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 2014

Friends events at ride2stride Walking Festival

The Friends of A Dales High Way have helped organise two events for ride2stride 2015 - the Settle-Carlisle Walking Festival.

The first is a moderate 7-mile circular walk from Settle visiting River Ribble near Stainforththe amazing Hoffman Kiln industrial relic on the way to Stainforth, returning along the banks of the River Ribble on a section of A Dales High Way. The walk leaves Settle station at 11.44 am on Tuesday April 28th, and is led by Colin Speakman - well known Dales author, creator of the Dales Way and founder of the Yorkshire Dales Society.

The second is an evening talk on Lady Anne's Way by author and creator of the long-distance trail Sheila Gordon. This walk shares a short section with A Dales High Way from its starting point in Skipton, following in the footsteps of the remarkable Lady Anne Clifford on a 100-mile trip visiting many of her ancient castles and halls. The talk will be held in the Friends Meeting Hall in Settle on Wednesday April 29th starting at 7.30 pm. There is a charge of £3.00 which includes refreshments.

This is the fourth year for the incredibly popular walking festival, which sees accommodation in the area book up very quickly, so don't leave it too late. Fortunately this year the Royal Oak in Settle is also offering accommodation, and we have it on good authority that the newly refurbished Falcon Manor Hotel should have rooms ready by March 2015.

See the draft ride2stride 2015 programme here.

15 Dec 2014

Sedbergh Welcomes Walkers

Sedbergh Gateway

A new organisation in Sedbergh has been launched to promote the area for walkers and cyclists.

The Sedbergh Area Walking and Cycling Group was officially launched at the town’s community information centre, with the unveiling of their new website, the Sedbergh Gateway.

The website, which was declared open by Sedbergh Parish Council chairman Dr Hilary Hodge, features walking and cycling routes as well as useful information about bike hire, local groups, tips for families, public transport, accommodation and shops. Both A Dales High Way and the Dales Way are featured as Long Distance Trails.

"This is just what Sedbergh needs," said South Lakeland district councillor Evelyn Westwood. "The western Dales and the Howgills have always been popular destinations, but this new project, and the website, will help us to engage yet further with visiting walkers and cyclists”.

The group is also applying for official accreditation as a Walkers Are Welcome town.

Local residents and businesses came up with the idea to encourage visitors to enjoy the western Dales and to encourage locals to make the most of the stunning landscape on their doorstep.

Carole Nelson, secretary of the new group, explained: “One of the group’s big ambitions is to create a recognised walking trail, through Dentdale and Sedbergh, that would follow the footsteps of George Fox, the early Quaker, in 1652."

See the Sedbergh Gateway website here, and our previous Walkers Are Welcome posting here.

2 Dec 2014

Path improvements on Sharp Haw

A group from the Friends of A Dales High Way visited Sharp Haw Friends of A Dales High Way approach Sharp Hawthis weekend, to see how improvements to the path are standing up to the recent wet weather.

The works were carried out over the summer by rangers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park, led by Cat Kilner. Small stones have been packed under the turf in places where erosion has become a problem to support the track.

Tony Grogan of the Friends said “This path is popular locally with both walkers and runners, and it makes a nice half day circular route from the Craven Heifer. The area can become quite wet and muddy, but the path strengthening on the southern side seems to be working well. The National Park rangers are to be congratulated on their efforts here.

“The real problem faced by walkers on A Dales High Way comes on the descent across Flasby Fell to the north, where for a short stretch the ground becomes quite boggy, particularly after heavy rain. We had a walk across the route earlier this year with the rangers to take a look, but it’s difficult to see how the path can be improved easily.”

The group enjoyed a walk from Skipton to Hetton along the route of A Dales High Way, before visiting the famous Angel Inn and catching a bus back to Skipton.

Further discussion on possible areas of improvement is expected at the Friend’s Annual General Meeting this weekend.

“To be honest, there aren’t many problem areas along the route, though one or two spots can get quite muddy after prolonged heavy rain” said Tony. “Our approach so far has been to suggest possible alternatives to these sections via the website, and now we’re looking to work with the various authorities along the route and our own volunteers to see where further improvements can be made.”

