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 2017

Tax plan to reduce Dales holiday homes

A radical new proposal to reduce the number of second or holiday homes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority by significantly increasing the Council Tax levied on them is being discussed by the authority this week.

Dent main street

A report suggests that a figure of “at least five times” the current rate of Council Tax should be considered for second homes. Figures show now that almost a quarter of homes in the National Park are second homes or holiday lets.

The report says,  “There can be no doubt that the long term viability of communities in the National Park has been adversely affected by the level of second home ownership. 

“Out of a total of around 13,500 units, approximately 3,000 are second homes or holidays lets.  Of this, about half are registered as second homes. The scale of the impact can be gleaned from the 2011 census.  Whilst an average of 65 new homes were created each year between 2001-2011, approximately 90 houses were being turned into second homes or holiday lets each year. 

“A certain number of holiday lets is economically beneficial to the area. They are run as businesses, generate supply chains and are usually owned and serviced by local people.  Second homes are usually much less so.  They ‘deny’ a home to a permanent resident and push up prices. They also generate a substantial economic ‘loss’ to the area because for much of the year there is no one in them spending money."

The average house price in the National Park is now £253,000 but in some parts this rises to £332,000.  Only 23% of the population is aged 18-44, compared to the national average of 37%.

If the authority approve the proposal, it will then be put to the five District Councils in the Park (Craven, Eden, Richmondshire and South Lakeland Districts and Lancaster City Council) and three County Councils (Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire). 

The report concludes: “It is suggested that a figure of at least five times the current rate should be considered.  To provide an indication of impact, that would equate to a charge of at least £8,500 per annum on a Band D property.  It is unlikely that this initiative would raise significant revenue, and that is not the aim."

Update: Tuesday, 19 Dec. The National Park Authority voted narrowly to support the resolution. The proposal now passes to the district and county councils, who intially supported a tax hike in principle, but a final proposal will only be worked up to take to government if it has their full support.

Download the report "Attracting Families to the Yorkshire Dales National Park" here.

17 Dec 2017

New Dales High Way Lapel Badges

Now you can celebrate your Dales High Way walk with this beautiful enamel lapel badge - and help support the Friends of A Dales High Way at the same time!

Dales High Way enamel badge

This high quality pin in the glowing turquoise and purple colours of the Dales High Way logo shows the distinctive outline of Ingleborough summit. A permanent reminder of your achievement.

The badges are just 19 mm wide and have a button pin fastener at the back.

The lapel badges were the brainchild of the staff at Appleby Tourist Information Centre (TIC), at the end of A Dales High Way. They had the badges produced so walkers finishing the trail at the centre could pick up a souvenir or two at the same time as collecting their free certificates. Other Dales High Way souvenirs produced by the entrepeneurial TIC staff include mugs and coasters!

The lapel badges are available at the centre for just £1.99 each.

Chris Grogan of The Friends said: "We are also offering the badges for sale online for £3.99 each - which includes free postage and packing in the UK.  Any proceeds from sales of these badges will go to the Friends of A Dales High Way to be used for the continued waymarking, promotion and upkeep of the path. They are really beautiful."

You can order them through the Skyware online store, which uses Paypal for secure online orders (you can use your credit or debit card if you don't have a Paypal account).

Each order comes with a free Dales High Way sticker.

See them at the Skyware online store here, See Appleby Tourist Information Centre here.

1 Dec 2017

Whernside path repairs in new appeal pitch

Fans of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks are being asked to support a new campaign to raise money for the repair of a hugely popular footpath on the county’s highest mountain.

Bruntscar path to Whernside summit

Pitch in for Whernside has been launched by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), as part of the British Mountaineering Council’s national Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million fundraising campaign. 

The aim is to raise £46,000 to re-build the severely eroded Bruntscar path on Whernside.

The route of A Dales High Way passes through Bruntscar as it skirts the eastern flank of the iconic mountain, with many walkers choosing to take the optional route from Bruntscar over the summit.

Kate Hilditch, YDNPA Area Manager responsible for the maintenance of rights of way on the Three Peaks, said: “Bruntscar is the main descent off the summit of Whernside. The steepest section is particularly susceptible to damage and the path is becoming increasingly eroded, undermining the local ecology and creating an ever-widening scar on Yorkshire’s highest hillside.

“In its current condition the path is extremely difficult to use, causing people to walk off route, which in turn is causing additional erosion on the adjacent slope. The scale of the task is huge given Bruntscar’s remote location and steep conditions. 

“People love Yorkshire’s peaks. But with more people than ever enjoying what they have to offer, the paths take a great deal of skill and money to maintain.  The Mend our Mountains campaign is about inspiring walkers everywhere with a positive message about the need to look after the places we care about.”

It’s the second time the two organisations have worked together to support the Three Peaks, which are walked by tens of thousands of people a year – many of them raising money for charity.

Last year a total of £17,042 was raised to pay for flagging on the Swine Tail path on Ingleborough. 

