30 years since rail closure threat
Exactly 30 years ago today British Rail issued notices announcing
its plans to close the Settle to Carlisle
Thus began an heroic six-year campaign to save it.
The ultimate success of that campaign has secured the
world-famous line’s future and seen the use of the line increase
over ten-fold, with 1.2 million passengers now travelling on it each
year – including walkers returning at the end of A Dales
The line had been in danger since the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.
British Rail deliberately ran down the line, closing stations and
axing services, so that by the 1970s just two daily services were
running, stopping only at Appleby between Settle and Carlisle. Then
British rail announced that Ribblehead Viaduct was in danger of
collapsing, and replacement would cost over £6 million.
Undaunted, a huge campaign to save the line was launched, with
seasoned campaigners from Transport 2000 joining groups like the
newly formed Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line Association and
local authorities under the umbrella of the Joint Action Committee.
A record number of objections were submitted - from 22,265 people
and one dog!
And it later transpired that the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct could
be repaired after all – at a fraction of the cost proposed by BR.
On April 11, 1989, government minister Michael Portillo finally
signed the line’s reprieve. That act will be celebrated next year on
its 25th anniversary. Watch this space for details.
15 December 2013
Tour de France preparations step up a gear
Preparations for next year's Tour de France Grand Départ
stepping up a gear with just seven months to go.
The Grand Départ Stage 1 will leave Leeds on 5 July for a
breath-taking, 190-kilometre ride through the Yorkshire Dales
National Park to Harrogate. Cyclists will pass by Ilkley, Addingham,
Skipton and Hetton - all on the route of A Dales High
The route passes through Wharfedale, Bishopdale, Wensleydale and
Swaledale, with climbs over Kidstones from Wharfedale into
Bishopdale, Buttertubs Pass from Wensleydale to Swaledale and then
out of Grinton towards Leyburn.
And on the following day the cyclists will skirt through the
southern edge of the National Park as they ride past Bolton Abbey
and through Addingham again on their way from York to Sheffield.
With just over seven months to go, there have already been
numerous meetings with the Yorkshire Dales National Park
communities, landowners, and farmers along the route to find out
what facilities and events they want to stage.
National Park Authority Chairman Peter Charlesworth said: "The
staging of the Grand Départ is a fantastic opportunity for us to
showcase this amazing area to people all over the world – with the
added bonus that it also coincides with the 60th anniversary of the
creation of the National Park.
"An estimated 400,000 people are expected to line the route
within the National Park and for all the businesses and communities,
it’s a chance to boost their incomes like never before. And we are
pulling out all the stops to encourage the spectators to visit us
again when the Tour de France has long gone.
3 Dec 2013
New App for exploring Three Peaks area
A new downloadable smartphone app has been developed
help walkers explore the Three Peaks area of the Yorkshire Dales
The app will prove useful for walkers intent on tackling the
Three Peaks Challenge route, but will also provide a wealth of
information for other walkers exploring the area, including walkers
on A Dales High Way.
As well as route descriptions for the Three Peaks Challenge
route, using OS maps at 1:50,000, there are alternative routes up
these iconic mountains. There are archaeological and other Points of
Interest, stunning 360° panoramas from the summits; an augmented
reality 'toposcope' for each of the three peaks; advice on what to
wear and what equipment to bring; information on travel,
accommodation and places to eat.
The app has been developed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park
Authority and costs just £1.99 to download. It is currently only
available for iphone users, but an android version is expected
13 Nov 2013
Baildon becomes the latest Walkers Are Welcome town
Baildon is the latest town to achieve Walkers Are Welcome
status. It’s a pretty little place perched on the
of the moors above Saltaire with lots of opportunities for walking.
Walkers setting out on A Dales High Way
cross into Baildon parish soon after the start when they begin the
climb into Trench Wood.
Over 250 enthusiastic walkers turned out to celebrate the good
news at a launch event on October 19th. A fascinating presentation
entitled “Poets, Protestors, and Campaigners: 200 Years of the
Outdoor Movement” was given by Colin Speakman, walking campaigner
and author of over 50 books. Afterwards Colin cut a celebration cake
made especially to mark the event.
