Marvelling at the magnificent geology which forms most of this stunning walk.
Seizing a chance to walk through two of the countries best National Parks.
Experiencing the gracious hospitality and cuisine of the locals.
Standing, looking out over the awsome Lake Windermere.
Immersing yourself in the unique beauty and atmosphere of Strid Wood.
The Dales Way takes you from the rugged magnificence of Yorkshire all the way to the majestic finery of the Lake District and crosses two national parks.
This walk is full of diversity, beginning with lush meadowlands and black bordered moors of the Yorkshire Dales, to the luminous waters of Windermere and the splendour of the Lake District. 300 million years in the making, the Dales Way is formed in the east from great slabs of limestone and to the west where landscapes were formed by the movement of the earths surface which pushed ancient rock to the surface creating the craggy hilltops, mountain tarns and glittering lakes of Cumbria.
Day 1: Arrive Ilkley
Arrive in the lovely Yorkshire town of Ilkley. Settle into your accommodation and perhaps enjoy trying an ale in the local pub.
Day 2: Ilkley to Burnsall - 13 miles
Starting at the Old Bridge in Ilkley you make your way north on your walk up to Burnsall and through lush meadowlands and past Bolton Priory. Pass by stunning bridges and medieval settlements before Burnsall Bridge comes into view marking the end of the stage. This quaint little town provides a few tea rooms and a local shop.
Day 3: Burnsall to Hubberholme - 16 miles
As you leave Burnsall the river roars dramatically beneath limestone crags. Begin to climb and admire the amazing views over Wharfedale. Walk into Grassington, a fabulous Dale’s village with oodles of charm. Discover more stunning views over the pretty farm land, laid out like a patchwork quilt around you as you head up to Coniston Pike. After some gentle woodland walking, follow a riverside until you come to your destination for this evening, Hubberholme, a pretty little village
Day 4: Hubberholme to Dent Head (Cowgill) - 16 miles
Today you leave Wharfedale and enter Dentdale. This path takes you past the river and to Deepdale Gill, which is a splendidly rugged area. The path then climbs and later you can take in the views of the three peaks, Whernside, Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough. Evidence of the impending Lake District is now visible as you head towards the impressive Dent Head Viaduct.
Day 5: Dent Head (Cowgill) to Sedbergh - 13 miles
After passing Scar Force and Dent Station (England's highest railway station), you will wind your way through meadow and forest as steep hills rise on both sides and the ominous Whernside looms some 2414 ft above you.
A short while after Dent, the river which had become more of a stream earlier today, is back to its crashing glory and the bird life is in full flow again. On this section, you will get the sense of leaving Yorkshire and entering the Lake District. Spend the night in Sedbergh.
Day 6: Sedbergh to Burneside/Overnight Kendal - 12 miles
The views and landscapes are delightful today as more evidence of the approaching Lake District forms up ahead, as you pass through slate roofed villages and amble across a beck. The mighty Howgills dominate the skyline for most of the day. Pass Black Moss Tarn and cross the River Sprint before heading into Burneside, your next port of call.
Day 7: Burneside to Bowness-on-Windermere - 9 miles
As you head off to the River Kent, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Kingfishers on this section. Pass plenty of interesting old mills, including an entire village of them at Cowen Head. The scenery is more and more rocky as you progress to the end of the Dales Way and the river really comes into its own as it crashes and gurgles over the rocks.
As you see the majestic lake ahead you can choose the long or short way to your final destination, Bowness-on-Windermere, a great place to celebrate your amazing journey.
Day 8: Onward Travel
This trip is available to start on any day of the week from the beginning of April and end of October. You can start on any date that suits your travel plans, subject to availability.
In order to help with availability, we recommend either booking an extra night in Bowness at the end of your walk or avoiding finishing in Bowness at the weekend - many B&B's only accept 2 night bookings at the weekend in Bowness and it can make it more difficult to confirm your trip if you do finish at the weekend.
Grade & Terrain
This walk is graded moderate and the walking surface is on everything from good walking trails to forestry roads and rough hillsides. The daily distances are anywhere between 9 and 16 miles, therefore you will have a good fitness level in order to make the most out of your tour.
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
This route is waymarked and much of it follows a well laid out path so you will not need to be a very experienced navigator with a map and compass. However, as with any self-guided walk it would be very helpful to have at least some navigating experience.
The walk is normally walked from east to west with that good feel factor of walking into the Lake District. