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



A few days spent on the Northumberland coast,the newly formed England coastal path; the longest in the world, now nestled in its history and tales of the past


This small fishing village didnt exist until 1889 when a harbour was built to support local fishing industries,now given way to tourism and boat tours that  line the harbour .

Hidden streets still free of tourists,but don’t tell them !Schooner,an old sailing ship with masts,or a drinking haunt used by fisherman of the past, business looks good with its barrels lined neatly on the needy pavements

The past and present, modern housing peeping out behind the crumbling walls no doubt eroded by time and the effects of being built near the sea, a window cleaner’s hosepipe  strewn, its all he needs,bucket and chamois leather now redundant , yellow lines  protect the streets from modern day travel in a cluttered world.


The most northerly town in England famous for its iconic bridges, and winding cobbled streets entwined within its rampart wall’s

Three bridges in one! Modern day lighting overlooks the waters below.

The river tweed its final journey

The river Tweed shimmering,a 97 mile journey almost complete,the murky  North Sea awaits her arrival


Cobbled Streets of Berwick Town centre ,some remain untouched  silent and empty.

Nature in Mind


The month of April takes  its name from the Latin word, aperire meaning to ‘open’  flowers begin to open up,buds appear on trees,no longer  silhouette’s stripped bare in the winter months,  dark and naked  shadow’s  on the skyline, but   now preparing  for the warmer month’s, “a new look”one of  colour  that will dance in the valleys,twist and swirl on the hills, lay silent on the horizon, a silence broken only by birdsong from dawn until dusk and into the  darkness of night.

This scene  I captured whilst out with  Darren Sanderson photography  under Darren’s watchful eye and guidance; “be patient,slow down,take your time,count 3 seconds then click,” years of experience  wrapped in one short sentence “the beginning, the basics, to get me started,” there is of course much more to learn; and yet the landscape, the tree stood alone, reflect those words ,so close to home my world stops ,then click we move on, the next picture, the next walk , the next event, “life trundles on.”

Cumulus clouds the white fluffy ones look almost to be clinging onto the tree,and to the right a dark,mean and angry looking Nimbus cloud (rain bearing )  casts its shadow into the distance, and now  here I am at home in my office “putting a bit of a blog together,” thinking of something to write about, looking at the picture, reflecting on my  telephone call with Nathaniel, ( not his real name ) ending  not long ago,terribly lonely,isolated,afraid to leave the house,broken mentally and financially,its my  voluntary work for Mind In Bradford  one of three clients I speak to on a weekly basis,we chat for as long as they want.When the call is over they return to a world of loneliness and just like the fallen branch from the tree forgotten and overlooked.

It is not my   intention to promote the benefits of mental health and walking; not in this post anyway, neither do I want to delve too deeply into the past, once trapped in this  illness that saps your mind and body, seeps every ounce of of self esteem and confidence out of you crippling  mind,body and soul.It is a debilitating illness,often I believe to be misunderstood  ” I do my bit for Mind”  and we all go about our work whether voluntary or employed doing the best we can,and once again  as I reflect on this  picture , a picture that I never intended to associate with mental health, the tree it stands there stripped bare over the winter months,waiting for the  the warmer weather there is hope for it to flower and come good again.The clouds one of contrasting colours,the Nimbus angry and moody,the cumulus offering hope for better days but hopeful that it doesn’t form as the black cloud,and of course the clear blue sky in between the clouds giving you hope and belief for the future.

One last thought,I originally set this project,challenge,company ,business,call it what you may to introduce people  to the outdoors to  become part of it ,feel it, and more importantly to enjoy it .Our  contact details are available via the website should you wish  just as Darren said when taking the picture to  “take your time slow down.”

Melissa and Sam


Burnsall Bridge

Weaving in and out of farmers field climbing stiles over drystone walls which bend,twist ,fall and rise over 5000 miles of the Yorkshire Dales  myself ,Melissa and Sam the dog headed  back down the valley into Burnsall , reflecting on what Melissa had learnt from that first day on Ilkley Moor to where she was now.It was only ever intended to be a one day map reading  session covering the key points below.

  • Setting the map with and without a compass
  • Map symbols  relating these from map to ground
  • Identifying paths tracks and bridleway
  • Identifying access land where we can and cannot walk
  • Grid references and emergency procedures
  • Appropriate clothing and equipment


Top Mere road,Kettlewell

“That was Melissa she wants me to take her out again and do some more  navigation.”

