The Dales Way – Annes Way

The  Yorkshire Dales Way starts in the spa town of Ilkley following mostly riverside paths with the odd hill chucked in to keep the heart rate pumping and finishes in Bowness on Windermere,the shores of England’s largest lake, appropriately named Lake Windermere!

bowness on windere.
Bowness On Windermere

It will on average take you  6 days to walk the route taking you through the heart of  The yorkshire Dales National Park  walking anything between 10-16 miles a day and 4-7 hours of walking,however Anne wanted to walk the route  in stages over different days and  weekends the path would be the spine of the walk,then head back to where we started from, making it a circular on each visit,enabling  Anne to see ,walk and explore the surrounding areas close to the  path. Not always easy to plan having various factors to take into consideration,on the whole we probably walked about 140 miles(I say probably as I’m not the type of person who keeps stats),on other occasions we would catch public transport back to  our starting point.
First stop would be Go Outdoors to get Anne kitted out,I knew then there would be some testing times ahead.



                           Being Anne


  • Anne Goes Rallying

The car park at Go Outdoors in Leeds is massive,for those of a more mature age may remember it as Great Clothes,most days I imagine it lays at least half empty and on this particular Tuesday afternoon there were a couple of cars parked near the store entrance  – 3 with us.

She had saved a few quid on my discount card and membership card for the Mountain Training Association, buying clothes for her journey into the Dales and hopefully beyond,she heads for the exit whilst trying to unwrap a ‘Twix’ there is not a car in sight in as we leave the car park- big  enough to fill half of Wembley stadium!I glance nervously as she heads towards a waiting exit thinking to myself “I don’t think she has seen it” (we are talking millisconds here), free of any form of traffic, wide enough  for a double decker bus to get through, drives straight up the kerb,hits a post, literally piles into it and I mean pile into it “no holding back ”  gets out takes a photograph of a post and her smashed up car  as evidence,it may sound cruel I’m trying not to laugh at this stage “I think evidence of what ? There is only you, a kerb  a post and your car wrapped around it” Her outdoor journey had come to an abrupt halt!


Annes battered car seconds earlier it was in mint condition.This picture doesn’t justify her Rallying skills
Anne Is Scared Of Cows-Very !

On average about  22 people are killed by  cows per year according to Petkeen

Never walk through a field of cows with calves find an alternative route in these circumstances you are permitted to leave the footpath  and seek a safer route getting back onto the footpath as quick as possible when it is safe  to do so.

If walking through a field of  cows walk slowly and quietly  around the cows avoiding eye contact,be aware of any aggressive behaviour and have an escape route or return to your starting point whichever is the safest and quickest option.
Over the time we spent on the trail I would like to think that I did my best to reassure Anne that I had made it as safe as I could sticking to the above advice -“not sticking but working with it”, its with regret and romorse what ever I did to reassure her it didn’t work!Unfortunately towards the end of the walk heading in to the lake district  there were lots and lots of cows,accompanied by Anne’s heavy breathing and her clinging onto my jacket sleeve telling me how scared she was,this cow quite rightly looking bemused at Anne’s new found skills for dealing with our bovine friends .Despite all my failed efforts to allay her fears  I’ll  still take the credit for getting her through it!

A cow looks in disbelief as Anne stumbles through its field


  • Finally Anne Goes Awol

You could say it’s my fault, that Anne briefly went missing,”lost in action.” We had stopped for a brief break,the usual stuff  “quick sarnie,drink and off we go” Then shes gone without a word,various thoughts went through my mind mainly my outdoor career was over before it had  even started.How can anyone vanish that quickly,disappear into the ether without word or sound ? My phone rings then stops its Anne I return the call,no answer,I ask passing walkers if they have seen a female walker breathing heavily, running away from cows  with a phone to her ear shouting Bill ,Bill.
‘Have you called the mountain rescue ?’ “Er no not at this stage” is my response. I climb a small outcrop  in the hope that she will see me, suddenly I hear a faint cry of ‘Bill I’m here’ She is no more than a couple of metres away.My career is saved.I watch Anne’s every move until we arrive at Bowness in Windermere.

Anne Returns Bemused But Safe


On the 14th June on a hot summers afternoon Anne completed the Dales Way,it had taken far longer than we ever anticipated,when first putting the plan together little did we know the country would be forced to close its doors,avoid human interaction to combat a virus known as covid ” a nation  living in fear”. There is behind this light hearted story one of sadness,during the time on the way she lost both her father Harry at the age of 92,he’d enjoyed a long and healthy life,unlike her brother David life cut short at 67 a heart attack,his life over in a few fleeting seconds.
For me I have never claimed to be close to my sister;she would lose her battle against alcoholism. I often wonder what could have been if I had gone down a similar path, thankfully someone somewhere was looking after me and steered me in the opposite direction.
Today sat in the sunshine, media and weathermen alike predicting record breaking temperatures, ( the UK has gone all climate change again 2 days of rising temperatures and then back to the usual summer averages !) I took time to  scroll through Anne’s Facebook page on the day she completed the walk,informing friends and anybody who would listen to her that she had completed the Dales Way.In return there were a  lengthy list  of congratulations ,well done’s, great efforts and be proud’s. Just as I  was about to leave the page  a comment  caught my eye referring to the day we had walked  close to 15 miles finishing in  Burneside I smiled to myself, clicked off the page-She told me  she would never be able to walk more than 5 when she took those first steps in Ilkley . I had done my job.

Anne is Anne up for a laugh she asked me to keep this blog ,punchy and highlight the funnier moments lets not take it too seriously.Now proof read and approved  by Anne  before being published.My job is done.

Time To Reflect. Finished