total of 50,000 visitors in a town with a population of just 2,500. Reported crime was down 25% on last year.

Travellers spokesman Billy Welch said: "It's been a great fair this year. There was great weather on the first few days and lots of catching up with friends. I feel as though we're back on track after a difficult year in 2010."

For the first time this year the Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group, which oversees the fair, met daily with gipsies and travellers and community leaders. Police said this had helped to quickly resolve problems like 'boy racer' style driving around Market Field.

Assistant chief constable Jerry Graham said: "There have been a few isolated incidents of violence during this year's fair but overall, it has been more peaceful and enjoyable than in other years - despite the vast increase in visitor numbers."

Most of Appleby's pubs were open for business again this year, as blazing sunshine welcomed the start of the fair.

Appleby's St Lawrence's Church was a riot of colour and crystals at the weekend as ten gipsy children were baptised in one afternoon. TV camera crews packed out the church to capture the christening of Billy Welch's three year-old granddaughter Rachel, as well as her boisterous young guests chattering away in the front rows.

Appleby is the finishing point for walkers on A Dales High Way.

 See our previous posting here. See the officially Appleby Horse Fair website here.

11 June 2011

High Way Arts Trail Success

People were queuing this weekend to get into the Saltaire home of artist David Pictures inspired by A Dales High Way on show in artist David Starley's Saltaire home. Starley and see his new exhibition of paintings inspired by the landscapes of A Dales High Way.

David is one of the artists exhibiting at Saltaire Arts Trail - a three-day event featuring Open Houses and a fantastic opportunity to see art in traditional Saltaire village homes.

This year 12 local residents played host to over 50 artists, allowing the public to visit their homes and view the art. Other events included An Evening with Colin Speakman and friends - the celebrated Dales Way author led a discussion in a packed Saltaire Bookshop about the close affinity between the arts and walking the landscape.

Saltaire Arts Trail is a hugely popular annual event bringing thousands of visitors to the village. After all, what's not to like - the chance to see beautiful things AND poke around other people's houses. As one visitor was overheard to say: "I haven't bought any pictures, but I have seen a FABULOUS kitchen."

See previous posting here. See more of David's pictures here. More information about Saltaire Arts Trail here.

30 May 2011

The mysterious Hound of Addingham High Moor

"Look out for the Hound of Windgate Nick. Won't say more or it will spoil the The Hound of Windgate Nick, Addingham High Moor, in May 2011 showing signs of wear surprise - but you will know it when you see it." This advice posted by a newly returned Dales High Way walker to fellow walkers has added to a mystery that has been confounding Ilkley residents since the strange beast first appeared in January this year.

For perched high on a rocky outcrop above Addingham Moorside, right on the route of A Dales High Way, is a willow sculpture of a wolf (or hound - you decide) baying at the moon. Who made it or how it got there nobody knows - or if they do they're certainly not telling.

Intrepid reporter Amanda Greaves, of the Ilkley Gazette, has been doing her best to find out and has appealed to readers for help. Ilkley resident Colin Speakman, chairman of the Dales Way Association and deviser of the classic long distance walk that starts in the town is also perplexed. "The Wolf of Ilkley Moor … we need Sherlock Holmes" he said.

One idea was that it might be part of the Watershed Landscapes Project, which The Hound in January 2011. Photo: John Hunt has commissioned artists to create work inspired by the moors. That was soon scuppered when Robin Gray from Pennine Prospects, the organisation leading the project, said, "I'm sorry to say I can't help….intriguing!"

Everyone has their own theory including Friends of Ilkley Moor chairman Owen Wells. He links the beast to the willow sheep which were displayed in Ilkley's Darwin gardens last summer and says, "The wickerwork wolf at Windgate Nick appears sleek and well fed. Meanwhile, the wickerwork sheep in Darwin Gardens have disappeared."