See the Mend Our Mountains "Pitch in for Whernside" campaign here. See our previous posting here.

20 Nov 2017

Yorkshire Dales Trails

A Dales High Way features in October's issue of The Great Outdoors as part of an intriguing long distance walk put together by writer Vivienne Crowe.

Hazelgill Knott in TGO magazine

"Have you noticed how long-distance paths have multiplied in recent years? Our landscape is criss-crossed by trails." she writes. "Put two trails close together and they seem to breed.

"An idea was forming in my head. I'd been looking for a route that would immerse me in the Yorkshire Dales. With only four days to spare, I didn't want to spend half a day at either end messing around on public transport. A circular route starting and finishing in Kirkby Stephen, served by the Settle-Carlisle railway, started to take shape."

Vivienne then sets out her circular route combining sections of five of Northern England's finest trails. She sets off from Kirkby Stephen to follow the Coast to Coast path up to Nine Standards Rigg and on to Keld. Day two sees her walking the Pennine Way south across Kisdon Hill and Great Shunner Fell to Hawes.

She follows Lady Anne's Way west over Cotter Riggs on Day three, then picks up the Pennine Journey on to Cautley, at the foot of the eastern Howgill Fells. Her final day sees her climb up onto the Howgill ridge to pick up A Dales High Way north to Brownber, finally rejoining the Coast to Coast path back to Kirkby Stephen.

Vivienne is an award winning freelance writer who has written several walking guide books, including the Settle to Carlisle Way.

Our own Skyware Press publish guides to four of the five featured trails: A Coast to Coast Route Guide; Heart of the Pennine Way; Lady Anne's Way and A Dales High Way.

See The Great Outdoors here and the Skyware Press routes here. See Vivienne Crowe's own website here.

4 Nov 2017

Community Archive Project on display

Freinds of the Dales Community Archive Project Open Day

The Friends of the Dales held an open day last weekend to showcase progress on a huge digital archiving project called Capturing the Past.

Over the past 18 months a team of local volunteers, with help from the County Record Office, has been working with a number of local history groups and individuals to help them digitally record a vast amount of historical material held in private archives that have not previously been publicly accessible.

So far 16 archives comprising over 800 documents have been recorded and digitised covering parishes around Ingleborough and this material is all now available to search and view on a purpose built website.

The team’s work will continue until March 2018, by which time it’s hoped that over 20 archives containing around 2000 items will be available on the website.

Archives include the Bill Mitchell collection - a set of drawings made by the former Dalesman editor of many aspects of the local landscape, its buildings and farming features.

The Lawkland archive is typical of the original material discovered and contains parish records dating from the 18th Century, including those of the poorhouse serving local parishes such as Austwick, Clapham and Horton in Ribblesdale.

Capturing the Past is a two year project run by the Friends of the Dales (brand name of the Yorkshire Dales Society). Part of Stories in Stone, a major programme of conservation and community projects concentrated on the Ingleborough area, the scheme was developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership, led by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

See the Friends of the Dales website here, and the Yorkshire Dales Community Archives website here.

28 Oct 2017

Right To Roam success celebrated with plaque

The passing of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW Act) of 2000, was celebrated earlier this month by the unveiling of a blue plaque at the North Yorkshire hamlet of Stalling Busk.

Stalling Busk plaque unveiled

The plaque, on a cottage alongside the old school house,  celebrates the Stalling Busk Conference of August 1996, where a group of Ramblers’ campaigners met to plan a new ‘Access Bill’ - the culmination of a 60-year campaign for the right to roam upland mountain, moor, heath, down and common land.

The proposed bill was eventually taken up by the then Labour government in March 1999 and passed into legislation the following year. Now over 3 million acres in England and Wales are classed as Open Access Land.

Although most of the route of A Dales High Way follows public Rights of Way, some sections rely on Open Access Rights to follow other well-walked tracks - such as the northern ridge across the Howgill Fells.

Jerry Pearlman, the Ramblers’ former honorary solicitor who hosted the conference, said: “We needed somewhere quiet, somewhere where we could think carefully about what we were proposing.  Stalling Busk was the perfect place for that.  The conference focussed minds and generated momentum. It was an important occasion and means much to the Ramblers.

“Future generations will decide whether the right to roam is a good or necessary thing.  I think it can be seen as one of the greatest changes in English land law that ever took place.”

See the West Riding Ramblers website here.

19 Oct 2017

HF offer guided Dales High Way holiday

HF Holidays are set to offer guided walking holidays along A Dales High Way as part of their exciting new programme for 2018.

HF Holidays guided walks

The popular walking charity and co-operative society offer a comprehensive range of walking holiday packages at both home and abroad.

HF are offering two opportunities to walk A Dales High Way next year, in May and September. The holiday packages include full board accommodation at two of the charity's top quality country houses - Newfield Hall in Kirkby Malham and Thorns Hall in Sedbergh.

Transport to and from each day's walk is included, together with packed lunches and baggage transfer between venues. The walks are led by an experienced and approved walk leader.

