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.

The Dales Way (2)

He told us that he had arrived in the Lake District on foot following The Dales Way.   And, listening to his description of the walk, I decided that this was a long-distance path that I wanted to do.  What better way to arrive in Cumbria than on foot through the Yorkshire Dales?


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.

The Dales Way (1)

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

The Dales Way (3)

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

Cam Houses The Dales Way

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 and whiter the countryside.  Would I be able to walk 80 miles through frozen snow and ice?


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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