Over the past two months, we have been welcoming a goodly number of people walking The Dales Way footpath. The Dales Way ends or begins, depending on which way you are travelling, a literal half-minute stroll from our front door. Most people start their walk from Ilkley in the Yorkshire Dales, but a few others will commence this long distance walk from Bowness-on-Windermere, where our guest house, Blenheim Lodge, is perched on a hilltop next to it.
The Dales Way is about 81 miles in length and traverses some very pretty countryside. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dales_Way, ‘The Dales Way passes through two National Parks: the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District National Park. The first half of the walk follows the River Wharfe upstream to the main watershed of northern England at Ribblehead. The second half follows several river valleys (Dentdale, River Mint, River Kent) to descend to the shores of Windermere.’ When a walker reaches Lake Windermere, he or she is meant to dip his or her toes in the water to signify having completed the walk!
Most walkers take about 7 days to complete The Dales Way. However, fit walkers can do the footpath in 4 days. Some walkers who use Blenheim Lodge as a base for their stay will take public transport to where they last left off and walk specific sections of The Dales Way each day, so that they can complete the total number of Dales Way miles without living out of their rucksacks or suitcases everyday. There are also thriving enterprises involving baggage transfers, so that walkers do not need to carry their bags themselves. Instead, they will walk to their new accommodation each day and the transfer company will take their bags there. One such company is Sherpa (www.sherpavan.com).
One of the delights of walking The Dales Way is of course the scenery. Then there is the peace and quiet of the countryside as well as the possibility of sighting wild deer, newborn lambs being licked clean by their dams, wild birds and critters. Since The Dales Way meanders over open countryside, it is also possible to explore little side tracks which open up new vistas of stunning landscapes.
Walkers who arrive in Bowness-on-Windermere to stay with us at Blenheim Lodge are always warmly welcomed with the offer of hot drinks and biscuits. One of our rooms, The Dalesway, overlooks the fells through which the footpath meanders and this is my favourite room. I find the view from this room of woodlands, fells and sometimes wild deer, sheep or cows, most restful and certainly rejuvenating as I always feel instantly transported away into tranquil timeless pastoral surrounds, quite far and away indeed from the busyness of daily life.
Pictures of The Dales Way countryside from Blenheim Lodge by one of our previous guests depict bright sunlight slanting in the trees and fields, one of which you can see above. One other captures sheep at ‘work’, munching away. Whenever I clean and tidy The Dalesway room, I always remember this guest, an elderly gentleman who lives in Canada, almost blind and and already suffering from severely diminished sight when he came to stay with us those 3 or 4 times over the last few years. He is now unable to travel because of ill health and his inability to see properly. Then I think, ‘How glad am I that John saw all this beauty before his sight became so bad!’ However, the bucolic scenes and seasons that come and go around this landscape are timeless; and I am sure that John will continue to treasure his memories of his Lakeland journeys and time with us.
‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’
Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com