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 2020

Top Gear's High Way Spin

Top Gear filming at the Station Inn

A trio of supercars have been touring Dales High Way country, as the BBC filmed an episode of the TV series Top Gear this week.

On Tuesday the Station Inn at Ribblehead, a favourite with Dales High Way walkers, posted several pictures and added: "So after almost three months of isolation following closure on March 23rd today we were delighted to welcome the team Top Gear to The Station Inn who used our car park as a base whilst filming for the upcoming new series. A great bunch and a manic day for both them and their cars. The Yorkshire weather mainly held off and even the RAF popped by to take a look!!

"Hopefully we will eventually get a green light to open The Inn so everyone can enjoy this fabulous place !!"

Unfortunately Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness came a cropper shortly afterwards running his red Lamborghini Diablo off the road and into a field on the way to Hawes. Fortunately he was unhurt. The TV star wrote on Instagram he had had a "bit of a prang" but insisted things were "all nice and bonny".

Dales High Way walkers generally enjoy the countryside at a more leisurely and safer pace.

See The Station Inn Facebook page here, and the Top Gear website here.

18 June 2020

Crowds Return as Lockdown Eases

YDNPA Car park Status 30May2020

Large crowds are flocking back to Yorkshire Dales honey-spots as the government eases restrictions on the Covid-19 Lockdown rules.

The relaxation of rules comes at the end of a Spring which has proved to be the sunniest in England since records began.

The National Park Authority re-opened car parks in mid May, following the government's new guidelines on exercise and leisure, which permitted travel for any distance to walk. As expected, Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Malham in particular proved popular destinations.

On the following Bank Holiday weekend, car parks quickly filled and there were real problems with traffic at Malham.

The National Park Authority is urging travellers to check their Car Park Status Webpage in the Dales before travelling. Last Thursday Mark Sadler, Communications Manager with the National Park said "Experience of recent weekends indicates that car parks in the south of the National Park – especially Malham and Horton-in-Ribblesdale – fill up early and quickly. We would therefore recommend, in addition to regularly checking the status of car parks, that people consider using car parks and walks in other parts of the National Park. "

By Saturday afternoon, though, most of the car parks were already full (see image).

Footpaths are open for walkers, including A Dales High Way, though at the moment only for day walks. Campsites are expected to be the first accommodation sites to open in the near future. B&Bs, hotels, restaurants and pubs are likely to be the last to reopen their doors to travellers.

But it is a good time to restart planning.

See the Yorkshire Dales National Park's Car Park Status here.

1 June 2020

Ride2Stride 2021

This week would have seen the 9th annual Ride2Stride Walking and Music Festival, but Covid-19 has meant the busy programme has been put back to 2021.

This week-long free festival of walks, talks and music covering Dales High Way country using stations along the line of the world-famous Settle-Carlisle railway has proved to be incredibly popular, attracting participants from across the country and the globe!

One of the special features of this years' programme was the inclusion of a complete long distance trail for the first time - the Six Peaks Trail was to be covered on four consecutive days.

This challenging 48-mile hike takes in 6 major peaks, including the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside, along with Great Knoutberry, Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell. With a total ascent of over 3 kilometres, this is not for the faint-hearted.

The first day from Settle to Horton on Wednesday would have taken in Pen-y-ghent. Thursday would have been especially tough taking in both Ingleborough and Whernside to finish at Ribblehead. Today was to have crossed Blea Moor and over Great Knoutberry to finish in Garsdale. Tomorrow would have seen the final leg crossing Swarth Fell and the magnificent Wild Boar Fell before dropping to Kirkby-Stephen.

Each leg would offer the comfort of a pub to finish and music from some of the best session musicians in the region. Anyone completing all four legs would have received a special certificate of achievement.

Alas, this year we can only dream, but why not join Bridget and David on their video diary of day 3 filmed in 2016 (above), and enjoy.

See you all next year hopefully!

See Ride2Stride here, the Six Peaks Trail here, and Dales Rail Trails here.

1 May 2020

Rights of Way remain open to locals

Covid-19 and rights of way

Public footpaths will remain open for local walkers, in order to exercise safely during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

A Dales High Way is closed to long-distance walkers for the time-being, but sections remain open to locals who live along the route.

Last week the Yorkshire Dales National park Authority spelt out clearly its position on public footpaths in the area. In a published statement, Mark Sadler, Communications Manager with the YDNPA, said: "We have received concerns from some members of the public about rights of way remaining open at the present time.

"At present we believe public rights of way in the Yorkshire Dales National Park provide an opportunity for local people to take exercise, physical and spiritual, and get some fresh air in these difficult times. These paths should not be blocked or obstructed.