Whoever made the sculpture has given local residents and walkers on A Dales High Way a lot of fun and entertainment. The poor old animal has taken a bit of a battering in the recent high winds and his back legs are somewhat worse for wear so he may not last much longer. But for a short while The Hound of Wingate Nick has taken his place up on the moors alongside the rock art that has survived for thousands of years. See him while you can and enjoy this great example of guerrilla art.

Photos: (Top) The Wolf in May, beginning to show signs of wear. (Below) The Hound as it first appeared in January (photo: John Hunt)

See the original Ilkley Gazette story here, the Watership Landscapes Project here and the Friends of Ilkley Moor here.

14 May 2011

Dales High Way Art

The natural beauty of A Dales High Way is not just attracting walkers to the Ribblehead Viaduct at Sunset - David Starley route, it has now inspired an artist to create a new exhibition of paintings devoted entirely to scenes from the walk.

David Starley is a talented Saltaire landscape artist. His atmospheric oil paintings capture the changing moods of the Yorkshire Dales in a way that no other media quite manages. His work is highly textured with paint layered thickly onto the canvas. Stand too close and the pictures look nothing more than random blobs and peaks. Stand back and a changing landscape emerges as light moves across the picture.

In late 2010 David began to walk A Dales High Way and quickly realised that many of the themes of his work; prehistoric rock art on Rombald's Moor, the flower meadows of Dentdale, the golden stonework of Saltaire itself were all to be seen on the route. Excited by the varied landscapes along the way, David is now working on "Dales High Way Art", an exhibition of paintings inspired by the walk.

"It is a fantastic route and it offers so much to an artist" said David. "Last month I was painting birch woods near the start of the walk in Saltaire and now I've just completed a picture of Ribblehead Viaduct. There is so much more to see and I'm really looking forward to it."

The exhibition will be launched as part of Saltaire Arts Trail 2011, from May 28th - 30th in David's own Saltaire home in Albert Road. It then moves on to Grassington, Ilkley, Settle and Penrith before returning to Saltaire in December.

Rough Haw and Sharp Haw from Moor Lane, Hetton - David Starley

Exhibition dates:

Saltaire - Arts Trail, 75 Albert Road, Saltaire 28 - 30 May 
Grassington - Fractal Press Gallery 3 June - 8 July 
Ilkley - Anstey Galleries 14 July - 20 Aug 
Settle - Dales Gallery tbc 
Penrith - Upfront Gallery 23 Aug - 2 Oct 
Saltaire - Butterfly Rooms 5 Nov - 17 Dec

See more of David's pictures here. More information about Saltaire Arts Trail here.

3 May 2011

Alpacas pack back for celebrations

Two Dales High Way walkers were spotted yesterday, setting off from Saltaire Alapacas at Saltaire surrounded by alpacas.

As the pair made their way down Victoria Road from the start of the walk they ran into the closing event of Saltaire's World Heritage celebrations - an alpaca parade. These three live animals were joined by a number of model alpacas decorated by local community groups to commemorate the wool that made the fortune that built Saltaire. 

In 1836, Titus Salt came upon some forgotten bales of alpaca wool in a warehouse in Liverpool which he bought and used to create a fine and very fashionable cloth. Its commercial success helped Titus expand his new business and by 1843, with five mills in operation he was one of Bradford's leading manufacturers. 

Bradford at that time was a grim and dangerous place, with horrendous working and living conditions and a life expectancy of just 20 years. Chartists were beginning to organise against the brutal conditions in the mills and Titus wanted out. He chose a greenfield site near Shipley which had plenty of land adjoining the river, the canal and the railway line. It was perfect. He began to build his mill and the model village which surrounds it. The rest as they say is history. 

Rob Martin, chair of Saltaire Village Society said, "This is the first time we have celebrated World Heritage Day in Saltaire, but I suspect it won't be the last. It's 10 years since Saltaire became a World Heritage site so we should have a party. We are hoping it will become an annual event and over the years our herd of decorated alpacas will just grow and grow." 