The holiday includes 10 nights accommodation, with the walk itself split into 9 days of between 7 and 12.9 miles. The walk is set as Level 4 (of 5), described thus: "In moorland areas you may cover long distances in remote countryside and the terrain will often be rough underfoot. In mountainous areas you will encounter some sustained ascents and descents and occasional sections of scree and some steep ground."

Each year some 60,000 guests travel with HF Holidays. HF says of its Guided Trails: "All our holidays are accompanied by an experienced leader and include luggage transfers and walks transport enabling day after day of carefree walking. By the end of your holiday, you’ll have achieved a huge sense of achievement so lace up and begin your trail or island hopping adventure!"

Founded over 100 years ago as The Co-operative Holiday Association, HF says: "After a century of changes, the ethos at the heart of our holidays is still the same as in 1913 - beautiful locations, great leaders and pleasant sociable evenings with congenial company."

See HF's Dales High Way offer here. See other walking holiday companies here.

1 Oct 2017

New path improvements at Glovershaw

Countryside rangers from Bradford Council have completed some difficult and important path repairs to a section of A Dales High Way alongside Glovershaw Beck by Baildon Moor.

Footpath improvements by Glovershaw Beck

The steep banks of the beck had collapsed in places, narrowing the path and making progress difficult along a short section. The problems were noted in a survey by the Friends of A Dales High Way which was submitted to Bradford Council last year.

The well used footpath links Shipley Glen to Golcar Farm on the way to Rombalds Moor near the start of the trail. The problem area ran alongside Glovershaw Farm - a livery yard and a working stock farm, with a small suckler cow herd and  goats. 

The landowners at Glovershaw Farm were approached by the Council countryside officers about the problem and proved very helpful. New banking revetments have been installed and the path widened and surfaced for about 200 metres up to Glovershaw Lane.

Chris Grogan, secretary of the Friends of A Dales High Way said: "This is a great job. The path is safer and so much easier to follow now."

A Dales High Way shares this popular section of footpath with a number of trails, including the Welcome Way, the Bradford Millenium Way and the Bradford Dales Way Link.

The footpath originally left the beckside and passed directly through Glovershaw Farm onto Glovershaw Lane, but this final section was officially diverted in 1966 to run alongside the beck to join the road at its current location at Low Gate.

See our previous posting here, and the Friends of A Dales High Way here.

12 Sept 2017

September's Saltaire Festival line-up

An exciting mixed bag of entertainment has been lined up for this year's Saltaire Festival, which runs from the 8th to 17th of September.

Saltaire Festival in Roberts Park

The first weekend sees the popular Open Gardens trail throughout the village; with children's activities in Robert's Park between 11am and 4.40pm on September 9 and 10; Saltaire Beer Festival will be held at Saltaire Brewery in nearby Dockfield (1 mile along the canal towpath east); and The Organic Fruit, Flower, Vegetable and Produce Show which will take place on September 9, between 10am and 4pm, at the Exhibition Building.

The following weekend sees a mini festival in Roberts Park with music from bands including Motion Complex and Waiting for Wednesday; with a continental market in Exhibition Road between 9am and 5pm.

Justin Moorhouse, who appeared in TV sitcom Phoenix Nights, will perform at a comedy night held at the Caroline Social Club, on Wednesday, September 13. There will also be exhibitions, music, pop-up events and street entertainment throughout the festival period, so walkers setting off on A Dales High Way shouldn't miss out.

The Festival has been held annually in the world heritage village of Saltaire since 2003. Ros Garside, chairman of the Saltaire Festival Board, said: “We’re very proud of this year’s programme and I can’t wait for everyone to see it and start to plan their visits to the festival in September.”

See the full festival programme here, and see our previous posting here.

1 Sept 2017

Ilkley Moor Grouse shooting protest

Ban Bloodsports on Ilkey Moor

Around 100 protesters gathered on Ilkley Moor at the start of the Grouse shooting season, as part of a campaign to persuade Bradford Council to stop licensing the activity.

Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) says Bradford Council is the last local authority in the UK to allow grouse shooting on municipal moorland and is lobbying Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe not to renew a contract to do so which expires in 2018.

Its spokesman Luke Steele said: “There is only one way to manage Ilkley Moor for grouse shooting and that is through burning away and damaging precious habitat at the expense of our region’s wildlife.

“Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe must accept responsibility for the damage caused by grouse shooting to the moor’s wildlife, habitat and reputation on the local authority’s watch by giving a commitment to not renewing its disastrous shooting licence. Anything short will only ensure this conservation calamity continues.”

Grouse shooting has been blamed for a sharp decline in the numbers of protected wild birds over the moor. The wildlife crash, which has negatively impacted on the moor’s population of specialist species, including Merlin, Dunlin and Short Eared Owl, could result in the loss of the site’s conservation designations if declines continue,

One of England’s rarest breeding birds, the hen harrier, attempted to nest in the Yorkshire Dales National Park this spring for the first time in 10 years.