"It is also important to stress that people should not be making special journeys to access them. Travel to exercise is NOT essential travel and people should not be travelling to do their daily exercise."

There was major concern at the number of people driving up to Malham and other areas a fortnight ago.

The statement continues "Where rights of way pass close to, or through residential and agricultural properties, it is important that the existing Government advice regarding social distancing and hand washing is adhered to."

Nick Cotton, Member Champion for recreation management said: “Walking or cycling in the Yorkshire Dales, carried out responsibly, with social distancing from other people, is an excellent way to maintain our physical and mental health. These are both vital components in keeping our strength and maintaining our spirits through the Covid-19 crisis. The days are getting longer and we should channel the energy of springtime to help us face the future with positive feelings of rebirth and renewal”

See the full statement here.

3 April 2020

Dales Events fall to Coronavirus

Three Peaks Fell Race

Outdoor events in Dales High Way country have been postponed or cancelled due to the spread of Coronavirus.

With infections expected to peak in May, some events have been pushed back to late summer, by which time it is hoped the pandemic will have run its course.

The annual Three Peaks Fell Race which was due to be held on the 25th April this year, has been rescheduled for Saturday 26th September.

Organisers said "Our main concern over the infection risk was the start and finish area where we have upwards of 1,200 people in the marquee used for registration and the prize giving.

"Our decision should make it easier for people to plan other events and avoid unnecessary travelling. The revised date of 26th September 26 will be confirmed as soon as possible. We are working with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to avoid clashes with other events planned for that weekend."

The 58th Fellsman Race, due to be held also on the 25th and 26th April, has been cancelled completely. The 61-mile route starts in Ingleton, crossing Ingleborough and Whernside before passing through Dentdale and on into Wherfedale to finish at Threshfield. Around 400 runners participate.

Organisers said " This is not a decision we have taken lightly and we are aware that many will be bitterly disappointed. We wished to make the decision ourselves, before it could be made for us."

The Punk Panther Ultra-marathon race along A Dales High Way, originally scheduled for Saturday May 9 - 10, involving up to 200 runners, has closed to entrants until further notice.

HF Holidays have closed their country houses until at least the end of April, which will mean that their planned Dales High Way Walking Holiday for that month will have to be re-scheduled or cancelled altogether.

All pubs and cafes along the route have now closed and great efforts are being made by Walking Holiday providers and B&B's to rearrange any planned bookings.

The 2020 Ride2Stride Walking Festival has been cancelled for this year, though dates for next year have been confirmed. Guided walks by the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL), Friends of Dale Rails (FDR) and the Ramblers have all been postponed until after the current crisis.

Original article UPDATED: 21 March 2020.

See the Three Peaks Fell Race website here, the Fellsman site here, and the Punk Panther site here.

14 March 2020

New edition of Route Guide

A Dales High Way Route Guide - Third Edition

The third edition of A Dales High Way Route Guide is now available.

Fully updated, the slim book is specially designed for use as the primary route guide for the walk.

The route is set out in a series of detailed strip maps at a scale of 1:25,000. The book is robust, pocket-sized and the detailed route maps carry instructions ON the maps themselves. Each copy comes in an optional but handy, weather resistant plastic wallet.

Colin Speakman, well known author and fell walker and chairman of the Dales Way Association said: “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 the extended Yorkshire Dales and Westmorland Fells National Park."

A Dales High Way is entering its twelfth year as a long distance trail, and is proving increasingly popular with walkers looking for an adventurous and challenging route.

This May it is to host an ultra-marathon race for up to 200 runners, who have to complete the 90-mile route in under 36 hours. The event is being organised by Punk Panther.

A Dales High Way Route Guide (Third Edition). ISBN: 978-1-911321-06-4 (Skyware Ltd) Feb 2020. £8.99

See more on A Dales High Way Route Guide Third Edition here. See the Punk Panther Ultra Marathons here.

1 Mar 2020

Storms batter Dales High Way Country

Flood damage at Glovershaw Beck

Just as the flooding from Storm Ciara begins to subside, more flooding is likely on its way with Storm Dennis.

Many areas along the route of A Dales High Way have been affected, with flash flooding in Appleby, Dent and Saltaire. River levels have now dropped, but many paths remain muddy and waterlogged.

Over 100mm of rain fell in an 18 hour period on Sunday - one month's worth in a single day. Many trains were cancelled, including those on the Settle-Carlisle line. Storm Dennis is expected to bring high winds and about 80mm more rain this weekend, but with rivers already high and the ground waterlogged, more flooding seems inevitable.

High waters in Glovershaw Beck, near the start of A Dales High Way, have swept away revetments and parts of the path that were only repaired after flooding in 2017. At the moment the path is still passable with care, but that may change soon. Walkers along this part of the route are advised to consider alternatives.