See Route Alternatives & Options here and Dales High Way Grot Spots here.

17 Nov 2014

Gordale Scar given away

Gordale Scar in full spateIconic Gordale Scar is to be given away by its owners Craven Council.

The deep cut natural ravine, an Ice Age wonder, is an almost compulsory minor diversion for walkers on A Dales High Way.

Ownership is to be handed over to Kirkby Malhamdale Parish Council, who had requested that they be given ownership of the 5.26 hectare site, after it emerged that the site had originally been registered as belonging to Craven Council by mistake.

Andrew Whelan, Craven Council’s estates surveyor, said: “The parish council approached us wanting to take ownership from us. Our legal department has investigated historical ownership of the land and confirmed that the parish council should have been the registered owners of it historically. When it was registered, for some reason it was registered to us rather than them. It is just a paper exercise to correct the ownership details at the Land Registry. We do not anticipate anything changing.”

A report to Craven Council’s Policy Cttee recommended the transfer and gave a value of £30,000 to the site, which is registered, strangely, as a Village Green. But no charge is to be made for the transfer.

A public footpath runs up alongside the waterfall deep within the scar, and is a popular scramble for walkers.

Phil Dewhurst, clerk of the parish council, said: “It brings absolute clarity to the fact that it is definitely part of Kirby Malhamdale Parish Council. We can then make sure we take the necessary actions to safeguard Gordale for the parish and safeguard our responsibilities.”

See our previous posting here, and Kirkby Malhamdale Parish Council here.

4 Nov 2014

Penyghent facelift

The top of Penyghent has been given a bit of a makeover, courtesy of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Natural England and the Friends of the Three Peaks.

A Friends outing to view the results on Wednesday met with the Friends of the Three Peaks on Penyghentgale force conditions as the back end of Hurricane Gonzalo passed, but thankfully all the group returned safely.

The eroded surface at the top of Penyghent has been restored and flagged with stone slabs from old Lancashire mills. In recognition of how busy the path gets, the flags have been laid double width to allow walkers to chat whilst getting their breath back after the steep climb through the gritstone.

The work was undertaken early last year by Access Ranger Nathan Allen and Three Peaks Ranger Josh, working in all kinds of conditions, from glorious sunshine to thick snowshowers! (see the video).

The work is just a sample of the ongoing maintenance of the Yorkshire Three peaks route, including the section across Ingleborough which is on the route of A Dales High Way. With many charities using the Three Peaks Challenge Route as a fundraiser, the route gets some heavy bootfall. In one 4-hour period last summer over 1800 walkers were counted on the route.

The Three Peaks Project, which looks after the landscape and is managed by the National Park Authority, is self financing and depends on money from membership of the Friends of the Three Peaks and other donations. A recent Yorkshire Three Peaks phone app is also proving a big success, with over 1600 sold – a bargain at just £1.99 each.

Although only Ingleborough lies on the official route, many walkers on A Dales High Way plan in an additional day or a route diversion to take in all three of the Yorkshire Peaks: Ingleborough, Whernside and Penyghent.

Download the Penyghent Alternative here. See the Friends of the Three Peaks here, and download the Three Peaks phone app here.

23 October 2014

5th decade for Ilkley Literature festival

The 41st Ilkley literature Festival is now well underway with Ilkley Literature Festival 2014something for everyone, including walkers on A Dales High Way.

Clair Balding will be helping to wind the festival up on Sunday 19th October, with a talk about her new book Walking Home. Clair’s Radio 4 programme Ramblings is currently featuring her walk along the Dales Way and she is joined by our own Chris Grogan on next week’s programme.

Colin Speakman, co-founder of the Dales Way Association and the Yorkshire Dales Society is talking about 60 years of the Dales National park on Thursday 16 October.

There are plenty of big names on show, including Will Self, Sheila Hancock, James Naughty, Margaret Atwood, Ken Livingstone and Andrew Motion.

Festival director Rachel Feldberg said: “This is the beginning of our fifth decade – so if last year was about looking back, this year is going to be about looking forward.”

With over 240 events scheduled for the two and a half weeks of the festival, there’s plenty to choose from.

