The Dales Way

Wee Piglet

Wee Piglet

Piglet and I walked the Dales Way last week, and got back late on Friday night.

I’ve been before, but this was Piglet’s first long walk and she was an absolute star, camping happily in a tent and walking mile after mile on her tiny wee paws. She slept like a log at night, and developed a love of rivers during the day. She learned to climb the stone stiles all on her own, though she needs a lift over the wooden ladder ones. She met, and was terrified by, her first hedgehog, and was roundly told off for attempting to chase a sheep (despite her lead). Unfortunately, she also developed a habit of barking at distant dogs and walkers! She was mugged by adoring children in Kettlewell, and bore their cuddles and stroking with a patience that amazed me. She was a little reluctant to leave the tent in the morning, and tried to run into every open doorway we passed along the way, but the sight of her sprinting up and down the river banks and rolling in grassy fields on the odd occasions when I was able to let her off her lead brought joy to my heart and a wee tear to my eye ♥

Wee dog meets hedgehog!

Wee dog meets hedgehog!



Arriving in Sedbergh

Arriving in Sedbergh

Sleepy doglet in little coat

Sleepy doglet in little coat

Piglet with piglet

Piglet with piglet

In Appletreewick

In Appletreewick

Wet but triumphant!

Wet but triumphant!

I have no idea why the walk doesn’t finish in Sedbergh. I realise that even Sedbergh is actually Cumbria, rather than Yorkshire, but at least it forms a natural finishing point and has transport home. The stretch from Sedbergh to Bowness is pretty, of course, but it’s no part of the Yorkshire Dales. Besides… it’s full of malignant bullocks, and the bit just after the M6 is a bit of nightmare because sombody’s taken down a lot of the signs, which makes it very easy to get lost. What with being lost due to missing signs, and having to take detours to avoid savage cows, and being terrorised by 2 Alsations and a collie, the last couple of days were almost no fun at all. If I do the walk again–and I probably will, at some stage–I’ll finish at Sedbergh.

Having mummy love

Having mummy love

This tune has nothing to do with the Dales Way, but it’s here because it’s beautiful and I haven’t heard it since I was at Uni, a thousand years ago…

24 Responses to The Dales Way

  1. I did this walk a few years back and had the same problem after the M6 crossing.

    The one problem in the final miles is that you never get to see Lake Windermere; we took to one of the outlying fells, just so we could have a view before arrived into the hustle and bustle of Bowness.

  2. Laura says:

    Hi Shirley
    Great photos of Wee Piglet – I did once do some of the Dales Way but only the bit in the Dales (!)
    Found some most difficult styles, either too narrow for me and the rucksack or so high I was scared I’d wobble off the top.

    • peewiglet says:

      Hello Laura!

      I’m glad you liked the pics 🙂 I think you were wise to stick to the Dales bit. It’s definitely the most lovely part.

      I know what you mean about those stiles. Nightmare, and especially with one hand filled with a dog lead *shudder*

      Are you planning to apply for the Chally next year, d’you think?

  3. blogpackinglight says:

    Piglet looks a real sweetheart. I see you are using your Akto, presumably because it gives you a bit more room. I use a porch groundsheet to extend the useable area, which is an Akto footprint cut in half. As I have two halves, would you like one half to make your Akto even roomier? Just let me know. I’m on hols this week so won’t be able to send it immediately if you would like it.

    • peewiglet says:

      Hello Robin 🙂

      That’s extremely kind of you, but thereby hangs a tale…

      I was putting up my Competition on a moor just outside Grassington on the second night when all of a sudden the tent pole snapped! I had my little Equinox bivvy with me, and for a moment thought Piglet and I would have to spend the night wrapped in the bivvy bag and the remains of the tent, but then all of a sudden it occurred to me that I might be able to get John Manning on my mobile, since he and Steph live near Settle. Cutting a long story short, I walked back to Grassington, John collected us, we spent the night with John, Steph and baby Sierra and the following morning Steph lent me her Akto because none of the shops in Settle or Grassington had any Terra Nova tents (I have my eye on the lightweight Voyager…).