Two females laid eggs in nests sited on the edge of a moor managed for grouse shooting.  The birds were watched by a small team of staff and volunteers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and Natural England.

Unfortunately neither nesting attempt was successful. Both attempts are thought to have failed because of predation by foxes.

See our previous story here. See the Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor website here.

14 Aug 2017

Rail Trails support for Three Peaks project

The Yorkshire Three Peaks area enjoys many thousands of visiting walkers, including those enjoying a trek along A Dales High Way and those tackling the gruelling 24-mile Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge Route.

Kate Hilditch & Chris Grogan with Dales Rail Trails

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) relies heavily on fund-raising from supporters to cover the cost of a lot of the work they do in preserving, maintaining and improving this beautiful and iconic landscape. Park rangers have just finished a two-month, £58,000 repair project on Pen-y-ghent which saw stone flags being lifted to the summit by helicopter and being put into place – often in driving wind and rain.

This month Chris Grogan of Skyware Press, who publish the Dales High Way guidebooks and other titles such as Dales Rail Trails, was able to donate another £100 to the Three Peaks Project to support this work.

Chris Grogan said "So far we've been able to donate £400 from sales of Dales Rail Trails to the Dales National Park. It may be a modest sum, but it all helps. We've also been able to raise funds in a similar way from other titles, from supporting crowd-funding schemes and from our membership of the Friends of the Three Peaks."

Dales Rail Trails features 32 circular and linear walks from stations along the Settle-Carlisle line in the heart of Dales High Way country.

Buy your copy of Dales Rails Trails now and support the Yorkshire Three Peaks!

Photo shows Kate Hilditch (YDNPA Area Manager South) and Chris Grogan (Skyware Press)

See The Dales Rail Trails website here, and join the Friends of the Three Peaks here.

1 August 2017

Open Day for Malham Chapel Dig

Dr David Johnson oversees the Malham Chaple Dig

An Open day was held today to mark the closing stages of a two-week archaeological dig at the site of St Helen’s Chapel in Malham.

The site is in a field adjacent to the National Park Centre and car park.

The dig has been led by Dr David Johnson of the Ingleborough Archaeology Group with the help of a group of volunteers and follows on from two similar digs at the site in 2015 and 2016.

The excavations in 2015 and 2016 confirmed the location of an ancient chapel in Malham, dedicated to St Helen. The digs corroborated documentary evidence as to how the chapel was destroyed by the Edwardian chantry commissioners in 1549.

During the twelfth century major landholdings were given to the two monastic houses of Fountains Abbey and Bolton Priory in Malhamdale. After the upheaval of the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII all monastic land in Malham was surrendered to the Crown, then sold and resold.

The site of the lost chapel was finally re-established in 2014 when geophysical and topographical surveys appeared to reveal a two-cell building which resembled known profiles of early churches.

See the Malham Chapel Dig website here

13 July 2017

Dales High Way Talk & Walk

A Dales High Way plays a key role in Baildon Walkers are Welcome (WaW) events later this month.

Baildon Walkers are Welcome committee 2017The Baildon group hold their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday evening, 11 July. After the formal business of the AGM Chris Grogan will give an illustrated talk about the long-distance trail which passes Baildon Moor on its way to Ilkley. The public are welcome to attend the AGM and the talk, where refreshments will be available.

Then on the following day Chris will lead an 8-mile walk covering the first stage of A Dales High Way from Saltaire to Ilkley. All are welcome to join the free walk, which meets outside Victoria Hall in Saltaire at 10 a.m.

The route leaves Saltaire along the canal towpath and climbs steadily through Trench Wood to Shipley Glen before heading onto the open moors, passing the Twelve Apostles stone circle. The moorland is exposed and can be wet underfoot and the descent into Ilkley is steep and rocky so care must be taken. There is a short section along a busy road. Bring refreshments and a packed lunch, there are cafes and pubs at the end in Ilkley. The walk is expected to finish in Ilkley by 3 p.m., returning to Saltaire by train.

The led walk is part of Baildon WaW Summer Guided Walks Programme.

Baildon town was awarded Walkers Are Welcome status in 2013 after a two year campaign. The group organise a series of guided walks throughout the year, as well as publishing DIY local walk guides and a downloadable Baildon Village Walk. They also helped develop the Welcome Way, a 28-mile circular trail linking the Welcome Way towns of Baildon, Otley, Burley-in-Wharfedale and Bingley.

  • The AGM and talk will be held at Wesleys Hall, Baildon Methodist Church on Tuesday evening, July 11th, starting at 7.30 p.m.
  • The led walk - A Taste of A Dales High Way - leaves Victoria Hall, Saltaire on Wednesday July 12th at 10 a.m.

See the Baildon Walkers Are Welcome website here, and the Welcome Way website here.

1 July 2017

Appleby Horse Fair success despite wet weather

This year's Appleby Horse Fair drew to an end last weekend, with the general consensus of a successful week's festivities.

