The Dales Way
Stretching 84 miles through the Yorkshire Dales northwest to the edge of the Lake District, the Dales Way may be one of the best long-distance trails in northern England. It sets out from the easily reached town of Ilkley along the Wharfe River. From the first step there is a beckoning to the walker to come, but not too fast. This is a footpath to be savored and enjoyed.
The route makes it’s way to Ribblehead where it crosses the Pennines, the “rooftop of England.” It then gradually descends to the grand finale at Bowness-on-Windemere in the Lake District.
One of the things that sets hiking in England apart from what we’re used to in the states is the immersion not away, but into the culture. We love the rivers, streams, lonely moors and mountains. But we also love the farmhouse, the pub, the single-room B&B and the sense of experiencing a different way of life. In essence, it’s not just about the hiking.
HOW IT STACKS UP
Lots to love about this trip. It is not overly long. I wouldn’t call it easy, but it’s definitely doable for most good walkers. The terrain is diverse, beginning low along the river, climbing up on the moors and then down into the Lake District. This also allows for a few days to tour Lakeland, one of my favorite places in England despite the popularity.