A BOOK of twenty new walks from the man who gave us the Dales Way, is urging walkers to leave their cars behind and discover the hidden beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.
New book highlights hidden beauty of the Dales
Photo: Great Northern Books
The Germans have a word - Zielwanderung - which literally means walking with a destination or purposefully from point-to-point. It seems a sensible notion that walking should be about getting from A-Z, but as Colin Speakman, the chairman of the Yorkshire Dales Society and the man who gave us the Dales Way, explains in his new book 'Green Networks of the Dales' this is increasingly an old fashioned view of exploring the countryside.
Rather than beginning and ending in a car park, Colin argues that to truly experience the richness, vastness and complexity of a great landscape such as the Yorkshire Dales, it is necessary to break away from our cars and the circular walks that depend on them.
This is where 'Green Networks of the Dales' comes in. Published by Great Northern Books, it presents a series of twenty middle-distance linear walks through the Dales, which, as far as the author is aware, have never before appeared in print.
The walks, all between twelve and twenty-five miles and illustrated with Colins' own photographs and extracts from Harvey Maps, have been deliberately selected to tie in with towns or larger villages with facilities for walkers - such as overnight accommodation in hostels, guest houses or camp sites.
Most importantly, the walks also tie in with good quality public transport, meaning that in most cases they can be done as day walks or split into comfortable, shorter stages with convenient return buses or trains.
Colin explained the idea behind the book:
"Very few guidebook writers will bother to tell you that you can in fact almost always get to the start of a walk by bus or train. This is despite the fact that around a quarter of the population live in households that don't have a car, and even more don't have access to a car if it is in use by another member of the household or don't have a driving license.
"In any other field of activity, such discrimination against a large minority of the population would be severely censured - and rightly so.
Very few guidebook writers will bother to tell you that you can in fact almost always get to the start of a walk by bus or train...
Colin Speakman - Author
'Yet even if you can get to the start of the walk on a bus, you are still having to do a walk which is designed specially for motorists - a circular walk designed to bring the walker back safely to the security of the parked vehicle.
"This is actually a huge constraint, a contradiction of the alleged 'freedom' of the car, acting almost like an invisible umbilical cord that attaches you, physically and physiologically, to that little piece of your home on wheels. Getting back to the security of your car becomes a very necessary part of the day out."
Commenting on the book, the Yorkshire Dales Society President - the comedian, broadcaster and conservationist - Mike Harding, says:
"One of the things I always meant to do was put together a book of linear walks so that instead of having to walk in a circle back to where I'd left the car, I could get trains or buses back to where I started. Now Colin Speakman has saved me the trouble and a fine book it is too."
'Green Networks of the Dales' comprises twenty walks; a selection are mentioned below:
Between Two Spas: Ilkley - Harrogate
Grimwith and Stump Cross: Grassington - Pateley Bridge
The Fountains Walk: Pateley Bridge - Brimham Rocks - Fountains Abbey - Ripon
Along the Craven Fault: Settle - Malham - Grassington
The Whernside Ridge: Ingleton - Dentdale
The Wensleydale Walk: Hawes - Askrigg - Bolton Castle - Redmire
Upper Swaledale: Keld - Gunnerside - Reeth
Marrick Priory and Willance's Leap: Reeth - Marske - Richmond