Appleby Horse Fair 2017

A Community Advisory Group has met throughout the Fair and provided feedback from both residents and Gypsies and Travellers. In general, they considered that the 2017 Horse Fair had gone really well, with very few incidents of concern.

Gypsy and Traveller representative Billy Welch said: “This year’s Fair has enjoyed a really positive atmosphere, even the rain couldn’t dampen our spirits! All has been peaceful and quiet on Fair Hill, the traditional stopping place for Gypsies and Travellers at the Fair."

The total number of caravans was down by 112 on last year, with 815 motorised caravans (trailers) and 176 bowtops - traditional horse drawn carriages. The number of traditional bowtops was up by 23 compared to 2016.

Dr Robin Hooper, Chair of the Multi Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) and the Chief Executive of Eden District Council said: “All the public agencies, charities such as the RSPCA and their dedicated volunteers, plus Gypsy and Traveller representatives have been working extremely hard not just during the Fair, but during the past year to ensure that Appleby Horse Fair is as safe and enjoyable as possible. The operational plan has been implemented successfully and the vast majority of people attending the Fair have enjoyed the good atmosphere, despite some very wet weather. Cumbria Police have again worked impeccably well and have taken a community led approach to public safety."

RSPCA Chief Inspector, Rob Melloy, said: “The main concern for the RSPCA this year was the high water level of the River Eden where horse washing takes place. The sheer volume of rainfall in the lead up to and during the Fair meant on some occasions we had to close the River Ramp and Jubilee Ford on a precautionary basis to protect the safety of animals and the public."

See our previous posting here, see the Official Appleby Horse Fair website here.

18 June 2017

New Ride2Stride video

A new short film celebrating the 2017 Ride2Stride Walking Festival is now available.

The video has been produced by David Halsall and Bridget Izod. The duo, both committee members of the Friends of A Dales High Way, have produced a number of walking films over the years, including a great account of walking A Dales High Way in 2012.

The video was filmed over the week of the festival and gives a flavour of all aspects of Ride2Stride - walks, talks and music!

This year's festival proved another great success, despite the kind of variable weather we have become accustomed to.

The programme on Friday April 28th was threatened by disruption when a rail strike was called for that day, especially as most of the walks and the music were focussed around Garsdale. However, walkers turned out in good numbers, arranging lifts to and from the area as needed. No-one was left stranded.

Chris Grogan, secretary of the Ride2stride organising committee, said "If you don't know what to expect at Ride2Stride, take a look at this film, then join us next year. You'll have a great time."

See Bridget and David's film of their Dales High Way walk here, and the Ride2stride website here.

5 June 2017

Improvement works to route

Walkers on A Dales High Way will notice improvement works along the route that have been undertaken over the winter months, ready for the new walking season.

Improvement works on A Dales High Way 2017

The work has been carried out by access officers for the four authorities along the way, following a detailed survey undertaken by the Friends of A Dales High Way which was submitted last year.

In Cumbria work on a collapsed bank at Cuddling Hole has greatly improved a short section near the end of the walk .

Geoff Fewkes, Countryside Access Officer for Cumbria County Council (CCC) said "The work done at Cuddling Hole was undertaken to make the route safe and has suffered more slippage in the lower part since that work was undertaken.  Even though no further work is presently planned, we are in no doubt that it's on-going work."

A series of new gates has been installed on the section from Newbiggin-on-Lune down to Great Asby, just before responsibility for this area was passed from CCC to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority as part of the national park extension.

New waymark signage has been put up in key places, including the turn-off up the lane to Lunds Farm, on the way to cross the Frostrow Fells for Sedbergh. Thanks here are due to the national park rangers.

In the Bradford District Council area new signage has gone up and encroaching vegetation on a particularly muddy area of The Street at Addingham has been cleared, making the going much easier.

Julia Pearson for the Friends of A Dales High Way said "We're grateful to the access officers for each of the authorities for the hard work they've put in to make the route easier for walkers. Of course there's always more to do, so it's a matter of priorities, but we will continue to monitor the route and pass on any problems we find."

Photos, anti-clockwise from the top: Cuddling Hole improvements near Appleby; new gate near Great Asby; new waymark at turn-off near Dent.

See also the Dales High Way Grot Spots here.

10 May 2017

Busy weekend on A Dales High Way

Walkers on A Dales High Way this weekend were likely to find themselves with lots of company.

Tour de Yorkshire 2017 passing through Saltaire

Hundreds of walkers turned out for the Ride2Stride Festival, with 13 led walks to choose from over the bank holiday weekend, between Settle and Dent. On Saturday all six walks on offer finished at Ribblehead for music in the Station Inn. They included A Taste of A Dales High Way; an 8-mile circular walk from Ribblehead to Chapel-le-dale led jointly by the Friends of DalesRail and the Friends of A Dales High Way.

On Saturday morning over 300 runners and walkers set off from Ingleton on the 55th annual Fellsman Challenge - 62 miles across the Yorkshire Dales with a total of 11,000 feet of ascent, taking in Ingleborough, Whernside and Dent. The front runners reached the finish line at Threshfield in less than 12 hours, with walkers taking up to 30 hours to complete the route.