There are lots of events for children and young people with three of the UK’s leading children’s fiction writers appearing: Lauren Child, Michael Morpurgo and David Almond, as well as an afternoon of workshops.

Many of the events are already fully booked, so it’s best to book in advance.

See the Ilkley Literature Festival site here.

7 Oct 2014

High Way comic tale

A unique graphic account of one couple’s experience along A Green BeanDales High Way has been published by illustrator and author Katie Green.

Katie’s latest issue of The Green Bean, a beautifully hand crafted comic-zine issued bi-monthly as a limited edition, is given over to a two-week walking holiday in the Yorkshire Dales.

Katie said: “Last September, my partner Luke and I walked most of A Dales High Way during a two week trip to Yorkshire. A year later, I finally got it together to make a special issue of my regular comic, The Green Bean, documenting the trip.”

As well as walking a good chunk of A Dales High Way, Katie includes other walks taking in Mallerstang, Wensleydale and Wharfedale, inspired by other Skyware Press guidebooks.

Chris Grogan of Friends of A Dales High Way said: “People often contact us to tell us about their walk, but I don’t think I’ve ever had such a lovely tribute as this. Katie’s work is quite beautiful and I shall treasure it.”

Katie’s other work includes her autobiographical first graphic book Lighter Than My Shadow, published in 2013 by Jonathon Cape, which was very well received by reviewers.

See Katie Green’s website here, and her book Lighter Than My Shadow here.

19 Sept 2014

Dales High Way on new OS Dales map

A Dales High Way is one of two new routes to be included for the first time on Outdoor Leisure Map OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern and Western Areas. It will be feature on the updated OL19 Howgill Fells and Upper Eden Valley map early next year.

OL2 cover OL2 area covered
OL2 - Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas

The cover of the new edition of OL2 map shows the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct under which the route of A Dales High Way passes before skirting Whernside to head through Dentdale to Sedbergh and the Howgill Fells.

Friends of A Dales High Way chairperson Julia Pearson said, “We are delighted that the route is now on the map. It will introduce more people to the pleasures of walking through the glorious Yorkshire Dales. The whole world saw how beautiful the Dales are during the Tour de France and now they want to come and see for themselves.”

Co-creator of the trail Chris Grogan said, “Long distance walking is a great way to experience a landscape and benefits the local communities as well. Spending a few days on a trail and staying in towns and villages along the way means that walkers not only enjoy the countryside but the great Yorkshire hospitality.”

A Dales High Way is one of two new long-distance Recreational Routes to be included: the other is the Pennine Journey, a 247-mile circular route from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall and back based loosely on a solitary walk Alfred Wainwright undertook in 1938.

See previous posting here. Buy the new OL2 map direct from Ordnance Survey here. See the Pennine Journey website here.

1 Sept 2014

Dales Way Ramblings

A Dales High Way gets a mention in a new series of BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings in the autumn.  Clare Balding spent a wet and Chris Grogan talks to Clare Balding on Ramblingswindy week walking the Dales Way with various guests, including our own Chris Grogan.

The 45-year old Dales Way is the High Way’s more famous sister and was the first long distance walk Chris Grogan tackled. Chris is now secretary to both the Dales Way Association and Friends of A Dales High Way.

Chris joined Clare on the section through Dentdale to Sedbergh on Tuesday along with fellow Dales Way Association committee member Kath Doyle. Both the Dales Way and Dales High Way share a short section near Dent. Chris talked about how the Dales Way had inspired her and husband Tony to devise their own long-distance route.

Chris has walked part of the Dales Way with Clare Balding before, along with Dales Way creator Colin Speakman and his wife Fleur. That was in back in 2011. Clare was so taken with the walk she vowed to return.

Colin and Fleur joined Clare on the final day of their Dales Way walk into Bowness-on-Windermere.

See previous posting here, see BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings here, and see the Dales Way Association website here.

15 August 2014

Appleby Castle backdrop for Macbeth

There’s a chance to watch two of Shakespeare’s greatest plays Macbethh performed by GB Theatre Companyperformed live in the grounds of Appleby Castle next week.

GB Theatre Company are performing the plays on the 7th and 8th of August as part of the 450th anniversary celebrations of William Shaekespeare’s birth.

