We completed another leg of the six dales trail this weekend: from Ramsgill, north over Fountains Earth Moor past Leighton Reservoir. This is part of our ongoing challenge to complete the whole of the trail with our walking group made up of Open Country members and volunteers. This section was 7 miles long and took us the best part of the day to complete at a fairly relaxed pace to accommodate the abilities of all members in the group.
After the ascent over Fountains Earth Moor, our guide (and volunteer) Alan steered a course for a hunting lodge about mid-way through the route for us to break for lunch. It was also a chance for Sam to rendezvous with the group, as he had dropped the van off at the finish. So, while we stuffed our faces full of sandwiches, there appeared a blip on the horizon which slowly grew into the formidable shape of Sam making his way over the furze like the returning native.
In case you’re wondering – the title of this article isn’t a typo, it was suggested by one of our volunteers as a comment on the accessible (or rather inaccessible) state of some of the paths on the trail so far. At some points we’ve been unable to find the path, stiles don’t exist and way markers haven’t been present at all.
Just take a look at the photo of the heather – believe it or not there’s actually a path running through there – can you spot it? Similarly, there’s a photo of one of our members taking on a bizarre assault-course inspired stile near Leighton Reservoir. However, as always, we worked as a team to get everyone over the obstacle – none is too big in our ongoing mission to help people with disabilities to access the countryside. Open Country member Dan particularly enjoyed his ascent over the stile, standing tall and cheering himself on.
On the whole the trail has been enjoyable but there are certainly a few parts which need some attention to make the Six Dales Trail a little bit more accessible.
Our walk ended at the Leeds Pals monument on the site of the former training camp for WWI soldiers based in Leeds. It’s an eerie place where the wind sweeps across the moors through linear mounds of earth created by the soldiers as they rehearsed for trench warfare.