Saturday also saw over 900 competitors take on the gruelling annual Three Peaks Fell Race, 23.3 miles crossing Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

Victoria Wilkinson of the Bingley Harriers set a new womens' record, knocking a decisive 5mins 24secs off the time set by Anna Pichrtova, of the Czech Republic, when the Three Peaks hosted the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in 2008. She finished in 13th place overall in a race won by Murray Strain, 34, of Hunters Bog Trotters in Edinburgh, who set a time of 2hrs 49mins 38secs.

Finally, Sunday saw the final day of the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race, which passed through Saltaire and the start of A Dales High Way on its way from Bradford to Sheffield.

Belgian Serge Pauwels claimed his first career win in the Tour de Yorkshire after winning Sunday's final stage. The Team Dimension Data rider, 33, timed his push perfectly on the final climbs of the 194.5km stage from Bradford to Fox Valley near Sheffield.

See Ride2Stride here, the Fellsman Challenge here, the Three Peaks Fell Race here and the Tour de Yorkshire here.

1 May 2017

Friends New Spring Newsletter

Friends of A Dales High Way Newsletter 4The Friends of A Dales High Way have welcomed the coming Spring with a new newsletter.

Springtime in Wharfe Woods opens the edition, with an invitation to Dales High Way walkers to take a slight deviation from their route beyond Feizor and enjoy the rich display of wildflowers there.

The Ten Top Dales Ales on offer to walkers also features, celebrating the booming micro-brewing industry that has seen the establishment of many new breweries along the route.

Featured beers include Saltaire Blond, Mary Jane, Wharfedale Black, Copper Dragon Best, Hetton Pale Ale, Mainline Bitter, Ingleborough Gold, Dent Aviator, Horse Fair Pale Ale and Wyvern Ale. If we missed your favourite, let us know!

There's the usual news roundup, including details of the forthcoming Ride2Stride Walking Festival at the end of April, which features a talk by our very own Chris Grogan.

And finally there's an extended first-hand account of the record-breaking run by three intrepid fell-runners - Mark Collinson, Matt Neale and Davie Dixon - as they cover the entire 93-mile route of A Dales High Way in just 26 hours and 15 minutes. Remarkable!

Download your free pdf copy of the Newsletter here, and see more of the Friends of A Dales High Way here.

14 Apr 2017

Dales High Way turns mobile-friendly

A Dales High Way website turns mobile-friendlyThose who have looked at this website before may have noticed a few changes recently.

A Dales High Way website has now gone fully mobile-responsive!

Website administrator Tony Grogan said: "We've been planning to do this for some time. The fact is that more and more people are using mobile devices to access the site and so we knew we had to cater for them. Upgrading the whole site, which has over 60 pages, was a quite a big job. But now that its done, we hope people will like it and find it much cleaner and easier to use."

Analysis shows that half the website's users now access it with a mobile phone or tablet. Those using mobile devices are certain to become the majority users in the near future.

Statcounter, a research company that tracks internet use across 2.5m websites, said 51.3% of pages were loaded on mobile devices in October 2016 - the first time they have surpassed desktop and laptop computers.

This is up from less than 5% in 2010 and less than 25% three years ago. Smartphones accounted for 46.5% of traffic, against 4.7% for tablets.

“This should be a wake-up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not,” commented Aodhan Cullen, Chief Executive Officer for StatCounter.

“Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results.”

In countries such as India, mobile internet usage is already high at 79%. In the USA and UK desktop and laptop internet usage (over 60%) still leads, but the gap is narrowing.

See Statcounter here, See Google's Mobile-friendly online test here.

2 April 2017

Wild Yorkshire on TV

A major 4-part documentary following the wild life of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks begins on Channel 5 on Tuesday evening.

Channel 5's Wild YorkshireFilmed across a year, this four-part cinematic treat begins in March when the barren peaks, deep dales and inhospitable moorland spring to life.

Yorkshire’s two national parks cover 1,400 square miles and receive some 20 million visitors a year, but this four-part documentary reveals a world hidden far from the human eye.

Unseasonably cold summer weather causes difficulties for several animals in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors, including an injured roe deer and her twins and Wensleydale's red squirrel population.

High up in Malham Cove, two 40-day-old peregrines must learn how to fly, while south of the North York Moors National Park, a pair of grebes carry their youngsters around on their backs.

Cameras capture the moment a queen bee, heavy with eggs for an entire generation, emerges sleepily from hibernation, a pair of great-crested grebe begin an elaborate courtship, and two rival adders fight over a female.

The natural history docs come after Channel 5's successful wildlife series Loch Lomond: A Year in the Wild.

The series starts on Tuesday 9pm on Channel 5.

See Channel 5's website here.