The Comedy of Errors is probably Shakespeare's earliest work and captures the genius and creativity of the young playwright. Macbeth is a dark, grim tragedy that portrays ambition, fate, deception and treachery depicting a deep understanding of the complexity of human nature. Featuring stunning sword fighting scenes it will move and entertain all ages.

GB Theatre Company performs classic plays in spectacular open-air gardens at historic locations around the UK and Europe. Established in 2010, by Gillian Roca and Barrie Palmer, the Company has an excellent reputation for staging outstanding drama.

This year the Company is celebrating its fifth anniversary and is delighted to announce the renowned actress Felicity Kendal CBE is joining the Company as its Patron.

The shows are the latest in a string of events taking place at the historic castle since it re-opened to the public last year after a 12-year closure.

Book tickets online at Appleby Castle’s website here. See GB Theatre Company here.

2 August 2014

Dales National Park celebrates 60th birthday

Special guests from the country’s National Parks will be visiting sites at the heart of A Dales High Way in October, as the Yorkshire Dales National Park celebrates its 60th birthday.

Malham CoveThe Yorkshire Dales Society, along with the National Park Authority, is hosting this year’s National Parks Societies Annual Conference, but far from harking back over the last 60 years the theme is definitely one of looking forward. Young people and their experiences of living, working and volunteering in the Yorkshire Dales are central to the 3 day event.

There are visits to Malham village and the surrounding farming communities; a stop at the excellent family run Town End Farm Shop in Airton, a hike into three Peak country to explore the impact of quarrying and much much more.

The venue is the fabulous Coniston Hotel and delegates can look forward to good food and even better after dinner entertainment with talks from both the National Park’s Chief Executive, David Butterworth, and the Authority’s Chairman, Peter Charlseworth. The charismatic Gary Verity, the man who bought Le Tour to Yorkshire, will talk about the impact of the Grand Depart on the area.

Get more information about the conference at the Yorkshire Dales Society website here. Get Colin Speakman's new book celebrating 60 years of the Dales National Park here

19 July 2014

Grand Depart hits A Dales High Way

A few spots on the first stages of A Dales High Way were perfect for watching the Grand Depart as Yorkshire went Tour crazy!

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out along the route, which passed through Ilkley, Addingham, Skipton and Hetton on its way up through Swaledale and on to finish at Harrogate.

Tour sponsors promenade on Skipton High StreetSkipton was officially declared “full” long before the colourful sponsors’ caravan promenade swept along the High Street at around 11 o’clock, a couple of hours before the cyclists arrived.

But many folk walked up along the Grassington Road for the best views of the cyclists as they climbed out of the town.

Skipton, like Ilkley, was a designated “Tour Hub” and was geared up for a full four-day festival, with big screens showing the tour live through-out the day.

Anyone watching the spectacle on TV could not have been unmoved at the stunning images of the Yorkshire Dales as helicopter mounted cameras swept along the route.

What a great success for the region.

Watch the Grand Depart film here. See our previous posting here, and catch up with the latest Tour news here.

5 July 2014

Midge Ure for Dentdale Festival

Dentdale Music & Beer Festival, the fabulous annual free festival Midge Ureput on by the community of Dentdale, has been pulling in one or two big names of late, as well as the usual varied assortment of excellent lesser known names.

This year is no exception, with the festival being rounded off on Sunday afternoon by Midge Ure, formally of Ultravox and well known for his work with Save the Children and BandAid.

Midge now concentrates on solo work, and his performance is likely to feature material from his forthcoming new album Fragile.

The festival will also be featuring a new beer celebrating the 25th anniversary of the success of the campaign to save the Settle-Carlisle railway. The golden ale, Ruswarp, has been brewed for the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line by Eden Brewery.

The festival runs on the weekend of 27th-29th June. Once again Dent is likely to be heaving, so if you haven't already booked your camping spot, you may be too late. But the festival is running busses up to Dent railway station, making a day visit to the festival possible.

Walkers on A Dales High Way who have arranged a stop-over for the event are in for a real treat!

See the Dentdale Festival website here, see Midge Ure's website here, and our previous posting here.

