Yorkshire Dales Celebration Way

A personal record of my walk of the Yorkshire Dales Celebration Way with written journal and photographs. Tracklogs for GPS units and for use with Google Earth are available for download for each stage.
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The Yorkshire Dales Celebration Way is my own creation. This unique Long Distance Footpath is my tribute to this fantastic National Park. At approximately 130 miles long (depending on the various alternatives provided) it is designed to be walked in eight days. It conveniently fits it into a 'one week holiday window' especially suitable to starting and finishing on a Saturday or Sunday. Each stage is designed so as many of this super National Parks attractions are visited. Most of the major hills are scaled, including the 'Three Peaks' and many Dales are visited including Airedale, Wharfedale, Dentdale, Swaledale and Wensleydale. Major natural features like Gordale Scar, Malham Cove, Sulber Nick, Gaping Gill and Aysgarth Falls are all on the route as are historic monuments like Skipton Castle and Castle Bolton. All the walking days are designed to end in some of the Dales most interesting towns or villages. These include Settle, Ingleton, Dent, Hawes, Reeth and Kettlewell. This gives the walker plenty of choices on type of accommodation and what to eat. There are also plenty of stages of the walk where those seeking solitude can find peace and quiet. Quite simply this new long distance path has it all when it comes to exploring this great National Park in a challenging and very healthy way. I hope you take the opportunity to do this new LDP.

Please note this walk is not easy. The average walking distance is over 16 miles per day and there are lots of days when hills have to be climbed. Day two is particularly challenging as both Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough are crossed. And the next day Whernside has to be faced! The longest day in terms of pure mileage is day 5, Hawes to Reeth and this day starts off with the long haul up Great Shunner Fell. If you are challenged to do this walk then please prepare first by doing a few 'trial' walks in the lead up to doing the walk It will be well worth it and will make the bedding in to the walk the much easier. Get over the first couple of days in good spirits and without blisters then you will be OK. The third day is shorter and by the time you reach Dent you will be well set to go on a complete the challenge. Whatever you do, don't rush the walk. There are fantastic moments in every day and even after day one when Gordale Scar, Malham Cove and Attermire Scar are logged in the memory you will be craving for more! For those of you who take on my new challenge, please let me know how you got on by signing the Guestbook.

Summary of the walk, stage by stage

Day One - Skipton to Settle (19 miles):

The market town of Skipton is known as the 'Gateway to the Dales'. Could there be a more appropriate start to this unique Yorkshire Dales Long Distance Footpath? The walk begins in the grounds of Skipton Castle and leaves by tracking north and west to Flasby Fell before continuing on to Janet's Foss. Continue on to Gordale Scar. The walk goes up the side of the famous waterfall then bears west to Malham Cove. From this famous tourist attraction the walk leaves the crowds and heads over classic limestone country to Langscar Gate and Kirkby Fell. There is still one more major attraction to enjoy as the walk continues on past Attermire Scar before ending the day with a descent into the market town of Settle.

Day Two - Settle to Ingleton (18.4 miles):

The walk leaves Settle and heads north firstly alongside the river Ribble then over fell to the foothills of Pen-y-ghent. This magnificent Dales hill is climbed and then left by tracking east to Hull Pot and then south into Horton in Ribblesdale. From the village leave by crossing the railway line at the station and climb gently onto the fells and magnificent limestone outcrops at Sulber Nick. A choice can be made here. Add two miles by tracking south west to Trow Gill and then north west to Gaping Gill before ascending Ingleborough. Alternatively continue from Sulber Nick directly west to Ingleborough. From Ingleborough's distinct table top summit head down due west into Ingleton.

Day Three - Ingleton to Dent (13 miles):

This shorter stage of the walk begins by leaving Ingleton and walking north through the beautiful Swilla Glen visiting the delights of Snow Falls, Pecca Falls and Thornton Force. After this enchanting start there is a stiff climb to the summit of Whernside. The Three Peaks are completed now as the walk makes its way off Whernside by heading down due west to High Pike and along green lanes before making a descent into the picturesque and fascinating cobbled street village of Dent. This is a classic isolated Dales village to enjoy on an overnight stay.

Day Four - Dent to Hawes (14.4 miles):

The walk leaves Dent by following the Dales Way footpath to Dent Head Viaduct. From the viaduct the walk continues to Newby Head Gate and then follows the Ribble Way to Cam Hill Road where it joins the Pennine Way. This is a lovely place to take a break for the walk continues north and east on a long moorland crossing to Kidhow Gate before beginning a long descent into the popular Dales town of Hawes.

Day Five - Hawes to Reeth (19.5 miles):

The walk enters its longest stage. Begin by leaving Hawes and visiting one of the largest single drop waterfalls in the country at Hardraw Force. Relax here for a while as the walk continues from Hardraw to the Pennine Way footpath up and over Great Shunner Fell. From the top the walk affords magnificent views into Swaledale. The walk drops into this fantastic dale at Thwaite. The walk continues along the valley to Muker and then continues along the valley via Gunnerside to Reeth.

Day Six - Reeth to Thoralby (10.7 miles):

The walk allows the participant to recover from the longest day by inviting them to the shortest. But this 13 miles is a wonderful short day. The walk leaves Reeth by heading south onto moorland before crossing over into Wensleydale. First port of call is the village of Castle Bolton including a visit to Bolton Castle. After this history lesson the walk moves on to even older and this time natural highs at Aysgarth Falls. The walk follows the falls upstream from Lower Force then Middle Force and finally High Force before leaving the river at the village. Then it continues south and east over lowland to the village of Thoralby.

Day Seven - Thoralby to Kettlewell (13.7 miles):

Alternative 1 (high level) - A fell walkers delight is in store today. The walk leaves Thoralby and takes us to West Burton before heading south west following Walden Beck upstream onto Walden Moor. The moor is ascended until Buckden Pike is reached. The walk visits the memorial to two RAF aircrew who crashed on the moor during World War Two and then Buckden Pike Trig Point. From the Pike the path continues east to Little Whernside and then tracks south along a ridge affording super views until Great Whernside is reached. This is the last significant hill of the walk but not the end of the climbing. From Great Whernside drop down into the picturesque village of Kettlewell and enjoy the last evening stopover of the walk.

Alternative 2 (low level) - Discover the fells above Bishopdale by heading from Thoralby and then joining the Haw Lane track. This leads to the Stake Road track that tracks west and then south past Stake Moss and into Upper Wharfedale near Cray. Follow Buckden Rake to Buckden and then join the Dales Way to follow the River Wharfe downstream to Kettlewell. This is the best route to choose on an inclement day.

Day Eight - Kettlewell to Skipton (16.3 miles):

The final day of the walk begins by leaving Kettlewell and climbing up to magnificent limestone pavements which are to be enjoyed all the way to Grassington. This is part of the Dales Way Footpath. From Grassington the walk continues on the Dales Way to Linton Bridge. From Linton Bridge the walk heads off to Thorpe an then to its final high plateau. This is Embsay Moor. The walk follows the fringe of the moor to Cracoe War Memorial and then to Rylstone Cross. From the cross the walk continues to Embsay Reservoir and then through the village before heading towards Skipton Woods. The walk makes it's course through the woods to Skipton Castle and that is where it all began. Well done, the walk is completed.

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(Note: Walking without proper preparation can be dangerous. Information and downloads on this website are provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check the material and use accordingly. Postscript: My walk reports are not route guides and should not be treated as such. They are written with personal reflections of my walks)

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