19 Mar 2017

Ride2stride 2017

Walkers are gearing up for the sixth annual Settle-Carlisle Walking Festival which gets underway next month. This year's Ride2stride festival is set to coincide with the re-opening of the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle railway line between Appleby and Carlisle at the northern end.

Chris Grogan in DentdaleChris Grogan, co-creator of A Dales High Way, will be giving a light-hearted illustrated talk on how this long-distance trail was devised, on Friday evening in Settle.

There is also a chance to enjoy a Taste of A Dales High Way the following day with a moderate 8 mile walk around Ribblehead, courtesy of the Friends of Dales Rail and the Friends of A Dales High Way.

The varied R2S programme includes some new initiatives as well as some old favourites. The popular tours of Appleby Castle and Settle Water Tower are back, along with a chance to enjoy the Jericho Shanty Town Experience.

For the more adventurous there are plenty of tough strenuous outings, including the popular High Cup Nick, Wild Boar Fell and some extended walks taking in the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

There's a fascinating moderate walk to visit Grisedale - The Dale that Died - though thankfully it has since revived. ITV's famous 1975 documentary is to be screened afterwards.

And as always, there's fabulous music each night in pubs along the line.

Walkers please note: No dogs other than registered assistance dogs, will be accepted on Ride2stride walks.

See the full 2017 Ride2stride programme here.  See our report on last year's Festival here.

5 March 2017

More steam serviced trains on track

Following the huge success of the Tornado steam locomotive service offered by Northern for three days last week, there are rumours that more such services may be in the offing.

MORE than 5,500 people travelled on services hauled by the Tornado on the famous Settle and Carlisle line on six return runs between Appleby and Skipton last week, it has been revealed.

Northern Rail said it was delighted by the public's reaction to the first timetabled steam service in England for almost 50 years. Extensive TV publicity following Tuesday's journeys brought bumper crowds out for the final runs on Thursday.

With normal ticket prices applying, it was possible to travel both ways for £10, using a Rail Card and the Day Ranger tickets. One group from The Friends of A Dales High Way enjoyed the trip, whilst another filmed the outing from the sidelines (see film).

The initiative is part of celebrations to mark the re-opening of the line between Appleby and Carlisle, which was closed a year ago following a massive landslip on to the line at Eden Brows, on March 31.

Engineers have carried out an estimated £23 million worth of repair work and other improvements to get it open again.

The re-opening will be celebrated with another steam locomotive outing on March 31st - this one a charter excursion with the world famous Flying Scotsman, though tickets cost a little more at £220 per head.

Northern Rail regional director Paul Barnfield said "Obviously we are absolutely delighted that this is proving such a great success, not least because a lot of people from all the organisations involved have worked very hard to make it happen, and it’s been a very positive collaboration all round. We hope to take this into the future.”

Douglas Hodgins, Chairman of the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line (FoSCL) added: “This has been a sell-out success and a huge credit to all those involved. There must be lessons here about the demand for steam, scenery and rail travel in general. It was the perfect curtain raiser for the re-opening of the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle route on 31 March.”

See The FoSCL website here. See details of the Flying Scotsman charter excursion here.

24 Feb 2017

Slackliners back at Malham Cove

Slackliners were out on Malham Cove again this weekend, as they rigged a line across the 90m high horeshoe chasm and crossed barefoot. Astonishing!

Slacklining above Malham Cove - photo courtesy Yorkshire Dales National Park Facebook PageThe Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority posted photos of them in action on their Facebook Page, bringing specatators in to watch in amazement (see left).

Two years ago the Slackliners created a record by rigging a line 210m long across the Cove - more than double the length that had been seen before. Guy Ruyssevelt, Jacob Hirsch and Jed Doohan made the attempted crossing high above the snow-capped landscape.

Watching them, Jake said on his Climb Out Blog: "I’m always humbled by the skill and mental ability that walking a highline requires. It just isn’t natural to walk into thin air along a 1 inch wide webbing but don’t be fooled these boys are not idiots. They take the environment seriously and they take their own safety even more seriously. Even to the extent of informing the correct authorities of their lines so that helicopters don’t pass by.

"These guys don’t have a death wish, they wear a harness and a leash attached to the line for when they fall. Everything is calculated and they have a lot of experience in rigging, Guy has worked in rope access, Jake is a circus performer and Jed travels all over Europe walking epic slacklines and pushing boundaries."

Slacklining refers to the act of walking or balancing along a suspended length of flat webbing that is tensioned between two anchors. Highlining is Slacklining at a great height!

See Jakes Blog of the 2015 crossing here. Watch Sarah Rixman and Daniel Laruelle on a 65m line 90m above Malham Cove in January 2015 here.

6 Feb 2015

Steam-hauled train offer on Settle-Carlisle line

A rare treat for aficionados of Dales High Way country is on offer over three Tornado - David Wrightdays in mid-February when Northern railways is running some of its normal service with a steam locomotive!

