New guide to Britain's Long Distance Trails
A brand new guide to over 700 of Britain's long distance trails
has just been published,
featuring many new routes - including A Dales High Way.
The UK Trailwalker's Handbook is produced by the Long
Distance Walkers Association and this expanded and updated edition
is the eighth version to be produced since 1980. The first
contained just 150 trails, but the list has grown year by year up
to the current 730 trails covering some 60,000 miles.
Producing such a detailed and well illustrated directory
running to 380 pages has been a momentous task. Co-author John
Sparshatt said "Our team have been working on the book for
the past three years. Paul Lawrence has been involved with the
database for over 10 years."
With the popularity and growth in long distance trails,
deciding what to include was a major headache. John reckons over
300 trails had to be left out:
"Each trail we included in the Handbook had in the main to
be over 15 miles long and have a publication that was still
available and sufficient information so that a prospective walker
could obtain details. Many very good trails have been left out
because the associated guide book had gone out of print and was no
longer easily available. A great shame for some walks whose
publications were old - however these walks are still detailed on
our website where a comprehensive list is available to the public
free of charge."
It is estimated that some 16 million people - about a third of
the population - has used a named long distance path in the last
year. Walking is now the most popular outdoor activity. So, happy
walking to all out there for 2010!
The UK Trailwalker's Handbook, 8th edition, edited by Paul
Lawrence, Les Maple and John Sparshatt, published by Cicerone.
ISBN 9781852845797 price £18.95.
Buy the Trailwalker's
Handbook from the LDWA website, or check out A
Dales High Way's listing.
24 December 2009
Sherpa to carry load for High Way walkers
Baggage couriers Sherpa Van have added A Dales High
Way to the routes they service for 2010. This follows demand
from walkers, and will compliment the service they already offer
to Dales Way walkers.
It will cost £7 per day, subject to a minimum of two
bags. Sherpa also offer full accommodation booking along the route if required.
Sherpa, the largest of the baggage courier companies, join
Brigantes who have been servicing the route since May this year.
The Sherpa Van Project was the brainchild of Frank McCready,
who organises walking holidays through his company Sherpa
Expeditions. Sherpa Expeditions began in 1973 offering a months
walking in Nepal. In the same year one Alfred Wainwrwight
published his guide to a new long distance route - his
Coast-to-Coast walk. Sherpa were soon organising walking and
cycling holidays in Britain too.
In May 1998 Frank founded the Sherpa Van Project, which began
carrying baggage for Coast-to-Coast walkers from B&B to
Frank said "Sherpa Van has been operating for about 10
years now. Demand for our services has been good - this year we
are moving around 7000 bags every month in season."
Sherpa are currently featuring A Dales High Way as their
"Trail of the month" on their website.
See The Sherpa Van website
and Sherpa Expeditions.
the other major baggage couriers.
13 December 2009
Settle-Carlisle railway in world top-ten
The railway journey on the scenic Settle to Carlisle line has
been rated one of the top
ten railway journeys in the world by ABC News in America.
The rail journey, enjoyed by walkers returning from A Dales
High Way, is listed alongside the 1000-mile South African Blue
Train journey, the Paris to Istanbul Orient Express, the
Trans-Siberian railway and Canada's Rocky Mountaineer.
ABC's young London correspondent Samantha Fields said "For
so many people, there is something undeniably romantic about the
idea of train travel. Of the many great train journeys to be found
around the world, we picked 10 of the most scenic and
unforgettable; some expensive and luxurious, others historic and
rustic. From Siberia to South Africa, Switzerland to Singapore,
these are trips that will whisk you back in time, and away through
some of the world's most stunning countryside.
Mark Rand, chairman of the Friends of the Settle Carlisle line,
said: “We always knew the Settle and Carlisle was extra special,
but to be ranked number two in the whole world is a real honour.
Now we need to spread the word and bring in people from all
corners of the globe to come and visit this wonderful line.”
See the ABC
News article here, and watch the Yorkshire
Post video of the journey.
1 December 2009
Cumbria downpours set pattern for future
Police today appealed to walkers to stay away from the Cumbrian
Fells until the weather
improves, as mountain rescue team members rest after days of
emergency flood relief work.
