About my walk
I walked A Dales Walk in June 2006. I did it as an organised holiday with HF Holidays, with whom I had previously walked The Dales Way and The Cumbria Way. I stayed at their hotel, or ‘house’ as they prefer to call them, at Sedbergh, and each morning a minibus would take me and the other walkers to the start of our walk, then pick us up again at the end of the day’s walk and take us back to Sedbergh. This was a very civilised way of doing a long-distance path, as it entailed staying in the same comfortable hotel all week with plenty of good food and sociable company in the evenings. The only slight downside was the need for the minibus journeys each day, although this was no hardship for me as I’m used to driving up to an hour before and after my walks. In fact I enjoyed viewing the scenery as we went along, it made a pleasant change from doing the driving myself. We were a bit unlucky in that the road through Garsdale was closed (due to part of it subsiding into a river) which meant we had to take a detour of at least 10 miles on most of our journeys.
HF provide a leader for each walking group. Our leader was James, a very pleasant and humorous chap who lives near Bingley. The other walkers in our very small group (word had obviously got round that I was coming!) were Gill, Olwen and Anne, all very nice ladies who had done countless holidays with HF before. We all got on very well and managed to have many a good laugh as we walked A Dales Walk together.
Click here to see a very rough map of A Dales Walk (but only if you have already read my disclaimer and notes regarding maps).
Note: You can click on any of the smaller pictures in this journal to see them enlarged (click the 'Back' button of your browser to return to the journal). I have also numbered each photograph (in red) and inserted the same number in the text to show where in the walk the photo was taken.
My fellow walkers - James, Olwen, Gill and Anne
Warning Note about Long-distance walks with HF Holidays: Although I have enjoyed all of the three walking holidays I have done with HF Holidays, I am not sure whether I will do another long-distance path with them. To me, the very essence of walking a long-distance path is that it is a continuous path between A and B. HF (and to be fair, most of their customers) seem happy to miss bits of the walks out here and there. On both The Dales Way and now on A Dales Walk, there were days when the leader intended starting the walk at a different place to that where we had finished the day before, thus missing out a short section. I have had to negotiate with the leader to be allowed to walk a continuous route from start to finish (in the case of A Dales Walk, we did eventually do a continuous walk, but in so doing we missed out a short section of the official route near Hawes). I have written and complained to HF, saying that in my opinion they should walk the whole route or else make it clear in their brochures that they might not walk 100% of the route - if they advertised that they were not doing the whole route I wouldn't have booked the holiday. I wasn't overly impressed with the response I got from their Head of Walking Operations, which said: "I think we will have to instruct our leaders to allow guests like yourself to walk the extra short sections, while at the same time allowing the majority of guest to omit the more tedious sections. As this will cause delay to those guests, we may have to review this if we start receiving complaints." So if anyone reading this is thinking of walking a long-distance path with HF Holidays, please be aware that they might not walk the whole route.