      It’s several years, now, since I’ve used an Akto, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. There was definitely more room for Piglet than there had been in the Competition, and since she’ll be with me most of the time when I’m camping I’m now thinking of getting either another Akto or, maybe, that nice Voyager I mentioned. The Voyager is just about my favourite tent, and it only weighs 1.5kg now, but it has 3 poles, of course, and so is a little slower to put up, and it goes up inner first. Hmmm…

      If I do buy a new Akto I’d be very grateful indeed for your kind offer of some Akto footprint! I know it’s a bit of additional weight, but it’s a great advantage to be able to have a dry porch, I reckon. Thank you ♥

  4. blogpackinglight says:

    The only time I’ve had a pole break on me was a 4 pole geodesic, so it wasn’t catastrophic. I always carry a pole repair sleeve to put over any break. Worth the miniscule weight. I’m totally sold on porch groundsheets now. Team Io do a very lighweight Laser Comp footprint (70g), which I just reverse to cover the porch. Let me know if you’d like the Akto half footprint. I think the Voyager would be very suitable for camping with a dog and the extra room worthwhile.

    • peewiglet says:

      I should have been carrying a pole sleeve, of course, but unfortunately I’d grown complacent because this had never happened to me before. Live and learn 😦

      Having said that, John took a look at the break and wasn’t convinced that a sleeve would have fixed it. I’ll have to dig the sleeve out when I get the tent back from John and see whether it would have done the job. In the meantime, I’ll have to get a new one.

      I bought the tent in 2006. Do you think it’s reasonable to expect a pole to snap like that within 3 years of purchase? I’m wondering whether Terra Nova are likely to replace it for me, or whether I’ll have to buy a new one. I must go and take a look on their website to see what it says about warranties, because I can’t remember the position.

  5. kateC says:

    i want a wee doglet! where’s she going next?

    • peewiglet says:

      Hello 🙂

      I think possibly another walk in Yorkshire: the Dales High Way. It’s a new one to me, but a couple of women in Sedbergh mentioned it. Take a scan here.

      You should definitely think about getting a wee doglet! Wow, they’re hard work when they’re tiny puppies, though… I think I aged 10 years in 5 months, which isn’t easy at my age *g*

  6. If you call Terra Nova they will probably be helpful.
    I recently walked south from Windermere. The Dales Way after Staveley didn’t appeal so I went to Sedbergh via Potter Tarn, Garnett Bridge, Borrowdale and Grayrigg Forest (a hill). Very nice apart from a wall on GF (a hill) and a bad path between the A685 and the M6.
    Not a frisky cow to be seen…I wonder if this recent damages award may result in the closure of many footpaths on H&S grounds? Hope not!

    • peewiglet says:

      Thanks! I’ll call them 🙂

      As for the recent damages award, I hope it leads to the introduction of some relatively simple safety measures rather than the closure of paths. Time will tell, though.

    • peewiglet says:

      Interesting, thanks. I see you need the receipt, though, which I haven’t got: I have difficulty keeping track of where I’ve put my cigarettes and reading glasses, let alone receipts from 2006 😦

      I know this requirement to produce receipts is common, but to be honest it always seems like an excuse for a cop out to me. I have the tent. It’s a real Terra Nova Competition and so clearly somebody bought it, and now it’s broken. As it happens, it *was* me who bought it, but should it really matter? I don’t think so. Anyway, I’m just expressing a wee bit of frustration; partly with myself, for being insufficiently organised about this sort of thing!

  7. Dennis Shepherd says:

    Hi Shirley _ I have found you!
    I am Dennis of “Dennis & David” who met you in Dent last week. I am glad to see you finally arrived. We made it to Staveley as planned but we did not bother to finish the last few miles to Bowness, for the very reasons that you stated in your blog – It is difficult, boring, and unneccessary.
    I intend to keep up the distance walking now that I have got back into it, so we may meet again on some lonely track. I will keep in touch through your blogs.
    Lovely to meet you.

    • peewiglet says:

      Hello Dennis!

      I’m absolutely thrilled to hear from you 🙂 How are you both?