12 June 2014

New Dales High Way fingerpost on Shipley Glen

On a wet Thursday morning Julia Pearson, chairperson of the New fingerpost on Shipley GlenFriends of A Dales High Way, led a party of volunteers up onto Shipley Glen to erect the first dedicated Dales High Way fingerpost along the route.

The spot is at a split in the path, which sometimes causes confusion for walkers on the trail.

The fingerpost had been prepared at Bradford Council's Countryside workshop in Shipley, with the help of Countryside rangers there. But the routing of the sign was undertaken by Julia herself - and what a great job she's done!

Julia said: "I'm really pleased to have been able to help make such a smart sign for the early stages of A Dales High Way. I hope DHW walkers find it helpful and that other walkers are inspired to explore the route.  Thanks to the BEES volunteers for digging a very deep hole, then filling it in again!"

The volunteers from Bradford Environmental Education Service soon had a three-foot deep hole dug into the hard, rocky ground, and the post was firmly installed. Well done guys and many thanks!

See the Bradford Environmental Education Service (BEES) website here and see more on the Friends of A Dales High Way here.

29 May 2014

Malham loses vital bus service

A vital daily bus service to Malham is to be lost when bus Pennine Motors busoperator Pennine Motors ceases trading at the end of the week.

The operator runs daily early morning and evening services on weekdays to the popular Dales village from Skipton. These are the most useful for walkers.

Now only two weekday busses, operated by North Yorkshire County Council, remain. These run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with the last bus returning from Malham at 1.35 pm.

In a statement the operator said: “It is with regret that as from close of business on the 16th May, 2014 Pennine Motors will no longer trade as a bus company.

“This is due to the free travel payments from North Yorkshire Council being reduced by 20% and another bus company running too many buses on our main bus route between Skipton and Barnoldswick.

“I am sure you will appreciate that this has been a very difficult decision for myself and my family as my Grandfather founded the business in 1925 together with his brother and brother in law, but unfortunately it is no longer financially viable.

“I would like to thank all our loyal customers for their unwaivering support over the last 88 years.”

However, a new Saturday bus will ensure a better weekend service. The volunteer-led Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company has introduced a new Saturday bus service linking Harrogate, Skipton and Malham – Cravenlink bus 75. This provides a last afternoon return time of 4.55 pm on the Saturday, with a last return bus at 4.30 pm on a Sunday.

The Saturday service is being underwritten by the Dales and Bowland CIC, whose Chairman Chris Nash of Skipton said “I believe that there is a market for such a service and hope that it will be supported on such a scale that it becomes financially viable”. However its continuation beyond October depends upon the number of passengers carried.

See the dalesbus website here, and download the current Malham bus service timetables here.

12 May 2014

Join Friends for anniversary talk

Friends of A Dales High Way have teamed up with the Friends of The Line that Refused to Diethe Settle-Carlisle Line to promote an illustrated talk about the remarkable six-year campaign to save the world famous Settle-Carlisle railway line from closure.

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the success of that campaign.

The talk, by author and journalist Stan Abbott, takes place on Friday, May 2nd at Victoria Hall in Settle. The event starts at 7.15 pm and costs just £3.00. It is part of this year's Ride2Stride Walking Festival, which kicks off tomorrow.

Following the Beeching report, the line was run down in preparation for closure. When the closure notice was finally announced in 1983 a remarkable campaigning group was formed, bringing a host of organisations together under the umbrella of the Joint Action Committee.

On 11th April 1989 transport secretary Michael Portillo finally announced the line's reprieve. He has since admitted that it was the best political decision he ever made.

Two anniversary trains have already been run this month to mark the anniversary, the first which carried both Portillo and Stan Abbott alongside a host of other people who were instrumental in the campaign.

Without their success, it is doubtful that A Dales High Way would exist today.

See the BBC TV report here, and the Ride2Stride website here. See the Friends of A Dales High Way newsletter here.

28 April 2014

Tree planting to "cool" rivers

Hundreds of new trees have been planted alongside the River New trees planted alongside the River RibbleRibble over the winter, in a bid to help keep the river "cool" in hot summer weather.

The planting has taken place on spots such as the approach to Stainforth Force, on the route of A Dales High Way. Some new fencing and gating has been introduced, but the the route of the long-distance trail remains unaltered.