But the floods which have devastated many parts of Cumbria this
month look likely to become regular features of climate change
Research at Newcastle University has established that
rainstorms have got twice as intense over the last 40 years, while
the Environment Agency predicts that days of heavy rainfall will
become three to four times more common over the next decades,
increasing flooding tenfold.
In Cumbria, the 314.4 mm rainfall recorded in just 24 hours at
Seathwaite on Thursday 19 November is a new UK record. The
downpour, in which local PC Bill Barker died, has been described
Similar weather conditions in January 2005 led to flash floods
which swamped Carlisle. Three people were killed, many homes and
businesses were flooded and schools were closed. There was
widespread transport disruption with all of Carlisle's buses
damaged. Appleby, Cockermouth and Keswick also had flooding.
Speaking to MP's in June 2007, whilst Britain faced record
summer rainfall, former government chief scientist Sir David King
warned of the effects of climate change.
"The most serious impact in Britain is flash floods. The
Victorians left us with a drainage infrastructure that is good for
soft rain, but with torrential down pours it can't cope," he
told the committee. "We will have to have considerable more
investment in redoing those systems."
Cumbria's Climate Change Strategy, published by the county
council just last summer, forecast winter rainfall rising by as
much as 30% by 2080.
The record 24-hour rainfall figures join a number of weather
records set over the last few years:
October 2008 - coldest October days recorded in South East
July 2007 - record summer rainfall in UK.
July 2006 - hottest month in UK on record.
January 2003 - highest January temperatures on record over much of
Update: the Met Office have confirmed that this November
is the wettest November on record, with an average of 217.4 mm
See Cumbria County
Council's Flood updates, and the Cumbria
Climate Change Strategy 2008-2012,
24 November 2009
Walking is the "new rock 'n' roll"!
The country's National Trails, which include the Pennine Way,
Way and the Yorkshire Wolds Way, have been walked by record
numbers this year.
In the first six months of 2009, "people counter"
devices buried under the Trails have shown an increase in footfall
of between 27% and 40%. And in the last three months the number of
people visiting the National Trails website has risen 41% on the
same period last year.
These figures reinforce other evidence that many people have
chosen walking holidays at home this year in response to the
Sheila Talbot, the National Trails Specialist, said "The
glorious autumn weather we have just experienced has made a
difference, with many people deciding to book a last minute
holiday in this country. All the signs are that 2010 will be
another bumper year for visitor numbers to our countryside. I
attended the "Walkers are Welcome" conference in September and for the first time heard the phrase
"walking is the new rock 'n' roll!" The increase in
media coverage this year, from walking articles in the press to
walking programmes on TV with glamorous young presenters such as
Julia Bradbury is certainly helping make walking cool".
According to Welcome to Yorkshire - the county's official
tourism agency - it has been a record breaking summer for
Yorkshire’s tourism industry. Helped by a weak pound and the
staycation summer, Yorkshire has outperformed the rest of the UK
by reporting increased visitor numbers, increased visitor spend
and increased occupancy levels.
See the National
Trails website, Welcome to
Yorkshire and visit Julia
14 November 2009
Day school updates Dales Archaeology
The Prehistory of the Yorkshire Dales was examined at a public
in Grassington on Saturday.
The latest archaeological research was presented to an audience
of several hundred people who packed into the town hall.
An overview of the changing Dales environment during the late-
and post-glacial periods was given by Terry O'Conner. He pointed
out that the current Dales landscape, which we work so hard to
preserve, is perhaps only a few hundred years old. For much of the
last 12,000 years the area was covered by woodland, and wild bear
and lynx roamed here at least until the Anglo-Saxon period.
The morning session concentrated on cave archaeology, with
presentations by Roger Jacobi, Tom Lord and Tim Taylor. Radio
carbon dating on carved reindeer antler rods found in Victoria
cave near Settle show modern humans were present over 14,000 years
The important contribution of community archaeology projects
featured in the afternoon sessions. New work on Prehistoric field
systems in Swaledale and Upper Wharfedale were presented by Tim
Laurie and Roger Martlew, with Alan King and Mark Simpson
describing evidence from a new survey around the Ingleborough
Finally Robert White, the National Park's Senior Conservation
Archaeologist, gave an overview of current research and areas of
concern in the Dales area. He highlighted the damage inadvertently
done to archaeological sites by walkers building cairns and
shelters. Those on Beamsley Beacon have already been removed and
similar action on Ingleborough is planned.
