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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!


Friday, 25 October 2013

Flirting with an old favourite

We have many named long distance paths appearing like the scribbling of infants on our OS maps. For me the best have been those I devised for myself. In particular the Welsh Border and Lowestoft to The Lakes - the coastal part of the former has since been formalized to become the Wales Coast Path and I reckon that has scenery as good as anywhere else in the UK spread consistently over more than 800 miles.

The worst are those devised by local authorities, presumably to enhance the status of their region, often with names like The Ruckmanshire Centenary Trail or the Oroxford Jubilee Way (fict.), where a number of existing public footpaths have been thoughtlessly strung together with no apparent theme, traipsing round cropfield boundaries and through endless featureless countryside, rarely walked and often overgrown.

Yesterday our walk coincided with one of the best LDPs in England.

The 80 mile Dalesway from IIkley to Bowness-on-Windermere follows the River Wharfe to Buckden then swings west to  traverse some of the very best of the Yorkshire Dales. The route is well thought out, has plenty of accommodation and camping, but above all it follows stunning territory through its whole length. For a long time I wouldn’t walk parts of The Dalesway to avoid spoiling my intention of tackling its entirety someday, but I have now covered so many small sections I feel qualified to express these opinions. Our section yesterday following the River Lune was a delightful sample.

The last part of our walk on the footpath from the A road to the finish was marred by a series of five or so gates which had been fastened by the farmer with that awful, ubiquitous orange, hairy string tied tightly with several knots, one on top of the other making it almost impossible to undo.

Any other opinions about the best LDP in England? Please give reasons.

The Howgills

Farmer rounding up sheep on a quad bike, bottom right - click to enlarge

Crossing the R. Lune

The bridge over the Lune at Beck Foot


John J said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you, The Dales Way is a lovely route - every last bit of it. I backpacked it a few years ago and my only regret is that I squeezed it into 5 days. Allowing another day or two would have allowed me to savour the walk all the more.


Alan Rayner said...

Like you i have never done it in its entirety in one go. For much the same reason. It is wonderful as your fine post and photo's show.
A small knife works well on farmers string.

Roderick Robinson said...

I have only two suggestions/corrections. Can't you find a more vigorous colour for tracking out the walk on the map: even enlargement isn't quite sufficient to prevent eye strain. And I would delete "awful" from the third last line.

I deliberately started with not-so-good news because the rest is good, very good. To a skeleton devoted ostensibly to describing a walk you have hung asides which are interesting and amplifications which are useful and instructive. A long, long way from "and then we went 3.465 miles to A, and after that B." There are a few grammatical errors but they don't matter a damn - quality writing drives out the impact of errors that anyone can get right. Many people who turn that sort of thing into a fetish often leave you with only that.

There is a final stage - a loosening up of the style without letting slackness intrude. But I am moderately confident you can get there without any instruction from me.


gimmer said...

I see you have offered a competition - is there a prize ?
If so, I nominate the Single Malt Trail - I don't think it has an end . . . . but, like the Chemin de St Jacques, it can start almost anywhere . . . .
Seriously - the Scottish Watershed looks as though it o'ere tops them all. Make it the GB watershed and it really must. Has anyone done that? Tricky routefinding until one gets to, say, Derbyshire/Staffordshire - and what about the 'problem' of Wales?

Sir Hugh said...

JJ and Alan R - It's interesting that you agree, but don't you have any other contenders? Any opinion will of course be subjective and likely judged by different parameters. I think I might do a post about this.


RR -There are various problems with colour of routes. When the route is plotted you have options as showing it:

thin, thick or very thick

I think four different strengths of transparency.

Single line, dotted, dashed,alternate dash dot etc.


As the OS map is so multi coloured nearly every option for the route coincides with a similar colour on the map.

If you make the colour opaque it obscures other features on the map.

If you make it thin it is hopelessly indistinct.

I have experimented a lot, but have never yet been fully satisfied. I all put some example on my next post.


Thanks for the encouraging words - I think I understand what you mean about loosening up and it will be born in mind..


Gimmer - no prize, not enough entries so far anyway. I can see you angling for a bottle of Edradour.

As judge I may have my own views on the Scottish Watershed, but you have not given your reasons. I would take a lot of convincing that the English one would provide a CONSISTENTLY commendable walk by my parameters.

I may do a post about this subject in more detail incorporating points in my replies to JJ and AR above.