Richard Freeman, Chair of the Walkers Are Welcome Steering Group
said: “Colin Speakman’s presentation gave us a fascinating insight
into the contributory factors, including poetry, literature, and
campaigning - which have led to England having the finest rights of
way and access to the countryside in the world. It is this heritage
which Baildon Walkers are Welcome Steering Group want to continue to
Skyware Press, publishers of the Dales High Way guidebooks and
Colin Speakman’s Dales Way guide, was just one of a number of stalls
offering information and equipment which visitors browsed before
heading on to the moors to join one of six guided walks.
28 Oct 2013
One woman and her dog
Walkers on A Dales High Way may be
lucky enough to come upon a sheepdog trial in progress. If so,
please stop and watch for a while. It is quite enthralling to see
the skill of both handler and dog as they work together to coax a
group of lively sheep around a course of obstacles and into a pen.
Dales High Way author Chris Grogan is no stranger to sheepdog
trials. Her father John Murdoch was a well known Dentdale shepherd and dog
runner and her brother Ian has followed suit. Ian was a judge at
this year’s International Sheep Dog Trials and has won many cups and
trophies. Twenty year old niece Rachel is keeping up the family
tradition and recently won her first trial, beating her dad into 7th
“I’m so pleased for her” said Chris. “It’s great to see young
people carrying on traditional skills like dog running. Her grandad
would have been proud.”
Photo shows Rachel Murdoch and Mona at this season’s
opening Ryedale nursery trial.
14 Oct 2013
Skipton Puppet Festival sell-out
A new online booking system saw most events for the fifth Skipton
Puppet Festival sold out in advance.
there were plenty of free events, including 33 street performances,
for those who missed out.
Many of the shows and street performances were held at the
festival hub in Skipton's Coach Street car park and, on Sunday,
hundreds of people lined the streets of Skipton to watch a colourful
As usual the festival included a host of international
performers. “We were very glad to be invited to take part in this
festival,” said Ana Lorite, who manipulated a puppet that she carved
herself while staying in Grassington. “The people here are very
nice. Usually we don’t have audiences who are this kind. The Skipton
area is a really inspiring place, but maybe I thought that we
brought the sun with us from Spain.”
Festival administrator Clare Danek said “We couldn’t have wished
for a better festival. It’s been a great weekend and there’s nothing
that we would have done differently.
“People came from all over the country and across Europe, which
demonstrates that there’s a hunger for puppet shows.”
1 October 2013
Appleby Castle re-opens
For walkers on the last leg of A Dales High Way,
sight of Appleby Castle’s Keep means the end of the long trail
is at hand - it’s only a few minutes walk past the castle gates to
the Moot Hall and the end of the 90 mile journey.
For the last 12 years the castle gates have remained firmly
closed to the public, the legacy of a long running disagreement
between the owner and English Heritage about the development of the
Not anymore. Guided tours of the castle are being offered 4 times
daily by the current owner and her very knowledgeable staff. The
tour begins at the gates with a history of the castle and continues
along a 500 year old yew walk before going inside to explore the
Appleby Castle is no ruin. It is still very much a home and
family photographs hang alongside oil paintings of royalty. Lady
Anne Clifford is probably the best known of the castle’s owners and
the tour guides pay tribute to the “great Northern lady” with
anecdotes and stories – not all to her credit. When an enemy of hers
was held at the castle awaiting execution, Lady Anne famously
“forgot” to hand over a last minute reprieve until after the deed
The tour takes in the Great Hall, Lady Anne’s bedroom and reading
room, and the Round Tower. The Keep, alas, is still undergoing
structural repairs. The tour ends with tea and cakes and a chance to
chat further with the guides.
Each two-hour tour takes just 12 people and places must be booked
and paid for at Appleby Tourist Information Centre. The Town Mayor,
Andy Connell, said, “A lot of people have worked very hard to put
together a tour that’s informative, interesting and indeed at
various points exciting.”
See the Appleby Castle
website here, and the new
Appleby Town website here.
14 September 2013
Two Ways of exploring the Yorkshire Dales
Two new editions of long distance walk guides from Skyware Press
offer contrasting yet complementary ways to explore the Yorkshire
Dales and Cumbria.