Chris Grogan of the Friends of A Dales High Way said "Though we believe the trail as a whole is still open, at this time it is probably best to avoid some of the low level, farmland paths which have been flooded. They are likely to be very muddy. And, of course, higher level sections should not be tackled in high winds and heavy rain. Please check in advance and take care out there."

The worst affected paths are in the lower, arable areas of the trail. Walkers should be aware of potential problems - Grotspots - and the options before setting off on the trail.

UPDATE: 2 Mar 2020 - This section of path is now subject to a temporary closure notice by Bradford Council, until repairs can be made. Please use the suggested alternatives until further notice.

See suggested alternatives to Glovershaw Beck here. See our previous post here. Check out the Grotspots here.

14 Feb 2020

£1.2 million for Skipton High Street

Skipton High Street

Skipton has scooped over £1.2 million of government funding to boost its Skipton High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) initiative.

The money from Historic England is part of a £95 million pot to revitalise the nation's high streets.

Craven County Council will oversee the project. Its Policy committee members were told the overarching theme of the Skipton HAZ was to "start the process of changing the profile of users of Skipton town centre towards a greater focus on young people and families" and make it more walking and cycle friendly.

A breakdown of the grant shows £258,480 spent on a performance venue at the town hall, £150,000 on Coach Street public square and improving its accessibility, £35,000 on ginnels (making safe routes linking the high street to secondary retail areas and which are currently unlit, litter-strewn and have uneven surfaces), £85,000 on creating youth markets on the setts and £600,000 on an Otley Street Arts House.

Pedestrianising some areas and encouraging more accommodation in the high street was also suggested at the Policy committee meeting.

The programme is spread over four years and Heritage England have made it clear they want the design to cover four threads - community engagement, physical intervention, conservation and heritage and a cultural programme.

Skipton is a popular overnight stop for walkers on A Dales High Way. Skipton High Street was voted "Best in Britain" in 2009 by the Academy for Urbanism and the town itself was deemed the "best place to live in the UK" by the Sunday Times in 2014.

See our previous story here.

1 Feb 2020

Dales Rail Trails 2020

Dales Rail Trails Edition 2

Walkers can enjoy exploring Dales High Way country at their leisure with the help of a brand new edition of Dales Rail Trails which is published this month.

The new edition features 32 walks from stations along the world-famous Leeds-Settle-Carlisle railway - 18 circular walks of between 6 and 12 miles long, with an additional 14 linear walks linking stations along the line. Each route has detailed large-scale mapping at a scale of 1:25,000, with descriptive notes and full colour photographs. Each route has been re-surveyed to bring it bang up-to-date.

Chris Grogan, co-author of the guidebook, said "This is our favourite walking country and we loved every minute of the work producing this book. We worked with fellow walk leaders from the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL) to check the routes, and we continue to help lead many of the routes as part of FoSCL's free led-walks programme."

The book also includes details of 2 long distance trails: the very popular 24-mile Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge Route and the altogether tougher 48-mile Six Peaks Trail.

Publication of the first edition in 2011 inspired the creation of the Ride2Stride Walking Festival, which continues to go from strength to strength. This year's Festival will include four FoSCL led walks on consecutive days covering the whole Six Peaks Trail - a tough challenge indeed!

Dales Rail Trails, by Tony & Chris Grogan, costs £9.99 and is available online from Skyware Press, or from the FoSCL shop at Settle station.

See more of Dales Rail Trails here, the FoSCL Guided Walks programme here, and Ride2Stride here.

15 Jan 2020

Farmland to woodland

Trees planted alongside the River Ribble near Stainforth Force - Ribble Trust

The upland landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales are likely to change dramatically in the future, if suggested moves are taken to tackle the climate crisis.

The former chief scientific advisor to the government, Prof Sir Ian Boyd, has called for half the UK farmland to be switched from farmland to woodland, mostly in upland areas which are unsuitable for growing crops. He said such a change would see cattle and sheep production fall by up to 90%, with subsidies used instead for storing carbon.

"It would be much better to store carbon and water, grow trees and make land available for people to improve their health" he said.

Tree planting along riverbanks and feeder streams, such as the River Ribble, is already being employed to help reduce flooding. Restoration of blanket bogs on moorland such as Rombalds Moor is also being actively promoted.

In May a report from Rewilding Britain called for 25% of the nation to be returned to natural habitat.

Surprisingly, Brexit might prove a catalyst for change. The current EU system pays farmers grants according to the amount of land they own. The government plans to shift farm subsidies towards what it calls "public money for public goods" - a principle supported by Rewilding Britain.

Photo shows tree planting along the Ribble near Stainforth, courtesy of the Ribble Trust.

See Rewilding Britain here.

1 Jan 2020

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