The Ramblers mark 50 years of Dales Way walking

Colin Speakman leading a long line of walkers through a field.

Over 50 years of Dales Way walking were celebrated in style last weekend, with a six mile walk along the banks of the River Wharfe, from the start of the Dales Way in Ilkley to Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

It was led by Colin Speakman, who led the original public walk on 23 March 1969 to inaugurate the 81 mile long Dales Way, now one of England’s most popular long distance walks, connecting the towns and cities of West Yorkshire with the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

Local author Colin, now Chairman of the Dales Way Association, and a Vice President of both the West Riding Ramblers and the Yorkshire Dales Society, was joined by over 70 walkers. They also enjoyed a courtesy bus service using use two of the exact type of local West Yorkshire Road Car buses that carried walkers to and from the Yorkshire Dales in 1969 – the vintage vehicles were provided by the Keighley Bus Museum, in conjunction with the Friends of Dales Bus.

On their return to Ilkley, walkers joined Sir Rodney Brooke, President of the Ilkley Manor House Trust and Ilkley & Keighley MP John Grogan, who opened a special exhibition dedicated to the story of the Dales Way. 50 years of the Dales Way is now open to the public at weekends at Ilkley Manor House.

Supported by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Sustainable Development Fund, the Dales Way Association has also published a special illustrated souvenir booklet 50 years of the Dales Way.

Find out more about walking the Yorkshire Dales in our online library.