For more information about the history of Saltaire see "A Dales High Way Companion". To find out what else is going on in Saltaire see The Saltaire Village Website here

19 April 2011

Public backs National Park extension

Proposals to extend the Yorkshire Dales National Park to take in areas to the The northern Howgill Fellsnorth, along the route of A Dales High Way, have received overwhelming public backing.

If the proposals are finally approved, walkers on A Dales High Way could find themselves mostly inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park from just north of Skipton to a point just short of Hoff, three miles from Appleby itself.

In December 2009 Natural England began a public consultation into plans to extend the boundaries of both the Lake District & the Yorkshire Dales National Parks, to include areas which met the requirements for inclusion, but had been left out in the past.

Areas considered for the Yorkshire Dales included the Northern Howgill Fells and Mallerstang to the north and Barbondale and the Middleton Fells to the west. The area further north, including the Orton Fells, was considered for inclusion in either of the National Parks.

Over 70% of respondents backed the proposed extensions to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. 68% backed the inclusion of the Orton Fells into one of the Parks, with the majority opting for it's inclusion in the Yorkshire Dales.

The results were considered by the Natural England board on March 2nd. It approved a further public consultation on revisions to the boundaries made as a result of analysis of responses to the previous consultation, including the preferred option for the Orton Fells.

A second phase of consultation will take place between March and June 2011, with the Natural England Board expected to consider final proposals in September 2011. The Board's decision about any extension for either National Park would then be submitted to Defra for confirmation.

Ruth Chambers, Deputy Chief Executive at the Campaign for National Parks, welcomed the findings:

"It's good news that there is such strong public support for the extension of these National Parks but then that's hardly surprising given the stunning landscapes that are being discussed - areas like the northern Howgills, Mallerstang and Borrowdale in Westmorland are all of undeniable National Park quality and represent unfinished business from the 1950s, when the Park boundaries were first devised. The sooner that the National Park extensions can be completed the better so that the areas can begin to enjoy the benefits that National Park designation brings."

See the 'Lakes to Dales - Landscape Designation Project' website here. View a summary of the consultation results here. See a plan of the proposed extensions here.

4 April 2011

The Dales on TV

Following the success of the TV documentary series The Lakes, Monday sees Ade Edmondosn with Philip Mellin & mum Carol the launch of The Dales. In a new, 12-part series for ITV1, Adrian Edmondson returns to the county of his birth, Yorkshire, to bring us the stories behind a summer in the life of the Yorkshire Dales.

Featuring prominently in the series is 16 year-old Philip Mellin who has just left school and is taking on the running of the family farm, alongside his mum Carol, after the death of his dad last year.

We also meet Dales vet Neil Roberts who works for Dalehead Veterinary Group in Ribblesdale. The practice covers an area of over fifteen hundred square miles of the Yorkshire Dales and with over one hundred thousand animals on their books there's a lot of routine work to be done.

Presenter Ade Edmondson grew up in Bradford and used to spend many of his childhood summers in the Yorkshire Dales with his family. He performed at the Sedbergh Folk Festival in 2009 with his band The Bad Shepherds.

One of Ade's highlights of the series is the Ribblehead Viaduct, on the route of A Dales High Way. He said: "The Ribblehead Viaduct is one of the most stunning pieces of architecture only matched by its extraordinary location. It looks like something not from this world - like a special CGI effect for a movie. While we were there filming the sun kept going in and out, and the shadow play on the arches was ethereal and magical, like being in a giant cathedral."

The Dales starts on Monday March 28th on ITV1 and ITV HD at 8.00 p.m. and runs for 12 weeks. If you missed it, catch up on the ITV Player here. See Ade Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds here and find out more on the Welcome to Yorkshire website.

26 March 2011

Three Peaks Conservation work needs your vote

Your vote is needed to help win funds for crucial conservation work that is Descending from Pen-y-ghenturgently required on the Three Peaks Challenge Route near Pen-y-ghent.

The work is aimed at offering an improved section for walkers tackling the 24-mile route between Pen-y-ghent and Ribblehead.