Speakman’s Dales Way describes an 80-mile riverside route
from Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere. It is now in its eleventh
incarnation, since the very first edition was published by the
Dalesman in 1970.
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".
Tony & Chris Grogan’s A Dales High Way Route Guide
describes an altogether more challenging 90-mile long distance route
over the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales, from Saltaire
to Appleby. This new edition coincides with the completion of the
waymarking of this increasingly popular route.
Colin Speakman said “As the founder of the Dales Way and Chairman
of the Dales Way Association, I am a strong supporter of the Dales
High Way, which is already proving a popular and widely accepted
walking route through the Yorkshire Dales and east Cumbria. We see
it as complementary to and not in any way in competition to the
Dales Way - indeed once people have walked the Dales Way we often
suggest they come to the area again to walk the Dales High Way.
“It is a particularly lovely route and because it is at a higher
level to the Dales Way, offers a different kind of experience.
It is also offers a marvellous introduction to what we hope will
some become part of the extended Yorkshire Dales and Westmorland
Fells National Park if Natural England's proposals for the National
Park boundary extensions are adopted.”
25 August 2013
Skipton Woods Optional route
A couple of optional routes between Skipton and Tarn
are available to walkers starting Section Two of A Dales
The first is a very popular local walk along a canalside spur
beside Skipton Castle, leading onto a permissive path through
glorious Skipton Woods and up to the A65 road crossing. The woods
are owned by Skipton Castle, but managed by the Woodland Trust who
have resurfaced 2 km of track for the public to enjoy.
The second provides a safer alternative to the crossing of this
busy bypass, taking a diversion to cross at a nearby roundabout and
along a newly created footpath up to the Craven Heifer Inn.
An added advantage of combining these two options is a route
which is virtually guaranteed cattle-free!
The two optional sections add little in overall distance.
A PDF guide and map is available to download from this website.
6 August 2013
European award for Watershed Project
The South Pennines Watershed Landscape Project, which includes
community archaeology projects on Rombalds Moor and Baildon Moor, has
been awarded a prestigious Laureate Award from the European Union.
Europa Nostra award was announced at a ceremony in Athens on June
16th, with a local ceremony for both professionals and community
volunteers held at the Manor House Museum in Ilkley yesterday.
The judges noted: “The Jury thought the South Pennines Watershed
Landscape a most imaginative project for raising awareness of a rich
natural and archaeological heritage. Impressive in scale and
multidisciplinary in approach, it tells fascinating stories,
ensuring sustainable protection of the cultural landscape and
enhancing regional development. It has turned a once disregarded
area into a popular destination, attracting wide interest among the
local population, from children to a range of ethnic groups. A high
standard of academic research was matched by extensive publicity
through diverse popular channels.”
Speaking after the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, which was
held in the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, Community Archaeolgist Louise
Brown said: “The Europa Nostra Congress in Athens was really good
and I can report that, although we didn’t win a Grand Prix or the
Public Choice Award, the Laureate that we have been awarded is very
prestigious... indeed, we are regarded as exemplary across Europe! I
also received lots of very good feedback about the project over the
whole weekend. It was incredibly exciting that approximately 5000
people who were at the award ceremony saw a short film about the
Examples of the prehistoric rock art on Rombalds Moor can be seen
by walkers on the first stage of A Dales High Way.
21 July 2013
Dales High Way waymarking completed
Waymarking of the route of A Dales High Way
The final waymark was put up over Ingleborough by rangers from
the Yorkshire Dales National Park in July.
The completion of the waymarking comes as A Dales High Way marks
5 years since it’s formal launch as a long distance trail. The first
copy of A Dales High Way Route Guide was published in the summer of
The waymarks will help reassure walkers that they are on the
right track, and point in the right direction at forks in the trail.
But they should not be relied on to follow the trail on their own –
a proper guide or map are essential, especially over the high fells
were waymarks are few and far between.
The waymarking has been undertaken by volunteers from the
Friends of A Dales High Way working with officers from Bradford
Metropolitan District Council and North Yorkshire County Council,
together with rangers from Cumbria County Council and the Yorkshire
Dales National Park.
The waymarks across the Yorkshire Dales National Park were the
last to go up, after funding from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium
Trust was secured.