On the 14th, 15th and 16th of February a total of twelve Northern services will be run by steam-hauled, seven-carriage trains. They will pass over the ‘roof of England’ behind Britain’s newest steam locomotive, Tornado.  The world-famous line carves its way through the spectacular scenery of Cumbria’s Eden Valley, the Yorkshire Dales and crosses the majestic Ribblehead viaduct.

This unique operation is thought to be the first time in 50 years that steam has been used to haul scheduled passenger trains in England.  The project is a celebration of the line’s forthcoming official re-opening on 31st March 2017.  It has been closed for repairs between Armathwaite and Carlisle since February 2016. The service will run between Skipton and Appleby.

Normal fares apply, but demand is expected to be high. Tickets can be booked in advance online or at railway stations from today. Advanced seat reservation is vital - walk on tickets will only apply to limited seat availability on the day - likely to be none-existant.

The Chairman of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line, Douglas Hodgins, said: “The intention here is to give local people especially the opportunity of a real treat and a big ‘thank-you’ for their loyalty and patience during 2016 while the line has been closed to through traffic”.

Drew Haley, of the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company, commented: “This will be a spectacular one-off event for a very special railway.  Customers are advised to book early to make sure of a seat reservation”.

Approximate Timings on the slightly revised timetable are:

Southbound Northbound
Appleby 0825 1457   Skipton 1044 1715
Kirkby Stephen 0841 1513   Settle 1112 1743
Settle 0940 1604   Kirkby Stephen 1201 1831
Skipton 1008 1630   Appleby 1216 1846

Book your online tickets at Northern here. For more information see the Settle-Carlisle Development Company here. See the Tornado here.

25 Jan 2017

More Saltaire Movie Magic

Saltaire was once again the centre of movie action this week as streets were cleared for the filming of Funny Cow.

Filming of Funny Girl in SaltaireThe movie, starring Maxine Peake and Vic Reeves, tells the tale of a rising comedienne during the 1960's and '70's.

Filming took place on Mary Street and Upper Mary Street and adjoining back alleys, depicting Peakes' character during her childhood in the 1950's. The production company also created a 1950's set in one of the two-bedroom terraced houses. The film will be released later this year.

Film producer Kevin Proctor said "We quickly decided that Saltaire was the perfect location for our film when we came up to see it. Saltaire is cinematic. We have not had to build any sets. It is already here.

"People will see Saltaire when the film is released and get goosebumps. It is not just a location, it is somewhere we have picked."

Saltaire has become a favoured location for TV and movie producers. Earlier this year Saltaire featured on BBC's The Great Interior Design Challenge as designers competed to make-over the front rooms of three of the village homes.

Saltaire is, of course, the start of A Dales High Way, and most walkers setting out on the trail spend some time first exploring the Victorian mill village World Heritage site.

Filming of Funny Cow is also taking part in other Bradford district locations, including the Midland Hotel, Bradford Playhouse and Shipley Market Square.

Nearby Haworth was the setting for BBC's recent film drama of the Bronte sisters - To Walk Invisible.

David Wilson, director of Bradford City of Film said "We have a long list of people who want to come back and film in the Bradford district. The district has been used because of its rich film heritage. It has been used as a film location for the last 100 years."

See Bradford City of Film here. See the Funny Cow production site here.

13 Jan 2017

Ingleborough Rescues mark end of year

The Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) has been involved in two rescues on CRO rescue on Penyghent, November 2016Ingleborough as 2016 came to an end.

On the afternoon of December 29th a walker slipped on ice descending from Ingleborough on the steep section heading towards the Hill Inn, on the route of A Dales High Way. The 38 year-old man sustained a suspected dislocated knee. Team members responded and provided pain relief, before moving the casualty on a stretcher to flatter ground on Humphrey Bottom. A North West air ambulance was able to land and take the casualty to hospital for treatment.

The following day 4 walkers, including a 14 year-old girl, with 2 dogs became disoriented in mist whilst walking on Ingleborough. The walkers were able to contact the police via mobile roaming, but were unable to give an accurate location. After several mistaken locations, they found Gaping Gill, and were able to contact the duty controller directly by responding to his calls to them. As visibility was poor and night had fallen, they were told to stay where they were until team members arrived to escort them from the hill. Upon being met by 2 team members, they were loaned head torches and walked down to the team vehicle for transport back down to the road.

Liz Holloway later commented on the CRO's Facebook page: "Thank you so much for returning my family to safety yesterday after being lost on Ingleborough. I cannot praise you enough for ensuring their safe return."

CRO is a voluntary rescue team, based in Clapham and made up of local experienced cavers, climbers and walkers who give their time freely to help those in need of assistance. The team is funded entirely by charitable donations and is on call at all times, day or night. Despite the name they mainly attend callouts for surface incidents.

The CRO celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2015, a year in which it attended 84 incidents. In that year costs amounted to £52,000, but donations totalled £77,000.

Photo shows the team on a rescue from Penyghent on 19th November 2016. If you get into trouble on the fells, phone 999 and ask for the Police, then tell them you need MOUNTAIN RESCUE.

See the CRO website here and make a donation here

2 January 2017

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