The planting has been undertaken by the Ribble Rivers Trust, a charity which was set up in 1997 in an attempt to restore the surrounding flora and wildlife of the river to its former glory.

The Trust says: "The UK Climate Projections have predicted that by 2050, the average summer air temperatures could rise by as much as 4°C. Along with it, water temperatures in our rivers and streams will also increase. The optimum water temperature for salmonid survival is reportedly between 10 and 15°C, while the critical limit set by the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Committee is 21.5°C. Exceed this limit for a few consecutive days and the oxygen levels in the water will become severely depleted, possibly resulting in a fish kill and a reduction in populations of other riverine species that rely on them for food.

"Our electrofishing surveys in 2012 told us that the average water temperature in the Ribble Catchment over the summer months was 13.7°C, however the highest temperature recorded was 18.2°C, only 3 degrees below the critical limit. Therefore, as the UK continues to warm, action needs to be taken to keep our rivers cool.

"Trees seem to be the best solution. Not only do they shade the water from direct sunlight, they also bring other benefits too, such as providing habitat for wildlife, buffering diffuse pollution and stabilising riverbanks to prevent excessive erosion. Furthermore, trees soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, providing a much needed means of carbon sequestration."

 See the Ribble Rivers Trust website here.

22 April 2014

Dales High Way on OS maps

The route of A Dales High Way is now been included on the latest Ordnance Survey maps as a long- distance recreational route.

Dales High Way on OS map to Ingleborough

The route will appear on both Landranger maps, at a scale of 1:50,000, and the more detailed Explorer Maps at 1:25,000.

The route has been included on the OS digital maps service available online, and will be included on printed maps as and when new print runs are produced. This is likely to mean the route will appear firstly on the popular Yorkshire Dales series OL2 and OL19.

The process of including a new long distance route on OS maps is a detailed and rigorous one. Routes must be supported by guidebooks, must be well waymarked and must have the support of all the local authorities along the route for inclusion.

Local authorities like the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have their own strict guidelines when it comes to supporting long distance recreational routes. The routes must have a “responsible body” to oversee, promote and help maintain them; must have been monitored for a period of at least five years and must be able to show an economic benefit to the communities through which they pass. The route must also, of course, be entirely on public rights of way or other areas of open access.

The Friends of A Dales High Way have been working closely with rights of way officers at all the local authorities along the route: Bradford Metropolitan District Council, North Yorkshire County Council, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Cumbria County Council.

Julia Pearson, chair of the Friends, said: “It is very exciting to see the Dales High Way appear on OS maps. Not only will this be a reassuring navigational aid, but it is a real testament to the increasing popularity of Dales High Way amongst long distance walkers. And the words on the map are a great way to introduce the route to more walkers so hopefully even more people will be enjoying this great route in the years to come.

“Friends of A Dales High Way would like to thank the Rangers and Rights of Way officers from Bradford, North Yorkshire and Cumbria Councils and from the Yorkshire Dales National Park for all their help and support to enable FoADHW reach this ambitious landmark in the development of A Dales High Way”.

See an account of the development of A Dales High Way here, and see an interactive map of the route here (zoom in to the lowest 2 levels to see the Landranger mapping at 1:50,000). See Ordnance Survey here.

2 April 2014

Skipton best place to live in UK

The market town of Skipton – “the gateway to the Dales” – has Skipton High Street 2009been crowned the best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times judges put it in top spot out of 101 entries for its ideal combination of low crime rates, “top class” schools, great transport links, “buzzing” high street, pretty and reasonably priced property and beautiful surrounding countryside.

“Skipton is a worthy winner,” said home editor Helen Davies. “We love it for its big-hearted, buzzy life.”

Skipton MP Julian Smith said he was over the moon: “The judges described all the attributes we know Skipton has, whether it is access to the Dales, quality of its schooling or its high street.

“I think the title is very, very richly deserved and I pay tribute to the community groups, councils and civic leaders as well as the community at large who have played a role in making Skipton the best place to live in Britain. I am a very proud local MP.”

The town is a popular overnight stop for walkers on A Dales High Way. It’s also a popular tourist attraction, with its beautifully preserved medieval castle, colourful canal basin and award-winning high street.