Julia Pearson, chair of the Friends said: "We were delighted when
we heard that Friends of A Dales High Way had been awarded a
Sustainable Development Fund grant from the YDNPA. We are a group of
volunteers who support and promote the route of A Dales High Way and
this grant has allowed us to produce a leaflet to let more people
know about this fantastic walk. Waymarking the trail has been our
priority this winter and we couldn't have completed the work without
the help of the Rangers who put up the waymarks in the Park. Walkers
setting off on A Dales High Way this year can look out for the
distinctive logos as they cross the glorious high country of the
10 July 2013
Dent Festival success
Forget Glastonbury. Dent Music and Beer festival
to grow - despite last year's deluge.
With local campsites booked to bursting point, this year's
festival has proved even more popular than ever.
And in order to cater for day visitors this year, the Festival
Committee laid on a minibus to carry visitors the 4½ miles
from Dent railway station to the village. This was in addition to
the normal Saturday bus service.
But when the Festival bus broke down, volunteers sprang to the
rescue and ferried stranded visitors back and forth in their own
cars. In the end, everyone seems to have made it home o.k.
The festival is run entirely by volunteers and is essentially
free - the purchase of a £5 wristband is optional, but does give a
£1-a-pint saving at the bar. And the festival still manages to raise
significant funds that go back into village community projects.
It's the great community atmosphere that makes the Dent festival
so attractive. Long may it continue!
1 July 2013
Community save vital services
The local community has stepped in to save vital services for
walkers and visitors in Sedbergh and Dent.
week saw the official opening of the community owned Sedbergh
Tourist Information Centre by Carl Lis, Chairman of the Yorkshire
Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).
It’s just over 18 months since the YDNPA agreed to sell the
building and local people have been hard at work fundraising.
Sedbergh White Knights are holding the building in trust while the
Sedbergh & District Community and Heritage Trust raise enough money
to secure the building for the community.
It has been transformed with a grant from the Big Lottery fund
and will act as both Tourist Information Centre and a Your Dales
Hub, providing local transport information for residents and
visitors alike. The Hubs are supported by the Dales Integrated
Transport Alliance (DITA), as part of their Dales Connect Project.
The Western Dales Bus is a new bus service set up by volunteers
from neighbouring Dent with financial help from DITA. They have
leased a 14 seater minibus from Cumbria County Council for a
Saturday service, which will connect Dent Station with Dent village,
Sedbergh and Kendal and be driven by volunteers. They have also
contracted Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire to run a Sunday service
through the summer to link Dent to Sedbergh and Hawes.
Jock Cairns, chairman of Western Dales Bus, said. “We hope to
develop a range of services which will meet local needs, but which
commercial operators are unable to run because they are not
As well as meeting local demand the bus, which will link with
trains on the Settle-Carlisle line, will be especially welcomed by
tourists and walkers visiting this beautiful part of the Yorkshire
Picture shows Tim Farron MP and Jock Cairns launch the Western
14 June 2013
Wildflowers greet Spring arrival
At last spring has arrived, and an abundance of
have come out to greet it.
At the end of the coldest spring for 50 years, the sun shone
brightly on Dales High Way walkers in
Crummackdale yesterday. Elaine’s farmhouse café at Feizor was
heaving as people made their way up to the wonderful wildflower
display at Wharfe and Oxenber Woods.
But everywhere there was a profusion of colour. Bird’s-eye
primrose and early purple orchids lined the banks of Sulber Nick,
bluebells and daisies crowded the tree-lined paths through
Crummackdale, and masses of bright white wild garlic carpeted the
wooded banks of the river Ribble.
Spring may be a month late, but now there’s no holding it back.
So get out there and enjoy it.
1 June 2013
Peregrine Chicks at Malham Cove
There's excitement in the air at Malham Cove thanks to
very special arrivals – three recently hatched peregrine chicks.
Walkers on A Dales High Way can enjoy
great views of the peregrine family through high-powered telescopes
at a special, free viewpoint set up by the RSPB and the Yorkshire
Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).
Ian Court, the YDNPA's Wildlife Conservation Officer, said: "Now
the chicks have hatched, the peregrine activity will increase over
the coming weeks. The adult male will be hunting to feed his young
family and once the chicks do not need as much protection, the adult
female will soon be doing the same.