The event was an addition to the annual history day school put
on in April each year by the Dales National Park Authority. It was
jointly organised with People, Landscape And Cultural Environment
of Yorkshire (PLACE) and the Yorkshire Dales Landscape Research
Speaking before the event, Robert White said: "It is a
must for anyone interested in local history and, unlike the April
day school which looks at a wide range of aspects of the historic
environment, this will concentrate on the prehistory in the
Yorkshire Dales - life before the Romans. One of the main subjects
will be the changing environment in the late and post-glacial
See the websites for PLACE
and the Yorkshire Dales
Landscape Research Trust.
1 November 2009
New Met forecast for Dales weather
The Yorkshire Dales now has it's own "mountain area"
weather forecast from the Met Office. The forecasts, which will
be updated twice each day, include a colour-coded hazards forecast
to highlight key risks on the fells, including hill fog,
thunderstorms, chill effect and blizzards.
Pat Boyle, Public Weather Service Manager at the Met Office,
said: "The weather in the Dales can change with little or no
warning and an unprepared walker can quickly find themselves at
risk. Whether it's a well-planned expedition or a spur of the
moment decision to go to the hills, it is important to check the
Mark Allum, Access Projects Officer at the Yorkshire Dales
National Park Authority said: "The Yorkshire Dales is a
fantastic area for outdoor activities and, whether you are a hill
walker, a caver or a mountain biker, an accurate forecast is a
critical piece of information. The weather in the Dales is often
very different to what is happening in Leeds or York, so this
specific mountain weather forecast is very welcome."
The new forecasts for the Yorkshire Dales National Park will
join the comprehensive forecasts already provided for the Brecon
Beacons, Peak District, Snowdonia, Lake District, and West and
See the Met
Office's Dales forecast here, or via our own Links
23 October 2009
Researchers investigate decline of summer birds
Researchers from the RSBP are heading to Africa to try and
determine why there has been such an alarming decline in migratory
birds who come to northern Britain for the summer.
A decline of around 40% in species such as the cuckoo, wood
warbler and yellow wagtail has been recorded over the last three
decades. Other species affected include the nightingale, turtle
dove, flycatcher and winchat.
The RSPB and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), have
joined forces to mount the largest research project of its type to
understand more about our birds that spend the winter south of the
The project will involve researchers monitoring birds along a
corridor stretching from Ghana's Atlantic coast to northern
Burkina Faso, spanning a range of habitats from coastal rainforest
to the edge of the Sahara desert.
The RSPB's Dr Danaë Sheehan, who will be monitoring birds in
West Africa, said: "The drastic declines of some of our
best-loved summer-visiting birds, such as the cuckoo, turtle dove
and nightingale, is one of the greatest concerns currently raging
A number of potential causes for the declines of migrants have
been suggested, including: climate change, changes in rainfall
patterns, and land degradation. Predicted increases in human
population and climatic variability in West Africa are likely to
exacerbate these threats.
Of 105 widespread countryside birds in the UK, eight out of
twelve of those declining most rapidly since the mid 1990s are
summer migrants. According to the latest bird population
estimates, published in the 2008 Breeding Bird Survey, the
following summer migrants are suffering the greatest population
declines between 1995 and 2007: turtle dove,-66 per cent; wood
warbler,-60 per cent; pied flycatcher, -51 per cent; yellow
wagtail, -49 per cent; whinchat, -43 per cent; nightingale, -41
per cent; spotted flycatcher, -38 per cent; and cuckoo, -37 per
See the RSPB website and
the previous posting.
13 October 2009
Fair policing for Cautley
Residents of Cautley, near Sedbergh, are appealing for better
policing in the run-up to next year's Appleby Horse Fair. They have
arranged a meeting with Cumbria Chief Constable Craig Mackey in
November hoping to resolve problems arising from temporary
encampments for travellers in the area.
