Dales Way

Information

Photography

Once again we decided to do a video diary, which due to the elements was challenging, as was taking photographs. It would have been good to prove to people how bad the weather was but we just couldn’t risk the equipment. The pictures that we have got make the trip seem much drier than it was as that was the only time we could use the camera!

Weather

As with any walk, let alone a long distance path, the weather plays a huge part in the level of enjoyment one gets from doing it. The weather was atrocious for our week but we were prepared for it as we had everything to minimise water ingress, whether to body or pack. Day after day of torrential rain gets to your very soul in the end. It nibbles away at you until you have enough and it manifests itself in a variety of ways. Rachel, to her credit, smiled through the lot and just took it. I’ve known people that after just a couple of days pack up and go home; at least I managed a few more days than that, before I flipped.

It was the first time we had walked in continuous rain for day after day and so it was good to know that our wet weather gear worked and kept everything and everyone dry.

Going to the loo in torrential rain is, shall we say interesting, more so for the ladies. Also not being able to stop and sit down for a rest or food break takes its toll. One thing we always look forward to is stopping and looking at the view and scoffing things we wouldn’t normally buy and eat. To miss out on this can de deflating, as you have no option but to trudge onwards.

Mud

‘Mud, mud, glorious mud’, so the song goes. No it isn’t, its horrible. We knew that this walk had the potential to be muddy and we were not disappointed. We were constantly walking through mud and or waterlogged ground that splashed up yet more water with every step. The only advantage of it raining was that it did wash a lot of the mud from out waterproofs so we weren’t always completely mud stained.

Stiles and gates

These come in all shapes and sizes. The favourite being stone stiles over stone walls with a gate on the top which has a large spring that does it’s best to push you off the wall as it springs back and hits you on the back of the legs. There are literally hundreds of them. On one quarter of a mile stretch just outside Kettlewell there were 21 alone.
It does get a bit of a pain, to constantly keep stopping, but you do get used to it. We couldn’t understand why our speed didn’t get above 2.5 miles per hour, even when we couldn’t stop much due to the rain. Yes the terrain was heavy going with the mud and the water but then it dawned on me. If it takes 1 minute to get both of us with packs over each stile and there are 20 in an hour, it is the equivalent of losing 1 mile per hour, assuming you are walking at 3 miles per hour.

Route Finding

Generally the path is sign posted fairly well. There are areas where it is poor. There is no consistent branding of the signs so the sign can be in up to 4 different colours. Predominantly they are yellow so you look for a yellow sign only to find the Dales Way sign is now white. Also the little signs aren’t always on both sides of a post, so we got used to checking both sides!

Facilities

I know that we were walking through a rural and fairly remote landscape, however, it is an area visited by a large number of tourists. We were struck on how basic some things were and how unwilling businesses were to provide a suitable level of service. We encountered some very weird shop and pub opening times as well as strange food ordering times. The abiding memory I will have of this is that we were often made to feel as if we were an inconvenience. A take it or leave it attitude was very much in evidence which was quite unsettling.

Terrain

As I feared, I did get a little bored with walking beside the river on occasions, constantly having to follow each twist and turn. Until we got passed Kettlewell I found it a very sanitised walk. There were roads and lots of people and the path was easily accessible to everyone. The path itself was quite often described as wheelchair friendly which sums it up really.

The only real remote area was up and over Cam Houses to Dent Head, so half a day out of 6 walking days. There was also a surprising amount of road walking but overall this didn’t detract from the walk.

 

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