Steve Hastie, Area Ranger for the National Park Authority, said "The challenge is tackled by many thousands of people each year, and much of the route is a sustainable walking surface catering for these numbers as they pass through the best wildlife habitat and scenery the Dales has to offer.

"There is one exception - between Pen Y Ghent and Ribblehead through High Birkwith. For this section most walkers use the route over Horton Moor and Black Dubb Moss. Heavy use of these areas is causing significant damage to internationally important peat habitat. An alternative route lies over Whitber Hill, though this route is less-well used. It passes over drier ground and uses mainly existing paths, but needs some development work. This is an opportunity to help us restore the wildlife habitat in the area, while creating a better route."

Erosion on Pennine Way above BirkwithA 30,000 Euro fund is being offered by the European Outdoor Conservation Association to the scheme that receives the most votes. The Yorkshire Three Peaks scheme was put forward by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust in December, and is one of four UK schemes that have been shortlisted.

Trust director David Sharrod said "We believe that the Three Peaks Project would be a truly deserving winner of this vital funding boost that would allow us to work closely with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to protect this special route, now and for the future. To secure the funding that will make this project possible, we will need your vote!"

Photos: Descending Pen-y-ghent (top). Path erosion on the Three Peaks route above Birkwith (bottom).

Voting is being hosted by Trail Magazine for the next 2 weeks. To vote online go to www.lfto.com/conservation and cast your vote NOW! Update, 25 March: Voting is now closed.

10 March 2011

New Pen-y-ghent Alternative for Dales High Way

A new optional alternative route, crossing Pen-y-ghent , has been devised for Jess on the summit of an icy Pen-y-ghent walkers who wish to take in all of the Yorkshire Three Peaks whilst walking A Dales High Way.

The official route only takes in Ingleborough, with an option to climb Whernside. But a number of walkers tackling the new long-distance trail have expressed a desire to add Pen-y-ghent. Indeed, some have altered their route to do so, following the Pennine Way from Malham, crossing Pen-y-ghent and dropping to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. But that has meant missing out some particularly spectacular sections of the walk, such as Attermire Scar, Settle and the River Ribble, and Crummackdale.

The new proposed Pen-y-ghent Alternative leaves the main route at Stainforth, to follow the Ribble Way, climbing the long ridge between Ribblesdale and Silverdale, straight to the summit of Pen-y-ghent, before following the Pennine Way down into Horton-in-Ribblesdale. From there the route climbs along Sulber Nick to rejoin the main route at the Shooting Hut ruin near Sulber.

The new optional route adds 4 miles to Section Three of the walk, with an additional 300 metres of ascent. It adds about 2 hours walking time, but gives the opportunity of a break at Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

Tony Grogan, co-author of the Dales High Way guides, said "Quite a few people have told us they wanted to take in all Three Peaks, and so we added this option for them. However, taking in Pen-y-ghent from Stainforth means missing out on some particularly fine scenery: by Smearset Scar; the lovely hamlet of Feizor with its very welcome farmhouse café, and of course the quiet, secluded beauty of Crummackdale.

"But, I think it's generally a good idea for people to alter long-distance routes to suit themselves, or to fit in with accommodation needs or weather conditions."

The Three Peaks area also gets very busy during summer weekends, so is probably best avoided at those times.

See details of the Pen-y-ghent - Three Peaks Alternative here, and download a PDF guide here. Find out more about the Friends of the Three Peaks here.

1 March 2011

New Dales Way guide makes history

In 1970 Colin Speakman wrote the very first guide book to the Dales Way - one Dales Way by Colin Speakman of Britain's best loved and most popular long-distance trails. Over 40 years on and his original book is now in its tenth incarnation.

This brand new publication from Skyware Press however, has a completely different look. Illustrated with 47 stunning full colour photos to match Speakman's compelling narrative, the book also features for the first time detailed full colour strip maps of the entire route at a scale of 1:25,000.

As well as being a beautifully produced guide book, however, 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!

