Black Pudding Gaiters

Hiking, travelling, gear



Dales Way..or not

From a very young age, most of my holidays both abroad and in the UK, have been spent up in the hills somewhere. One of the earliest holiday photos is of me, aged around 5 years old, in Austria wearing my big leather boots and ‘Munch Bunch‘ rucksack containing such essentials as a colouring book and pencils!

All of my holidays, however, are spent in one, occasionally two, bases. Walks all start and finish at the hotel/b&b/guesthouse so why not try something different, start at point A then after a few days arrive at point B?

There are a few of long distance paths (LDP) to choose from, but, lets not run before we can walk.
First prerequisite was to do this properly, it seems ‘cheating’ to send all your kit ahead in a van and it is  definitely is ‘cheating’ if all the organisation is done by a specialist company.
I was to carry everything I needed for the trip myself and find my own bed and breakfast accommodation….yes, I know people would say it’s ‘cheating’ not camping out but, as I say, lets not run before we can walk…..

So, where to go?
While it would be great to try something across Europe (and I won’t rule that out in the future), I just wanted to take a few days off work and have a relatively cheap break.
The Dales Way was consistently coming up as a good beginners LDP. While I’m no beginner to walking, I am new to multi day trips and this seemed a good introduction.

I got a copy of The Dales Way: A Complete Guide to the Trail (British Long-distance Trails) by Terry Marsh and fired up Google.
One of the first things that hit me as the average age of the walkers, it seemed like this was God’s waiting room for the more active. Was I about to embark on my first ‘challenge’ of the year with people over twice my age?!
At least I was taking a few less days than they were. I had planned  5 days to complete the 81 miles rather than the 6-8 suggested. Perhaps I can put the Werther’s Originals away….for now…

One of the biggest problems is to find town/villages along the way which not only have rooms available but also have somewhere for an evening meal, cue calculating mileage between stops and coming up with the following plan:

  • Day 1 From Ilkley to Grassington
  • Day 2 To Buckden or Hume
  • Day 3 To Dent
  • Part 4: Dent to Kendal
  • Part 5: Kendal to Bowness on Windermere

Now the next problem, actually getting the rooms booked. Some hotels had online booking, however, a couple replied to my emails with ‘you have to ring up’.

Bear in mind that I was looking at very basic rooms, some with shared bathrooms and  usually above a pub, by the time I’d added the train fare,food and drink the price for this trip was over £500!
To put this in to context, I received an email advertising an All Inclusive holiday in Gambia including flights for a week for the same price!

So, my plans for my week off have changed somewhat, I’m now looking at flights and hotels in warmer parts of Europe and saving myself a couple of hundred quid.
The Dales Way walk became a week in La Palma.


Ings, Lake District

Turn back the clock to mid June 2014, it’s my birthday and a good opportunity for a week off work!

My base was the Watermill Inn in Ings, near Staveley. A lovely pub/brewery/bed and breakfast. The rooms were clean and comfortable, food was tasty with good sized portions. They also produce their own beers in the brewery that can be seen from the bar area.

The first walk was about 12 miles, starting at the single track road on the opposite side of the A591 to the Watermill.
The circular route via Kentmere and Stavely passes the Hawkshead brewery.
The path up to Kentmere goes past Kentmere Hall which you can identify from it’s tower. The hall was a fortification built in the 13th – early 14th centuries as protection from the Scottish.

This walk, while rather long, wasn’t too challenging, just the occasional  few hills and, on the whole, the footpaths were well marked. As the map shows, there are a number of variations, for example an alternative would be to take the path along side the river.

A copy of the walk is available from the ViewRanger website.

Day 1 walk
Ings – Kentmere

Day 2 and the weather was fantastic which suited the walk I had planned over School Knott to Windermere.

This walk is around 8 miles  which includes heading down to the lake. The views are fantastic!

It’s not a particularly challenging walk. School Knott peak is only 232m (760 feet)

I started the walk by following the road/track opposite The Watermill Inn.

Once under the railway bridge, there are a few paths which can be taken, I took the third path to the right just as the road forks to the left. This headed to Yews where I crossed over the road, rejoining it again a short time later and following it to Hags End.

Here I joined the Dales Way,  a long distance path from Ilkley to Windermere – something which is on the ‘to do list’!

After taking in the birdseye view over Lakeland, take the path down towards the outskirts of Windermere and zig zag through the streets to the lake.

Windermere and Bowness on Windermere didn’t have much to hold my interest, personally, I think the lake is best viewed from above.

The return leg ‘started’ at Droomer Lane, initially retracing my steps, however, where the path forks, take the left to avoid another climb up School Knott and instead head to School Knott Plantation.

Follow the road for a short distance then head on through Whasdike wood, shortly after you rejoin the road back to Ings.

View this route on ViewRanger‘s web site.

Ings to Windermere
Walk to Windermere

As well as the Android phone mapping app, I also took
OS Explorer OL7 The English Lakes – South Eastern area (OS Explorer Map).

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