See Skiptons Best High Street Award 2009 here; see the Dales High Way optional Skipton routes here; see Welcome to Skipton here.

20 march 2014

Park relief over government planning decision

Government proposals to allow agricultural buildings like barns Barns in the Yorkshire Dalesto be turned into homes without the need for planning permission have been modified to exclude the national parks.

The announcement brought relief to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which feared the proposals would cause "irreversible harm" to the beautiful scenery of the National Park.

Peter Charlesworth, Chairman of the Park Authority, said he was "delighted" at the announcement last week by Planning Minister Nick Boles that Government changes to planning rules would not apply in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which contains an estimated 6,000 barns.

Following the announcement, he said: "We are delighted that the Government has listened to the concerns of England's national parks and others and has modified its proposals accordingly, allowing national parks to retain local planning control.

"We're now going to be getting on with implementing the spirit of the National Planning Policy Framework – to promote sustainable development in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This will, no doubt, include the conversion of some barns to houses, but only where they're in suitable locations.”

Jon Avison, Chairman Designate of the Yorkshire Dales Society, said: "We are over the moon that the collaborative work of the Society and the National Park Authority has helped to persuade the minister to change his mind on this very important policy. It would have had a potentially devastating impact on the landscape and the character of the Yorkshire Dales."

Picture courtesy of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

See the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority website here, and the Yorkshire Dales Society here.

10 March 2014

Wettest winter on record

The UK has suffered the wettest winter on record, the Met office has confirmed.

Wettest winter on record - Met OfficeFigures from December 1 2013 to February 19 2014 show the UK had 486.8 mm (19.2 inches) of rainfall, the highest figures recorded in the last 100 years.

This time the south of the UK suffered the worst, with widespread flooding.

2012 proved the wettest year on record so far, but there have been major flooding incidents in 2009, 2007 and 2005.

Campaigners have called for more action to tackle climate change, which is widely thought to be behind the increasing weather extremes. Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said: "Extreme weather is becoming more common; four out of the five wettest years on record have taken place since the year 2000.

"The climate is changing before our eyes, and still the politicians fiddle - the more fossil fuels we burn, the more it floods. The Government needs to close the gaping half-billion pound hole in its flood defence plans and redouble efforts to tackle climate change."

Prolonged and heavy rainfall can make it tough going for walkers, particularly those tackling a long-distance route like A Dales High Way. But with a little bit of prior research and preparation, it shouldn’t spoil the enjoyment of walking such a trail. Walkers are advised to check out the advice on the worst affected sections of the route.

See the Dales High Way Grotspots here. See previous stories: “Wettest year on record – official!” and “Cumbria downpours set pattern for future”.

23 Feb 2014

Ride2stride Festival programme out

The final programme for ride2stride 2014, the Settle-Ride2stride2013Carlisle Walking Festival, is out now.

This year’s week-long festival of walks, talks and music along the fabulous Settle-Carlisle railway line runs from Tuesday April 29th to Monday May 5th. It features the usual mix of events, including 30 led walks from stations along the line that are all free. No need to book in advance, just turn up at the start station at the allotted time.

There are three fascinating talks, including one by author Stan Abbott, who’s book “the Line that Refused to Die” tells of the inspiring and ultimately successful campaign to save the Settle-Carlisle line from closure. April 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the line’s reprieve. The talk is sponsored jointly by the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line and the Friends of A Dales High Way. Talks cost £3.00

And to round off each evening, there will be folk sessions in a variety of pubs along the line, tied to some of the day’s walks. These are also free, with bucket collections towards the musicians’ expenses.

At the festival launch on Tuesday there’s also the chance to join a free guided tour of the recently restored Settle Water Tower, as featured on Channel 4’s Restoration Man.

So get the diary out and book those dates now.

See the Ride2stride website for a full programme of events. See our previous posting here.

9 Feb 2014

New Flasby Fell Route Options

An alternative route to the crossing of Flasby Fell, just beyond Skipton, has been added to A Dales High Way website.