"When the peregrines are hunting and feeding, it's a great time
for people to visit the site as there will be plenty of excellent
opportunities to see these incredible birds."
Peregrines have recorded speeds of more than 200 miles an hour –
about three times as fast as a cheetah – and watching them hunt is a
wildlife spectacle not to be missed.
Ella Dixon, the RSPB's Yorkshire People Engagement Officer, said
"Peregrines started nesting at the cove 20 years ago and since
then they have raised more than 40 young, so it's great to see this
continue with the latest arrivals. We hope as many people as
possible take up the opportunity to see the peregrines in the
The peregrine watch viewpoint will be open until 31 July and is
run by RSPB and YDNPA staff and volunteers from Saturdays to
Wednesday inclusive between 10.30am and 4.30pm (weather permitting).
14 May 2013
Sun greets 3 Peaks winners
The sun came out to greet fell runners as they crossed the finish
line for the 59th annual Three Peaks Fell Race today.
Joe Symonds repeated his victory of last year with an improved
time over the 23-mile course of 2 hours, 54 minutes and 34 seconds:
one minute and 2 seconds better than last year. Joe finished more
than 5 minutes ahead of his nearest rival, Karl Bell of Keswick AC,
having led the field from the start. He put the improved timing down
to a back wind up to Pen-y-ghent, and the new improved track over
year Joe was running for the Saloman International team – the main
sponsors of the event.
Karl Gray of Calder Valley Fell Runners came third, setting a new
record for the Over 40’s men’s veterans. Bingley Harrier’s Rob Jebb
– winner in 2009, came fourth. Jasmin Parris of Carnethy Hill RC was
the first woman to cross the line with a time of 3:33:04.
Horton-in-Ribblesdale was heaving as walkers taking on the
63-mile Fellsman Challenge were also in the area, crossing
Ingleborough and Whernside on their way to finish at Threshfield in
27 April 2013
April launch for Ride2stride 2
The second Ride2stride Walking Festival kicks off at the
of this month with a packed programme of walks, talks and music
along the world famous Settle to Carlisle railway line.
The week-long festival starts on Tuesday April 30th with a short
launch ceremony on Settle station at 09.50 on arrival of the 08.49
train from Leeds. After musical entertainment by members of
the Settle Singing for Pleasure Ensemble and a few warm words from
the Settle Town Mayor Joe Lord, walkers will have a choice of three
walks which will leave the station platform together.
There are a number of free walks every day from stations along
the line, including a historical and geological foray into
Crummackdale on Thursday, a strenuous 18-mile hike to Malham Tarn on
Saturday and an easy family story-walk around Settle on Sunday. Each
night sees music sessions at different pubs along the line.
Other highlights of the festival include; ‘The Elgar Way’ -
following in the footsteps of composer Edward Elgar and visiting
some of the places he loved around Settle on Monday; tours of the
industrial archaeological remains around Ribblehead Viaduct on
Wednesday, Saturday and Monday; and ‘Thunder in the mountains’ – a
talk by Bill Mitchell about life in the shanty towns during the
building of the line – based on his book of the same name.
The festival is organised jointly by an ad-hoc committee
representing a number of organisations including Friends of the
Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL), Friends of DalesRail (FDR), Yorkshire
Dales Society, Settle-Carlisle Enterprise Network (SCENe), Skyware
Press, and the 3 Peaks Folk Club.
Festival member Chris Grogan said “Last year was such a success
we decided to repeat the same formula this year. Ride2stride is for
everyone who loves the Yorkshire Dales. Whether you travel to an
event by train, live along the line or book your holiday to take
advantage of the festival, we're sure you'll have a great time.”
18 April 2013
Dales High Way Guestbook & Certificate
who finish A Dales High Way can now sign
the DHW Guestbook and pick up a completer's Certificate, courtesy of
the Appleby Tourist Information Centre.
The Tourist Information Centre is situated in the ancient Moot Hall at the foot of
Boroughgate, right at the end of the long distance trail.
TIC manager Nicola said: "We've had a lot of people coming into the
Centre after finishing walking A Dales High Way, looking for some
momento of their achievement. We're very pleased now that we have
the guestbook for them to sign, and we can print off a certificate
for them too."