It was Colin Speakman and his colleague Tom Wilcock who first devised the Dales Way in the mid '60s. The Way runs 78 miles from Ilkley to Windermere, mostly along riverside paths. Colin and Fleur Speakman were the first to walk the Dales Way - surveying the entire route in detail in the summer and autumn of 1968.

In April 1969 Colin accompanied a group of Venture Scouts from Bradford Bradford Grammar School Venture Scouts at Ilkley station, April 1969 Grammar School on the first leg of their pioneering trek to test out the new route. In just three and a half days, enduring harsh weather conditions, the intrepid schoolboy troupe proved the trail was indeed viable.

A brief guide was produced by the West Riding Area of the Ramblers Association and in May 1969 the route was officially launched as 120 ramblers left Ilkley to walk the initial six miles of the new Dales Way.

A study in the 1990's showed the Dales Way was one of the five most popular long-distance trails in the UK, along with the Coast to Coast (no 1), The Pennine Way, Offa's Dyke path and the Cotswold Way. An estimated 4,000 people walk the whole Dales Way each year. As a relatively gentle walk, mostly along riverside paths, it is the first long-distance trail many people tackle.

It was also the inspiration for A Dales High Way - an altogether more challenging route which complements the Dales Way perfectly and is proving to be a popular follow-up walk. Skyware Press also publish the Dales High Way guides.

DALES WAY - the Complete Guide by Colin Speakman. 
ISBN: 978-0-9559987-2-0 (Skyware Ltd) March 2011. A5, perfect bound, 112 pages. Price: £9.99

Get copies of the new book from Skyware Press here. Read the first published account of the Dales Way walk by the Bradford Grammar School Venture Scouts here.

18 February 2011

Cumbria steps back from drastic footpath cuts

Cumbria County Council is having second thoughts after announcing a drastic 70% cut to its rights of way budget.

Floods wash away a footpath at Cuddling Hole, near Appleby in  2010The proposed cuts, trimming £800,000 from its annual spend of £1.2 million on Country Access, came as a response to the government's austerity measures which are forcing councils to reduce overall budgets by 30% in the next four years.

But the outcry from the public and other bodies has led senior councillors to rethink.

Richard Greenwood, director of development for Cumbria Tourism, told BBC Radio: "It's a real concern. I think we'd be asking Cumbria County Council to think again about the potential impact, not just for visitors but for local people as well, because about 20% of the people working in Cumbria are in the tourism industry and if the footpath network is the life blood of that tourism industry, we really need to be looking after it. It could have fairly dramatic ramifications and spill into joblessness and further economic recession if we're not careful."

Eddie Martin, leader of Cumbria County Council, told BBC's You and Yours on Friday: "We have responded to consultation and there was the clear voice coming back from the community - £800,000 cut in the rights of way program is too much. So we re-looked at it, we re-examined it and we've now reduced that cut by half a million pounds. So in fact we are only cutting by just over £300,000."

"Here in Cumbria 20% of our economy is generated through tourism - that's £2 billion a year. We really can't do anything that will harm the tourism industry and it could be argued that cutting the funding to the rights of way and countryside access would indeed harm the tourism industry. We can't let that happen" he said.

Cumbria County Council is responsible for all the footpaths followed by A Dales High Way north of the Howgill Fells. The Yorkshire Dales National Park is also facing a 30% cut in its budget, along with councils like Bradford and North Yorkshire which are responsible for upkeep of the southern sections.

Tom Franklin of the Ramblers Association said: "We're hearing of quite drastic cuts across the country. For instance in Bolton, Bolton Council is planning to make its entire rights of way team redundant and cut the budget to zero. Isle of Wight - an 80% cut in their capital repairs budget, Nottinghamshire 50% , and so the list goes on"

Picture: Floods wash away a footpath at Cuddling Hole, near Appleby, in 2010.

See the Cumbria County Council website, Cumbria Tourism, and the Rambler's Campaign page here. Listen to the BBC's You & Yours programme here.