      Have a look at my posting about the woman who recovered substantial damages for trampling by cows, for an account of my entry with Piglet into Cumbria (well, the Cumbria after Sedbergh). What a nightmare! Did you have any problems with cows?

      I stopped at Wilf’s Cafe in Staveley, and wow! It was magnificent 🙂 I’ve been before, but it’s even better now than it used to be.

      Thanks very much for writing, and please say hello to David for me. Please do keep in touch–I’d love to meet up again. That evening we had in the pub in Dent was one of the best of the entire trip for me 🙂

      Very best wishes,

      Shirl (and Piglet) x

  8. I agree that Wilf’s Cafe is excellent, but I’m puzzled by the comments about the walk from Staveley to Windermere – it’s just an afternoon stroll, hardly difficult or boring, even quite scenic in my book. It does contrast with the river bank paths elsewhere on the Dales Way, but is that a bad thing? What’s in a name, anyway? However, if you want to stop at Staveley (or indeed Sedbergh) that’s fine; the paths to Bowness/Windermere, with expanding views of the Lake District and a wide variety of flora, are unnecessary, as are the paths south of Ilkley, which are also very scenic and well worth exploring.

    • peewiglet says:

      Hi Martin,

      I think Dennis mentioned Staveley in particular because he and his friend David were meeting their wives there. They’d not stuck rigidly to the conventional DW route at any stage, and presumably saw no particular point in continuing to Bowness once they’d met their wives in Staveley, since they’d already been through the parts they wanted to walk.

      The walk from Sedbergh to Bowness can be pretty, but if I do the DW again I won’t be doing that part because (i) really it’s no part of the Dales, and (ii) I had a lot of problems with cows there, and ended up having to take a lot of diversions which left me walking on roads instead of through fields, which rather defeated the object, and (iii) for me, the approach to and crossing of the M6 is unattractive, and the noisy, smelly motorway is so utterly at odds with the tranquility of what went before that it spoiled the mood of the walk, which had otherwise been a lovely, easy, low-level, ultra-scenic walk passing through interesting villages and along river banks.

      I’m keen to have a go at the new Dales High Way asap. That one sounds interesting.

  9. I was just coming to the defence of a pleasant half day’s walk!
    Personally I found the motorway crossing section short and painless – no worse than passing someone smoking a fag! The impressive viaduct at Beck Foot was worth passing, and Borrowdale – I didn’t stick to the DW route either – is a beautiful unspoilt valley.
    The route from Saltaire to Appleby does look good, I agree. (Did I mention the paths south of Ilkley are worth exploring? – Saltaire to Calderdale passes through some good countryside, as well. Come to think of it, Timperley to Appleby may be a good week’s walk….)
    Each to their own, I suppose.
    Have fun

    • peewiglet says:

      Oops, sorry! I didn’t mean my reply to sound quite so emphatic! *g* I think those bloody Cumbrian cows just got to me…

      I must take a look at those paths south of Ilkley, as I’ve not yet walked down there. So much walking to do: so little time 🙂

  10. No harm in being emphatic, PW. Thanks, you’ve stimulated a plan to walk from Timperley to Penrith, via Appleby, based on this Dales High Way – the booklet for which is in the post. May try it in October (have had to abandon Alps backpack as Sue is currently unable to carry anything.
    BTW – enjoyed your TGO podcasts.
    PS south of Saltaire there is an urban element to some of the paths, which I actually find quite interesting in moderation.

    • peewiglet says:

      I received the little booklet in the post yesterday, and it looks good though I’ve only really had time to briefly scan through it so far. I think I read on the site that they’re also planning a book.

      That Timperley to Penrith walk sounds like a great idea! I’m sorry to hear that Sue’s unable to carry a pack, though. I’m always behind. What’s happened?

      I’m glad you enjoyed the TGO podcasts — many thanks for letting me know 🙂 I’ve been listening to Bob and Andy’s new ones on the trip they took last weekend, and they’re really good fun 🙂

  11. Booklet now here – let the planning commence ( I won’t stick to the exact route).
    Sue has a muscle problem aggravated by an over enthusiastic chiropractor. Sadly now she’s in constant pain with heavy medication requiring much rest.

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