The TIC stocks a range of walking guides, books, maps and quality
souvenirs and Made in Cumbria crafts, as well as
information on local accommodation and services. There's also an
Exhibition Room with monthly displays by local crafts people.
2 April 2013
structure is prehistoric
We still have no idea what this prehistoric structure on
Moor is, but we now know it's 4,000 years old.
One of several features excavated over a 2-year period on
Stanbury Hill, radio-carbon dating on hazelnut shells found in the
bottom of this walled oval pit are dated between 2035-1895 BC; early
Rombalds Moor is famous for its rich abundance of prehistoric
Rock Art – most notably the mysterious cup & ring rocks. The
Stanbury Hill Project was devised to comprehensively survey and
investigate a section of the landscape which included several carved
rock art panels.
Archaeologist Blaise Vyner said: “The monuments which have been
examined speak of mysterious times, when the rocks were carved with
symbols whose meaning is now lost, when everyday farming – perhaps
more accurately described as ‘garden agriculture’ – was imbued with
As well as detailed geophysical surveys, 6 sites were excavated –
3 cairns, 1 linear enclosure wall, 1 area around a carved panel, and
the mysterious walled oval feature.
This amazing 5-year community archaeology project run by the
Bingley & District Local Historical Society has just come to
completion with the publication of a final report – a beautifully
produced and informative book “Stanbury Hill Project: Archaeological
Investigation of a Rock Art Site“. A final public presentation will
take place on Saturday 27th April at Eldwick Village Memorial Hall,
starting at 1 p.m.
As well as making important new inroads into our understanding of
the prehistoric landscapes that are home to the enigmatic carved
rock panels, the project has seen the hands-on training of over 60
volunteers in the whole process of archaeological investigation.
“It’s been better than a university education” was how one volunteer
The route of A Dales High Way crosses
Rombalds Moor and passes a number of these prehistoric carved rocks.
17 March 2013
Development plans on Roman site withdrawn
Plans for a small housing development in Addingham, on
line of the Roman road from Ilkley to Elslack, near Skipton, have
been withdrawn without explanation.
The application to build seven houses on land to the south west
of Addingham at Street House Farm, prompted the intervention of the
West Yorkshire Archaeological Advisory Service (WYAAS), who asked
Bradford Council to impose a condition that no development could
take place until a programme of archaeological recording has been
Archaeologists want to check for evidence of a Roman road on the
site. The road, Roman Road 72a, is officially designated as a Class
III Site of Archaeological Interest and WYAAS says the name “Street”
suggests further evidence of a road.
The line of the Roman road is believed to run from Ilkley along
“the Grove” and across to the south of Addingham, following a line
still known as “the Street”, to pass Street Farm and Street House
Farm. It then runs north west, crossing Skipton Moor by way of a
green lane – a former toll road – known locally as “the Roman Road”.
To date though, no firm archaeological evidence for the road’s
route has been found. The route of A Dales High Way
follows this line from Addingham to Skipton.
Addingham Civic Society opposed the plans, which were submitted
in September last year. Secretary Peter Wikinson said: “The proposal
would have a serious impact on the group of listed buildings
formerly comprising Street House Farm.”
It is not known if amended plans will be resubmitted.
Photo shows the "Roman Road" on Skipton Moor.
1 March 2013
25 years of Morris magic for the Flagcrackers
The Flagcrackers of Craven are marking their 25th anniversary
this year, with a series of events across the region, including a
Day of Dance in Skipton on 15 June.
A number of visiting teams from across the country are expected
to join the Flagcrackers in presenting a marathon tour of dance
Over the years the Flagcrackers have danced alongside hundreds of
other sides at festivals all over the UK and abroad. Now the
team will be inviting some of their favourites along to share their
birthday celebrations and to showcase their skills at this very
Featuring every kind of morris dance traditional style; Cotswold,
Longsword, Rapper, Garland, Border, Northwest and even some belly
dancers, the teams will perform around Skipton town centre
throughout the day, with a massed gathering at the canal basin at
Throughout the year the Flagcrackers also plan to put on displays
of their own colourful, stick clashing Border morris dance at
various iconic Yorkshire locations in Craven, including other spots
on A Dales High Way - Ribblehead and the
top of Malham Cove.