“I gathered I heard you say Kettlewell, you take them all there”

“True, remember when I used to take you on some of my walks in the early days? We will have to give it another go sometime, now I know what I’m doing”

“Yes Bill I do remember and no thanks I’ll stick to B&M”

Good old Bev, never one to let me get too carried away,but she has a point there wont be many budding navigators eager to show  their  new map skills that haven’t dragged family and friend’s out on a 5 mile stroll that’s turned into a 15 mile nightmare I’m Sure Anne Lawrence can recollect one or two,and yes I do take everyone to Kettlewell

We climbed slowly  out of the village of   Knapely –  the  fictitious name for Kettlewell, where the Calendar girls was filmed  on location,and the views then begin to unfold themselves as in the above picture without having to walk too high,those views staying with us throughout the day as we  discussed and practiced the following techniques.

  • Route planning  using the 5’ds (direction ,detail ,destination,distance,dangers)
  • Using a compass for fine bearings and quick bearings
  • Relocation skills
  • contour interpretation
  • Pacing,timings ,distance estimation both on the map and ground
  • Available apps for navigation and weather forecasts
  • Brief outline of flora and fauna in the Yorkshire Dales

Melissa now has the confidence and the skills  to venture further, plan her own adventures and journeys, along side her will be her trusty friend and companion Sam the dog, not once did he bark or leave her side he became “part of it” just like  dogs do in family life,as the miles went by he was always glad of a biscuit and  an opportunity to rest his 12 year old tired legs.

For me here at Hills in Mind this venture,project ,small business call it what you will its immensely satisfying to be able to get people out on the hills ” to get them out there”  to teach them new skills and take them to places they may never have known or seen

If your interested or thinking about developing your navigational skills then please contact contact me all details on the website

Ketllewell  and similar walks are great for those  wanting get too know the Dales those that have  done some walking but now want to pursue their ambitions and interests further .I will shortly be adding it as an event once the website is updated but in the meantime if your interested in  this or similar walks in the Dales then please feel free to contact me and once again all the contact details are on the website

Fife Coastal Path

It always take me a day or so to get settled in when I’m away from home for a few days walking  new ground ,a bit like the first day of your holidays having a’ nosey’ seeing where everything is, getting to know the place.When out walking you obviously move on from day to day and don’t get to know the area as such but still develop a feel for what’s around you, becoming  part of the land ,its climate ,its surroundings. I was back in Scotland,not in the mountains this time but at sea level,walking part of the Fife coastal path  ‘the best bits’ which  I had come across in a walking magazine.

The total distance of the path is 116 miles I did approximately 40 of it stretching from Leven to St Andrews sometimes off the path but the majority on the trail and taking in  the most Easterly corner Fifeness (headland) Anyone who is reasonably fit and is interested in the coast, and enjoys  plenty of variation in  scenery and terrain this would meet your expectations. A day could quite easily be spent in St Andrews.,ancient old walls and crumbling castles reflect its past,bitter battles won and lost, cobbled streets lined  with cafes,shops and the odd  pub ,restaurant and wine bar bring the town into a more modern age with its world famous golf course the ST Andrews Links shadowing the landscape.

swilcan bridge
Golfs Iconic image the Swilcan bridge.St Andrews Links

The Neuk

Neuk is a Scottish word for corner,Fife itself, or the Kingdom of Fife is squeezed in between the Firths of Forth and the Tay. Firth an old Norse word meaning narrow . The headland, shaped like a dog’s face on the map. Those that like to stop  off and wander around the old fishing villages and ports this where  you would  spend your  time ,the old fishing villages were built on the Eastern Corner (neuk) dating back as far as the 13th century.Ports were built and then expanded.

Typical street leading to the harbour
The village of Crail dating back to the 13th century


The Offing


The offing originally a nautical term  for where the sea meets the sky ( the horizon),those on look out would see ships in the offing when they were approaching. I’ve also heard it  used as a term for events in the not too distant future. My next navigation course is in the offing, although it would less difficult to understand if I said its a week on Sunday! Just a thought on how language changes over the years , just like the coast changes,its history,  ancient castles and forts  along the coast line ,pill boxes still scattered along the shore that defended us in the second world war,fishing villages dating back hundreds of years their identity remains from hundreds of years ago.

The 40 odd miles that I walked gave me a chance to explore all  of the above.It was February, at times it was cold,others incredibly windy and on occasions the sun shone,all adding  to the feeling of just being alone,me the elements and the scenery its past and  present.There were few fellow walkers on the path.

For the experienced walker this is relatively straightforward and wouldn’t bring  too many challenges in more favourable weather conditions.I enjoyed the ever changing weather that added to the enjoyment of it all.

For someone that has lesser experience there are parts of the walk are that could be a test certainly if the weather was to deteriorate or you had ignored the tide times the above sign reminding us walkers never take anything for granted.

Looking further down the line I am looking to arrange coastal walking as an event if anyone fancies walking with a group, or you aren’t  confident enough to walk it alone yourself or you have your own personal adventure you would like to discuss then please contact me via the website.Hills in Mind is about your own personal journey,share it with us and discover together.