I’m always wary of publishing my plans for the year ahead, just look back over my previous posts and see how many plans I’ve made and then abandoned or failed to follow through on. However, as Winston Churchill once said, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential” and there’s that other famous quote about plans never surviving beyond first contact with the enemy. All that being said, I’m going to lay out my intentions for 2018, in the vain hope that it will help me stay the course this time.
Although I didn’t get out very much last year, what walking I did was most enjoyable and at the end of the year I’d produced two new guide books and rekindled my love of combining walking with writing. It makes sense then to continue that into this year and stick with something that gives me great pleasure, hopefully making my plans easier to follow. I’ve identified three existing long distance paths that are in need of a new guide book, in order to keep the walk alive and maybe to even provide a resurgence of interest in a walk that some have forgotten. I’ve also decided to revisit one of my existing books, re-walk the whole route and make a few adjustments.
The Eden Way
The first new book will be the Eden Way, the third book in the Rivers Trilogy, which I started last year with the Swale Way and the Yoredale Way. All three of these rivers are born on the Mallerstang ridge, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Two head south through the Dales and the Eden heads north towards the Solway and the sea.
I’ve decided to follow the direction of the original guide to the Eden Way, which begins at the coast and the Solway Firth, seeking out the River Eden as it meets the sea. It then follows the river through Carlisle and Appleby, beneath the slopes of the Pennine hills, to Kirkby Stephen and then up to the spring which gives it life, before dropping down to Garsdale Head. A logical extension is to then follow the Yoredale Way all the way to Boroughbridge, from where, if your legs and annual leave allow, you can return to Kirkby Stephen by the Swale Way.
I’ll be walking the Eden Way over the long Easter weekend and hope to have it committed to paper by the end of May.
The Tributaries Walk
In June I’ll be walking an old favourite of mine, the Tributaries Walk. I wrote this guide book at the request of an old friend, Mike Schofield, who devised the walk for his clients, when he ran Brigantes Walking Holidays. Mike sadly died a few years ago. The walk is difficult to improve on, but Mike had it starting and ending in Malham, which isn’t the easiest place to get to without a car, so I’m planning on moving the start point to Settle, which has excellent public transport links.
If you haven’t come across the walk, and you like the Yorkshire Dales, then it would be difficult to find a walk that gives you a better guide around the valleys and hills of this wonderful place.
I’m hoping to have the re-write done for July or August.
The Westmorland Way
The Westmorland Way explores the lost county of the same name, which was swallowed by Cumbria in the great county reshuffle of 1974. It runs from Appleby, the old county town, west towards the Cumbria Fells, through Shap, Pooley Bridge, Patterdale, Grasmere, Windermere, Kendal and finally arrives at the coast, at Arnside. The original guide, by Paul Hannon has been out of print for a long while now and Paul has kindly agreed to let me take over the route and publish a new guide for it.
Train stations at each end of the walk make it easily accessible and the stunning scenery along the walk have made it a firm favourite over the years. It is hoped that this will become the first of three walks exploring the old counties of Westmorland and Cumberland and the area of Furness that formed Cumbria.
I’ll be walking the route in July and I hope to have the guide book published before October 2018.
The Nidderdale Way
The Nidderdale Way is one of the hidden gems of Yorkshire’s long distance paths. It’s a lovely four day walk, based around the River Nidd at the heart of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). There have been two previous guide books for the walk since it was launched in the early 1980’s, but both are now out of print and quite hard to get hold of, so it seems time to put the walk back on the map!
I’m going to be walking, possibly backpacking the route over a series of weekends. Although it’s only a four day walk, there are quite a few possibilities for extensions and link paths, so they all need to be mapped.
Realistically, getting three new guides out this year is a stretch, and if one of them falls by the wayside, it’s likely to be this one.
All in all, 2018 is looking like a busy year and although I’m still massively unfit and carrying far too much weight around with me, I’m really looking forward to it. I’m planning on blogging as I go this year too, as I’ve been far too lazy over the last few years. The simplicity and instantaneousness of Twitter has made sharing my activities easier, but the downside is that the messages are ephemeral and fleeting – a return to the more substantial media of the blog is called for I think.