12 January 2021

Always A Thrill

We've been writing and selling walk guidebooks online now since 2008 and it's still a thrill to get feedback from people. This morning a customer emailed, 

"Thanks for the book, the walks look really good. Hopefully normality will return by the summer and I'll be able try some of the walks later this year." 

Thank you Mr. R. and everyone else who is putting their faith in small businesses like ours. It's what's keeping us going - in every sense. 


5 January 2021

Big Paws To Fill

 In 2004 we got a puppy. A bundle of fluff from the local RSCPA that we called Jess.

She was listed as a collie cross but with her German shepherd coat and her spaniel ears and her terrier obsession with rabbits who knows! We had her 14 years and she became the face of A Dales High Way, our brand ambassador and the best walking pal anyone could wish for. 

She died in 2018 aged 14 and it's been a tough job filling the gap she has left in our lives but finally we've taken the plunge. Meet Gemma. Pure border collie this time with the energy levels to prove it. As I collapse into bed exhausted at the end of every day, trying not to think about my chewed chair legs and filthy floors I wonder what I've done. Was Jess ever this much work? Did she wee on the carpet or bite through her lead? Almost certainly yes, it's just that the memories of the hard puppy months fade with the years. 

We're back in lockdown as I write this and we all need a project. I know what mine is. Heel!

29 October 2020

Not Better, Not Worse

Beer and chips in the Flying Duck

Dales Way Association members come from all over the country and one of the highlights of the year is our annual meeting. As a constituted small charity we have a legal obligation to hold an AGM but that section of the day has always been the least important bit for me.  Every autumn members travel to Ilkley from as far afield as Essex and Northumberland, some of them booking overnight accommodation and some spending a few days in the Dales. We have a morning walk together followed by a chips and sandwiches lunch in the Flying Duck, a short business meeting and lots of chat and laughter. Over the 10 years I've been secretary I'm proud to call these people friends. So it was with a very heavy heart we contemplated cancelling the 2020 meeting. Even without the rule of 6 and the ban on meeting indoors (Ilkley is in the Bradford District and has had local restrictions in place for most of the last 3 months) we couldn't ask members to leave home and travel across the country in current circumstances. What to do instead? Zoom was out of the question with over 300 members and several of the committee less than enthusiastic. Postponing felt a bit like a cop out and cancelling altogether would be letting down our members.

So last week we compiled all the reports we normally present at our AGM into an Autumn Newsletter packed with information about the year's activities. We sent it out with a voting slip asking members whether they accepted the Annual Report, Accounts etc. and waited. I was blown away by the response. A huge number of people replied. Members of the committee got involved, responding to the comments and questions about their area of responsibility and I compiled the votes and emails into a set of minutes. We very much hope we'll be back together again next year, walking and talking on the Dales Way and enjoying our chips but I'll look back on our virtual AGM with pride. It's been hard work but a real pleasure to be in touch with so many supporters and to know that they appreciate the efforts of our small voluntary committee. 

The annual walk


18 August 2020

Men at Work

This week I've been out on the Dales Way twice. Once to take a look at a section of riverbank that is going to be replanted and the other to photograph some men at work.

The first trip was to walk a stretch between Hebden suspension bridge and Howgill Beck. Local anglers are planning to replant the eroded bank and replace the dying trees - a project I very much support. They are however proposing a kilometre long permanent fence between the Dales Way footpath and the water with gates to allow anglers through. No thought seems to have been given to the impact of the fence visually on one of the most beautiful sections of the Wharfe nor of fencing the public away from a river they currently enjoy. On the day I was there children were playing at the waters' edge, families were picnicing and dog walkers were taking their pets down to drink and cool off.

My 2nd trip was to say hello to a group of Yorkshire Dales National Park volunteers who were hard at work resurfacing the path just north of the George at Hubberholme. The stone was paid for by the Dales Way Association using a generous donation from a member. 

Two trips, two sections of the Dales Way, two projects. One is for the good of everyone and the other mainly benefits anglers. Come on Appletreewick, Barden & Burnsall Angling Club, do the right thing and build gates for everyone not just for anglers.

There's more info at https://daleswaynews.wordpress.com and 


25 June 2020