Dick Taylor, founder and former Squire, said: "I wanted us to be
different, I wanted us to entertain and I wanted us to have a big
noisy band. I'm of the opinion that if you're going to go and dance
in the street, you want an audience, and you've got to entertain
The Flagcrackers of Craven’s ethos is to retain traditional
morris dances and evolve new ones, with a generous dash of
entertainment value for spectators. The lively show they put on for
their audiences at home and abroad throughout the summer months may
look relaxed and spontaneous, but it is actually thoroughly
15 Feb 2013
Public Inquiry for Park Extension proposals
Plans to extend the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National
the Lake District National Park will be scrutinised at a Public
The move was inevitable following a number of objections from the
local authorities affected. Minister for the natural environment
Richard Benyon said Natural England’s proposals to extend the
boundaries of the two parks would be examined at a four-week inquiry
in June, with a pre-inquiry meeting to be held in March.
He told MPs: “Over 3,000 objections, representations or
expressions of support were received in response to the proposals,
including objections from five local authorities.
“It is a statutory requirement that a public inquiry is held if
at least one local authority with land in a proposed extension
raises an objection to a relevant variation order.”
The Inquiry, under the direction of Roy Foster, will open at
10.00 am on Tuesday 4 June 2013 at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal.
The proposals for the Dales National Park will see extensions in
- 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.
Most of the final stages of A Dales High Way
would fall into the area of the northern extensions, almost as far
as Hoff, just before Appleby.
It is widely expected that the proposals will eventually be
3 Feb 2013
Water Tower Restoration revisted
The restoration of the historic water tower at Settle station at
the famous Settle-Carlisle railway line is to be revisted for
Channel 4 TV by architect George Clarke.
And the programme will feature the addition of a huge shed,
believed to be one of the original shanty town sheds used to house
the navvies who built the line in the 1870’s.
The new edition of Channel 4’s Restoration Man will be
shown on Thursday, 31st January at 9 p.m.
The original programme was shown in February last year.
There was another surprise for Mark and Pat Rand, who have so
lovingly restored the tower – an unannounced visit by former
Transport minister Michael Portillo, the man who finally signed the
reprieve of the line when it faced closure in the 1980’s.
Mark described the day’s filming: “We had a most enjoyable day
covering in detail the latest developments with the shed, the summer
house, the lift and the thing in general. We had a suspiciously long
and relaxed lunch at The Lion and ambled back to the water tower.
Pat and I were ushered into the kitchen whilst the film crew took
“Then the front door bell rang. I went to see who was it was and
there stood Michael Portillo. You will have to see the programme to
see what I said! They will have to cut out the expletives. It is
slightly unnerving to answer your front door to find a sombre suited
celebrity standing there. Anyway it was very good of
Michael to make time to be here.”
The afternoon ended amongst friends with champagne all round.
Photo shows Michael Portillo talking with Mark and Pat Rand and
a FoSCL volunteer. To the right is Ruth Evans of FoSCL, author and
DalesRail campaigner Colin Speakman, and our own Chris Grogan.
22 January 2013
Contours adds Dales High Way walking holiday
Contours – the popular Derbyshire-based Walking Holiday
added A Dales High Way to their promotions
For a modest fee starting at just £395 per person the company
will organise everything you need for your walking holiday,
including Bed & Breakfast accommodation, guidebooks and maps, tour
fact files and baggage transfer. All you need to think about is the
The company specialise in organising flexible holidays – you can
choose when to start, extend your holiday if you wish, and even
include your dog.
Justine Kiddy for Contours said: “A Dales High Way is one of the
best walks that we’ve encountered in the north of England in recent
years. If you’ve walked the Dales Way and are looking for a new
perspective, or you’re simply hoping to stretch out your legs in the
New Year, the route offers wonderful scenery with something for
everyone – quaint Dales towns and villages, intriguing historic
locations, delightful wildlife and not to mention, mile upon mile of
superb walking. We love it! ”
Contours joins companies Brigantes and Sherpa Van in offering
complete Dales High Way walking holiday packages.
8 January 2013