30 January 2011

Appleby Horse Fair on The Lakes

ITV's popular documentary series The Lakes, which began a new series last Clip of Appleby Horse Fair from ITV's The Lakes week, is to feature Appleby Horse Fair in its programme tomorrow.

The historic Horse Fair, which transforms the quiet town of Appleby every June, attracts around 30,000 visitors each year as gypsies and travellers from across Britain, Ireland and the Continent head for the Fair to meet up with old friends, celebrate their culture and trade horses. The Fair is a hugely important event to gypsies and travellers, described by representative Billy Welch as "our Mecca". It also brings in an estimated £1.4 million to the local economy. But many local residents resent the disruption.

2008 saw a record number turn up for the Fair, and new rules were introduced last year by the Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) to help manage the event.

Their evaluation report for the 2010 Fair, drawn up with the feedback they received, noted:

  • the licensing arrangements were not satisfactory in that they lead to some licensed premises not opening for the period of the Fair.
  • the Gypsy and Traveller community felt that the policing arrangements were not proportionate to the event.
  • the local community felt the policing and regulatory changes reduced the problems previously encountered.
  • the transit arrangements (particularly in South Cumbria) worked well and improved the build up to the event.

The report concluded "Whilst the overall planning and implementation went well, there is a continuing need to get a correct balance between all sections of the community and it is clear that this has not yet been totally achieved."

Kevin Douglas, chair of the MASCG, said "There were a number of major changes to the operation of the Fair and that was quite a challenge to a lot of people, not least the Gypsy and Traveller community and I hope that people feel it made the event safer, more enjoyable and moved it some way back towards the vibrant cultural event it used to be."

Walkers on A Dales High Way hoping to catch the Horse Fair, should be aware that they are unlikely to be able to find accommodation in Appleby during Fair week. The ITV film, shot at last years Horse Fair, is introduced by Rory McGrath.

See the previous posting here, or catch up on ITV's The Lakes here.

9 January 2011

Off-roaders banned from Dales green lane

Walkers on A Dales High Way can expect a more peaceful and firm walk along Goredale Road, a section of beautiful green lane which leaves Langscar Gate near Malham Cove and heads west towards Settle.

TRO is removed from Langscar Gate access to Gorbeck Road in 2009

TRO overturned at Langscar Gate in
2009 (above) & the result (below).

Gorbeck Road damaged by recreational vehicles

Following a two-year legal battle, the Yorkshire Dales National Park finally succeeded in removing motorcycle and 4-wheel recreational motorists from the route, now part of the new Pennine Bridleway.

After initially imposing a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in 2008 - one of eight imposed by the park authority on sensitive green lanes - an appeal by the Motoring Organisation's group LARA led to the High Court overturning the decision the following year. Some off-roaders were quick to take advantage, and the lane was soon reduced to a quagmire, making access difficult for both walkers and horse riders.

Geoff Wilson, one of LARA's claimants and a former member of the park's Local Access Forum, said at the time: "I have a great fondness for the Yorkshire Dales and in many respects applaud the examples set by the Authority, but there are examples of the Authority acting unfairly and without appropriate balance for all elements of the Park community."

Dr Malcolm Petyt, the park authority's recreation member champion, said at the time that he was disappointed by the decisions: "The authority was always aware that any orders it made to restrict motorised vehicular use of green lanes were likely to be challenged by recreational motor vehicle users. However, we were the first national park authority to use these new powers and the outcome means that we, along with other national park authorities, now have greater understanding of the law following this judgement."

In fact the TRO had been overturned on a technicality, which meant that although the authority had to begin the lengthy legal and technical process again, they were eventually able to reinstate the order in August last year. There is unlikely to be another challenge.

At the same time most of Stockdale Lane, which is also followed by A Dales High Way, was confirmed as a Bridleway with no vehicular access.

So, enjoy happy and peaceful walking in 2011!

View the current TRO's in the Yorkshire Dales here. See the motorists' Land Access & Recreation Association (LARA) website here, and the Yorkshire Dales Green Lane Alliance here.

2 January 2011

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