This year's fair was hailed as a success by organisers and
Gypsy representatives, following the introduction of new
regulations and a Multi Agency Strategic Co-Ordinating Group to
oversee the event. Strict licensing regimes governed street
trading and caravan sites, with access to the traditional Fair
Hill site blocked until the start of the fair.
However, the new regime at Appleby led to greater pressure at
the transit camps south of the Eden Valley, such as the one at
Cote Moor, north of Cautley.
John Challoner, who set up a neighbourhood forum as a sounding
board for residents in the area of Cautley, said: “We sympathise
with the travellers because they are all being bundled together
and they are living up the road in Cautley for weeks and it’s
very unsanitary and unpleasant for them.
“We want better designated areas for caravans so they are not
just crammed together in one little corner and they can graze
“But our sympathies also go out to the police because they
have to deal with large numbers of people and to the local
residents because it is going on their doorstep.”
Local MP Tim Farron said Cumbria Constabulary had done a ‘brilliant’
job of policing the Eden district during the annual event but said
the southern district past Cautley had been almost entirely ‘lawless’.
He said: “Cumbria Constabulary has taken the view that this
is an Appleby problem but it affects villages all the way up the
roads to Appleby.
“When the travellers get to Eden they can’t move any
further than Cautley. There were plenty of police in Eden but only
about two officers on Cautley road.”
The number of Gypsy and Traveller visitors this year was around
20 per cent down on 2008, with around 1,500 caravans at Appleby
and around 1,500 horses sold.
See the official Appleby
Horse Fair site here. See Previous
3 October 2009
Ingleton Folk Weekend
Ingleton Folk Weekend - “One of the best small folk festivals”
- kicks off on Friday October 2nd for the weekend, and most of it
McCalmans headline the main concert on Saturday and on Friday
night the Festival Ceilidh features Mooncoyn and Curragh Sons. But
the festival is best known for the many free gigs and impromptu
sessions around the pubs, clubs and cafes of Ingleton, with events
as far afield as the Station Inn at Ribblehead and the Hill Inn at
On his Radio 2 Blog last year, Mike Harding said “There are
lots of folk festivals that I go to in the course of the year:
some of them big, some of them massive, some of them middling and
some of them small. Being a friend of Snow White's myself…, I've
long held that small is both beautiful and more interesting (think
of it: Arthur Askey, Janette Krankie, Mussolini). One of the best
small festivals is Ingleton Folk Weekend.
“Ingleton, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park,
suffered really badly under Foot and Mouth and, as part of the
regeneration that went on after that disaster, it hosted its own
folk festival. It was only supposed to be a one-off event, but it
proved so popular that it's gone on ever since.
“Like all great festivals the pubs are the core of the
weekend with great (and free) music coming out of every bar and
The Hill Inn is the setting for the much loved Comic Song
Competition on Sunday afternoon where competitors face a tough
audience (see photo). There are also free workshops on singing,
dancing and musicianship for adults and kids throughout the
See the Ingleton Folk
Weekend website here.
24 September 2009
Dales Way celebrates its 40th birthday
Bright September sunshine greeted 35 members and friends of
the Dales Way Association on Saturday as they completed the final
leg of the celebrated long distance walk, marking its 40th
Walkers head down to Lake Windermere (above). Dales
Way Association footpath officer Alex McManus and chairman
Colin Speakman relax (below).
The 80-mile walk across the Yorkshire Dales, from Ilkley to
Bowness-on-Windermere, was first walked 40 years ago, when 120
people met up in Ilkley to cover the first leg. Amongst those was
Association chairman Colin Speakman, who surveyed the original
route and wrote the first guide to the Dales Way in 1970. He led
Saturday’s walk. Another of the original walkers was Shirley who
was also there on Saturday, aged 80, finishing the walk in style.
In 1967 Colin Speakman and Tom Wilcock of the West Riding
Ramblers first put forward their plans for the route to local
government officials. Colin explains; “Sadly the old Countryside
Commission were lukewarm about the idea as they had their own
plans for a long defunct proposed Pennine Way – Lake District
link across the northern Howgill Fells, and our idea, serving
villages and towns where people could actually stay overnight and
spend money in pubs and cafes, was studiously ignored.