Helen Handley seat on the Flasby Fell Alternative route

The alternative offers an easy route in bad weather, particularly after prolonged rainfall, as has been experienced lately. The descent from Sharp Haw across Flasby Fell can become boggy underfoot in such circumstances.

The alternative route runs parallel to the main route, to the south west, using a hardened forest track. The trees here have been recently cleared and open views across Ribblesdale are available throughout.

Most people will still choose to climb Sharp Haw, which though a humble peak of only 359 metres height, offers superb panoramic views. Here an optional link route offers an alternative to Flasby Fell.

This Flasby Fell alternative joins a handful of other bad-weather route options, devised by the Friends of A Dales High Way to help walkers facing a few Grot Spots which appear along the trail after prolonged periods of heavy rain.

In the near future the Friends hope also to promote schemes to improve sections of the main trail at these spots.

Download the Flasby Fell Options here. See the Grot Spots here, and the Friends of A Dales High Way here.

23 January 2014

Coach walks for A Dales High Way

If you fancy walking A Dales High Way this spring then you might consider joining Amanda Burton of A.S. Coaches who is organising a leisurely day's walk once a fortnight, by coach.

AS Coach trip on the Dales Way 2013

Amanda told us, “Following the great success we had walking the Dales Way as a series of day walks last year, we’ve decided to tackle A Dales High Way.”

With return transport provided and an experienced guide this is an ideal way to tackle a long distance path in a friendly group at a leisurely pace. The walks will start on May 3rd with the 8 mile section from Saltaire to Ilkley.

Further dates booked so far are:

  1. Sat May 3rd - Saltaire to Ilkley (8 miles)
  2. Sat May 17th - Ilkley to Skipton (11 miles)
  3. Sat May 31st - Skipton to Malham (12 miles) 
  4. Sat June 14th - Malham to Stainforth (10 miles)
  5. Sat June 28th - Stainforth to Chapel-le-Dale (11 miles)

Each day costs £15, including coach travel from the Pateley Bridge area, Grassington or Skipton. Amanda says “We try to be flexible about pick ups so please phone and talk to us.”

For more information or to book a place please ring Amanda at A.S. Coaches on 01423 711252 or email info@ascoaches.co.uk

See A.S. Coaches here.

13 Jan 2014

New Route Guide for Coast to Coast Walk

Today sees the publication of a new Coast to Coast Route A Coast to Coast Route GuideGuide, to coincide with the waymarking of Alfred Wainwright’s classic walk for the first time in 40 years.

From the Irish Sea at St. Bees Head, the Coast to Coast Walk winds its way across northern England, 190 miles or so, to the North Sea shoreline at Robin Hood's Bay. On the way it passes through three National Parks: the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

It shares a short section with A Dales High Way, near to the isolated Sunbiggin Tarn. When Wainwright filmed his walk with the BBC in 1989 at the age of 81, Sunbiggin Tarn was still the site of an annual invasion by 10,000 nesting black headed gulls. They disappeared in 1998, never to return. To this day, no-one knows why.

Wainwright set about thinking about his own long-distance trail in the 1960s, after walking the Pennine Way – a walk he didn’t really enjoy. He began to flesh out the details in 1970, devising a route across the North York Moors. He toyed with the idea of following the newly created Dales Way into Yorkshire, but in the end opted for a more northerly route across the Westmorland Fells. Finally he worked a route over his beloved Lakeland Fells.

Wainwright’s original guidebook was published in 1973 and his walk is now by far the most popular long distance trail in Britain, and one of the world's great walks. Wainwright died in 1991 and his ashes were scattered on Haystacks, overlooking his Coast to Coast Walk.

Black headed gulls at Sunbiggin Tarn, 1989
When Wainwright filmed his Coast to Coast Walk with the BBC in 1989, Sunbiggin Tarn was still host to an annual nesting population of 10,000 black headed gulls. They vanished in 1998.

The new Coast to Coast Route Guide contains full colour large-scale strip maps of the entire route, and should make the practical task of route-finding easy. It is published by Skyware Press, publishers of a number of long-distance walk guides in Yorkshire and Cumbria, including the Dales High Way guides.

See details of A Coast to Coast Route Guide here. The Coast to Coast Walk is now looked after by the Wainwright Society.

1 January 2014

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