The Dales Way

June 2009.
We included the link route from Leeds before completing the official Dales Way walk from Ilkley to Bowness in the Lake District - a total length of just over one hundred miles covered in seven days.
For the most part fairly easy walking along river valleys but blisteringly hot for the first four days, then gradually cooling down for the ascent to cross the Pennine Way. Rain on the final leg didn't detract from a lovely walk.

Day 1 - Leeds to Chevin End Farm

16 miles (plus 2 from home to Peterborough station).
An early start to catch the train to Leeds. A couple of miles from Leeds station to the link route start point at Marsden Monument, then a reasonably pleasant stroll along a green corridor out of the city.
A combination of riverside and woodland paths, ending with magnificent views from The Chevin, high above Otley. Roasting hot weather.

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Day 2 - Chevin End Farm to Appletreewick

17.5 miles.
Boiling hot.
A wander through Menston, then up onto the moors to Ilkley, start of the official Dales Way. Mainly riverside walking thereafter, including a major assault on the senses at Bolton Abbey.

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Day 3 - Appletreewick to Buckden

16 miles.
Roasting hot again ...
Lovely riverside ramble into Grassington (disaster area beyond Burnsall excepted), then up into an airy limestone upland landscape. After dropping back down to Ketlewell we once again picked up the river Wharfe, following it upstream all the way to Buckden.

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Day 4 - Buckden to Ribblehead.

14 miles.
Once again, glorious weather as we continued to head upstream following the River Wharfe.
Beautiful scenery along Langstrothdale, then a long road/farm track route before heading uphill for Cam Houses and Cam High Road, the highest point on the Dales Way. Hard afternoon walking on tracks downhill to High Gearstones, then departing The Way for a long trudge up the road to our B&B at The Station Inn, Ribblehead.

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Day 5 - Ribblehead to Sedburgh.

16 miles.
After re-joining the Dales Way, a brief climb up onto marshy upland followed by a long but pleasant road walk beside the infant River Dee.br>The spectacular man-made Dent Head Viaduct contrasted quite markedly with the idyllic pastoral landscape around Dent. Once again, the day ended with a climb - away from the Dales Way - this time to the altogether more comfortable Dalesman Inn at Sedburgh.

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Day 6 - Sedburgh to Bowston.

18 miles.
A long day, but vary varied and most enjoyable.
The day comprised: more riverside walking (Rivers Dee, Lune and Kent); a couple of minor "diversions" (due to useless instructions in the guide book); two more viaducts; the M6; pleasant woodland trails: .... and once again, an uphill slog off-route to reach our B&B for the night (I guess the name "Hillcrest" should have given us a clue ..?)

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Day 7 - Bowston to Bowness

11 miles.
A short, easy final day.
Gorgeous path along the River Kent in morning sunshine. Clouding over by the time we passed over the A591 at Staveley, and soon afterwards the rain began - giving us an ideal excuse to stop for tea and scones at Hag End Farm. The last stages, through typical gorsey lakeland scenery found us at the Dales Way seat above Bowness.

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