“So we decided on People Power. We, as ramblers, would create
the Dales Way, not the office-bound bureaucrats and we’d get the
route known to walkers, publish a guide book, organise walks along
it, raise its profile so that sooner or later it would be
recognised as a major popular route.”
The Dales Way has never received recognition as an official
National Trail, yet it remains one of the most popular long
distance walks in the country. Thousands of walkers set out each
year to follow its gentle riverside route through the heart of the
Yorkshire Dales and on into Lakeland. For many it is the first
long distance walk they ever undertake.
In 1991 the Dales Way Association was formed to support and
maintain the route and now has over 500 members. The importance of
the Dales Way is also now officially recognised.
“Resources are now being spent on the route which is seen by
the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and other local
authorities such as Bradford and Cumbria County Council as a prime
example of green tourism development, encouraging people to walk,
offering major physical and mental health benefits in so doing,
but also bringing real benefit to the rural economy as people
spend money on food and accommodation.”
See the Dales Way
Association website and the West
13 September 2009
Sedbergh launch for new High Way Companion
A Dales High Way Companion is launched later this month
at the Sedbergh
Festival of Books and Drama. The new book, an illustrated guide
and companion to the walk, complements the original Route Guide
which was published last year.
“The first book was designed to be a very practical, useful
guide to the route,” said co-author Tony Grogan. “It’s
pocket sized and contains mainly strip maps. However, we always
wanted to produce a book which delved deeper into the more
interesting aspects of the geology, history, culture and wildlife
you’re likely to see along the way. This is that book.”
“The Route Guide has proved very popular with walkers,”
said Chris Grogan, “but this is the book that you read in the
pub at the end of a long day’s walking, or pull out when you
stop for a break. We’re really proud of this. We aren’t
experts in geology, archaeology or botany, but we’ve had a lot
of help from people who are. The book also contains some really
stunning images by a number of professional and amateur
photographers and we’re very grateful to them all. We hope this
book will add to the enjoyment of the walk and help people get the
most from it.”
Chris and Tony will be joining Mark Richards, author of the
Cicerone Lakeland Fellranger series, at the Sedbergh
Festival. Mark said “I will be looking at how we perceive the
fells, what they mean to us, where we love to be and then, how we
can repay the fells for the joy they bring into our lives.”
This is the fifth Annual Festival hosted by Sedbergh, which was
recognised as England’s official Book Town in 2006. The book
will go on sale officially after the Sedbergh event.
“On a Shank’s Pony”, Sunday, 20 September,
2 pm, People’s Hall, Sedbergh, £4.00. More details on the Sedbergh
Festival of Books and Drama website.
You can also catch the Saltaire launch of A Dales High
Way Companion at Saltaire Bookshop, Monday 14 September,
6.30 pm, £2.50.
7 September 2009
Take a virtual 3-D Tour of A Dales High Way
You can now follow the entire route of A Dales High Way without
out of the front door, courtesy of Google Earth and publishers
Using Google's free earth mapping software and a simple link to
the Skyware Tour, it is possible to fly along the entire 90 mile
route in stunning 3-D detail in just 20 minutes.
"We first showed the Google Earth fly-by as part of our
presentation on the launch of the route at last year's Saltaire
Festival, and it proved very popular" said author Chris
Grogan. "So we decided to make it available to anyone who
could access the website. It's great fun, and gives you some idea
of what to expect on the walk itself."
Google Earth was released in 2005, after Google bought Keyhole
Inc., the company that created it. Google Earth has already proved
a huge hit with walkers. It combines detailed aerial photographs
covering the entire globe with an accurate 3-dimensional model of
the terrain to produce a very realistic representation of the
landscape. Skyware's Tour maps points along the route and combines
varied camera angles to produce a compelling fly-by experience.
"It's free and very simple to download," said Chris.
"It only takes a couple of minutes, and as well as the tour
you can use it to look at the terrain at any particular spot in
See How to
take the Tour here
30 August 2009
Boathouse rises from the ashes
Saltaire's historic Boathouse has reopened following a
by owners Punch Taverns.
