The Dales Way 2012

I was on the summit of Fairfield in the Lake District when I first heard of The Dales Way.  In November 2007, friends and I were sitting in bright sunshine and enjoying clear views over the surrounding fells.  We had completed half of the ‘Fairfield Horseshoe‘ and as we scoffed our sandwiches, we chatted to a young New Zealander.

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He told us that he had arrived in the Lake District on foot; following The Dales Way.   And I decided that this was a walk that I wanted to do.  What better way to arrive in Cumbria than on foot through the Yorkshire Dales?

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Map from “Dales Way” by Colin Speakman, published by Skyware Press

Starting at Ilkley, the path runs for about 80 miles to finish at Bowness-on-Windermere.

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It is mostly an easy, riverside walk with very few steep climbs and where it crosses remoter, wilder country, it does so quickly.

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And importantly, for me, it would allow me to explore the Dales, an area I didn’t know.

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In February 2012, I was finally ready to walk the Way.  But as I travelled north on the train from Sussex, I was worried.  The closer I got to Ilkley, the more snow I saw  and the whiter the countryside.  Would I be able to walk 80 miles through frozen snow and ice?

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I had pre-booked all my accommodation and had allowed myself six days to walk to Bowness … and then a further four to cross Lakeland and finish at Keswick.

Here is an account of my walk:

(A brief description of this walk appears on my other blog – and won The Dales Way Association’s best blog competition.  You can read it here – The Anxious Gardener’).

Day 1 – Ilkley to Burnsall

Day 2 – Burnsall to Cray 

Day 3 – Cray to Ribblehead

Day 4 – Ribblehead to Sedbergh

Day 5 – Sedbergh to Staveley

Day 6 – Staveley to Windermere

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