Saturday: Welcome meeting and briefing with a glass of good cheer with our compliments. A chance to meet your fellow guests before dining at Grassington House.
Sunday: Star Botton to Grassington in Wharfedale along the Dales Way
Today, we follow the popular Dales Way setting off from Star Botton beside the River Wharfe and heading south to Kettlewell, a charming Dales village surrounded by lush meadows enclosed by dry stone walls. Stopping briefly in Kettlewell for refreshments, we head uphill on to wide open limestone grassland with some fine views across the valley of the River Wharfe.
The landscape we walk through today is dotted with prehistoric and medieval remains and more recent industrial archaeology from the days when Grassington was an important lead mining area between the 17th and 19th Centuries. All that industry is long gone now and this walk is a great introduction to walking in the Yorkshire Dales. Picnic lunch today. (Grade, moderately easy, undulating walk. 8.45 miles/13.6 kilometres).
Monday: Grassington to Bolton Abbey in Wharfedale
Today, we continue our journey along the River Wharfe, this time setting off from Grassington itself, heading south and keeping close to the river as it winds its way towards the mighty Bolton Abbey. Our route today takes us through part of the Duke of Devonshire's estate, its well-kept appearance being due largely to their centuries of stewardship. This is more an enclosed landscape with clearly identifiable estate parkland features, mature woodlands and well managed farmland. We visit The Strid, where the River Wharfe tumbles noisily between rocks carved out of the limestone. Dippers and kingfishers flash brightly above the water, well worth looking out for. Bolton Abbey, founded in 1154, suffered destruction in The Dissolution in the 1530s. It sits in a wonderful location beside the Wharfe. The abbey church (1220) survived The Dissolution and there will be time for a visit before we reach the tea room at the end of our walk along the River Wharfe. Picnic lunch today (Grade moderately easy, mostly beside the River Wharfe. 10.56 miles/17 kilometres)
Tuesday: Malham, Gordale Scar, Malham Tarn and Malham Cove
Today we enjoy some magnificent limestone country, including the gothic splendour of Gordale Scar, the pretty Janet's Foss and the mighty Malham Cove, topped by limestone pavement and home to a pair of nesting peregrine falcons. We begin gently enough in the village of Malham, following easy paths east to Gordale Scar and then ascend to the top of the Cove with its stunning views. Onward to Malham Tarn, a curiosity because water bodies are rare in limestone country. We then head south along the Pennine Way to stand at the foot of Malham Cove, an awe inspiring experience. The descent to Malham Cove follows a long-stepped section, but your reward is a wide choice of pubs and tea rooms in the village of Malham, a perfect end to an exciting day in the limestone grandeur of the Yorkshire Dales. Picnic lunch today. (Grade moderate. 7.7 miles/12.4 kilometres).
Wednesday: Free Day
Enjoy a relaxing day exploring Grassington and its surroundings. Suggestions available for short walks from Grassington.
Thursday: Horton in Ribblesdale to Clapham via the summit of Ingleborough
There are three famous peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough and a walking holiday in the Yorkshire Dales wouldn't be complete without an ascent to the summit of at least one of them. We depart from Horton in Ribblesdale and we're quickly up on to an open limestone plateau with plenty of limestone pavement features and some wonderful views. The ascent to the summit starts at Nick Pot and from then on, it's a steady but gradual uphill walk to the top of the second highest hill in Yorkshire. (Summit is 723 metres/2373 feet above sea level). It really does have some wonderful views and the good news is that after the summit, it's all downhill to Clapham via the famous Gaping Gill. In the village of Clapham, there are plenty of pubs and tea rooms to relax in and share stories of our adventures up on Ingleborough. Picnic lunch today. (Grade moderate. 9 miles/14.5 kilometres).
Friday: Muker to Reeth in Swaledale along the River Swale
Today we follow the River Swale, west to east through a succession of pretty villages with their Nordic names, Muker, Thwaite and Reeth, reflecting the fact that the Vikings settled and established themselves in this part of Yorkshire in the late 8th and early 9th Centuries. Now a peaceful and beautiful valley, the fields are enclosed by drystone walls and with any number of traditional field barns scattered across the landscape. Every village has a welcoming tearoom and sometimes a pub too, but it's the countryside here that is the main attraction and Swaledale is a fitting conclusion to a wonderful week of walking in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Picnic lunch optional today, pub lunch a strong possibility. (Grade easy to moderate. 9.63 miles/15.5 km).