The new-look, extended pub and restaurant is run by Jas Bhatt,
who also co-owns Don't Tell Titus on Victoria Road.
The contemporary design retains most of the original features, but
the new open frontage and wide, full-length windows indicate a
more relaxed approach from conservation officers in the World
Originally built by Titus Salt in 1871 as part of Roberts Park,
the Boathouse changed from a tea shop to a restaurant in the early
1980s and eventually busted Salt's "no alcohol" rule in
1997 when it was granted a pub licence. The Boathouse closed last
year and suffered fire damage from two arson attacks.
"After the fires, the pub was literally a shell, so it's
an absolute delight to see the finished site" said Jas Bhatt.
"The changes are incredible. The interior and exterior
have been completely refurbished in a traditional but contemporary
style. There's a brand new central bar, an extension for the new
kitchen and sliding doors to make the best of the view of the
The speedy renovation comes alongside a £4.5 million scheme to restore Roberts Park to its former glory, expected to be
completed next Easter.
Unfortunately this means that the park will not be available as
a venue for this year's Festival, which runs from the 10th - 20th
See the Saltaire
Festival website and the new
22 August 2009
Friends gather to support Three Peaks
The famous Three Peaks area of the Yorkshire Dales is to gain
Friends network. The launch event is scheduled for August 21st
when groups of walkers will meet to climb one of the peaks, Pen-y-ghent,
Ingleborough or Whernside, before gathering at the Station Inn in
The first member of the Friends will be Calendar Girl Angela
Baker, whose husband John worked for the Dales National Park
Authority and initiated the original Three Peaks Project in the
Over 250,000 people visit the area each year. Many come to take
on the Three Peaks challenge, a gruelling 24 mile hike round all 3
mountains. The traditional starting point is the Pen-y-ghent café
in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where between 1968 and 2000 over 200,000 people
clocked in before departing it's doors to take on the walk.
In 1987 a study of the path network in the area by the
Institute for Terrestrial Ecology found that it was the most
severely eroded in the UK. In the following years the National
Park's Three Peaks Project worked to provide sustainable routes
and allow the damaged surrounding land to recover. The original
project ended in 2004 but a new project was initiated last
Steve Hastie, the Park's Three Peaks Manager, said: "The
launch of the Friends group is a very important step in the
development of the project because it will provide a mechanism for
long-term support by people who feel a real affinity for the
Details of the event can be obtained by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of the Three Peaks challenge can be found on the Long Distance
Walkers Association website.
11 August 2009
Rain adds authenticity to viaduct walk
Heavy rain lent a certain authenticity to the experience of
Ribblehead Viaduct. This was how those navvies who toiled, 130
years ago, to build it must have often felt.
But the rain didn't dampen spirits as an army of volunteers
co-ordinated around 3000 walkers across the quarter mile long
viaduct with cheerful efficiency.
Hundreds of cars were marshalled into fields at Horton-in-Ribblesdale
and visitors were dispatched in a fleet of coaches that made the
round trip to Ribblehead station in a non-stop circuit. The event
was by ticket only, allowing arriving visitors to be staggered
throughout the day. No-one had long to wait as they lined up on
Ribblehead's station platform before embarking on the rainswept
journey across the viaduct in groups of 50 or so. Free cagoules
were available for those not quite prepared for conditions in this
After dropping from the northern end, a team of guides were on
hand to lead a well informed tour of the former shanty towns and
work areas beneath the arches at the foot of Blea Moor. With
plenty of food and drink available and canvas shelters, visitors
were well looked after.
Network Rail and the Settle-Carlisle Development Trust had
agreed to repeat the successful walk of 2007, but on a larger
scale, as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the line's
reprieve from the threat of closure. Jo Kaye, Network Rail’s
route director said: “This year is an important anniversary in
the history of the line, which is why we have decided to open the
viaduct to the public for one last time."
Proceeds from the event will go to the Settle-Carlisle Railway
See previous posting
26 July 2009
Fears raised over cattle attacks
A number of recent events have raised concerns about the safety
in fields with cattle.
On Sunday, 21 June 2009 vet Liz Crowsley was killed when she
was trampled by a herd of cows whilst walking her two dogs on a
stretch of the Pennine Way, near Hawes. The dogs were on short
leads and it is thought she was trying to protect them after the
cattle became aggressive. The dogs were found unharmed.
On 10 May 2003 Shirley McKaskie suffered serious injuries
whilst walking her dog near her home at Greystoke in the Eden
valley. She was trampled by a herd of cows with young calves and
rescued by the farmer who heard the disturbance. On Monday, July
6th this year a court awarded Mrs McKaskie interim damages of
£250,000. The farmer is expected to appeal, but insurers are
likely to issue new guidelines to farmers as a result.
In a recent report the Health & Safety Executive said:
"Between April 1996 and March 2006, 46 incidents involving
cattle and members of the public were investigated by HSE across
Britain. Seven resulted in death. Almost all these incidents were
in fields and enclosed areas. Many other incidents are not
reported to, nor investigated by, HSE. The two most common factors
in these incidents are cows with calves and walkers with
The National Farmers Union spokeswoman Rachael Gilbanks said:
"We don't want people to be unduly alarmed. Tens of thousands
of people are out walking in the Yorkshire Dales in the summer
without any incident at all and it is important people don't think
the countryside is off-limits or be particularly afraid when out
"However, while cattle are normally very docile every now
and again they might decide that they are not happy with a
situation. That is potentially heightened when they have got young
calves and it is heightened when a walker has dogs present."
The Dales National Park offers this advice on Suckler cows and
calves: "If you are walking with a dog, then it is worth
taking extra care around cows and calves. Cattle are naturally
inquisitive. If they approach, walk slowly with your dog at heel.
If you feel threatened, let go of your dog - it can run faster
than cattle and escape. Make sure you always walk round cows with
calves, as walking between them can be seen as a threat. If in
doubt do not enter the field."
Not all incidents however, involve walkers with dogs. In early
June this year Graham Dugdale, a well known author of walk guides
and a feature writer for the Lancaster Guardian, was trampled by a
herd of cows with young calves near Holme, south of Kendal. He
said; "I tried to move around them and they in turn moved
away. Unfortunately, a calf walked towards me which precipitated a
stampede in which I was bundled to the ground. It was terrifying.
I thought, if I don't get out of this situation I am going to get
trampled to death". Graham was fortunate to escape with
bruising and torn knee ligaments.
Ramblers chief Tom Franklin said "As with any working
environment there are certain risks, and it is untenable to remove
all those risks from our surroundings. However, the incidents of
people being attacked by cattle are few and far between,
Unless it's winter or early spring, walkers on A Dales High Way
are likely to come across cattle, particularly in the Eden Valley.
These are quite well walked tracks, though, and the cattle are
generally used to walkers. If you should feel troubled, however,
there are plenty of relatively quiet country roads nearby which
provide a safe alternative.
See also The
Ramblers advice, the Health
& Safety Executive Information sheet for farmers and read
reports on each incident: Liz
McKaskie and Graham
19 July 2009
Last chance for viaduct walk
A rare opportunity to walk across the famous Ribblehead Viaduct
on Sunday July 26th has led to a flood of applications. Already a
third of the available time slots have been booked up.
Essential engineering works mean the line is closed to rail
traffic between July 10th and 27th. The Friends of the
Settle-Carlisle Line have taken advantage of the closure to
organise the walk as part of the 20th anniversary of the line's
reprieve from the threat of closure.
In July 2007 a similar event took place, with 2000 people
taking what was believed to be a once in a lifetime chance to walk
across the viaduct. One participant took the opportunity mid way
across to propose to his fiancé – she accepted. The event was
organised by the Friends and Railtrack, and hosted by musician
Mike Harding, who said: “This is the line that refused to die,
and quite rightly, because it’s part of the heritage of this
country and is probably as important in its own way as York
The event on the 26th has been divided into six one-hour slots
to allow the maximum number to take part. Already the 11.30-12.30
and 12.30-1.30 slots are fully booked.
The event will be officially launched by actor Tom Brown, who
plays Carl King in ITV’s Emmerdale. Tickets cost £15 and can be
booked online or by downloading an application form.
about the event and book tickets here.
10 July 2009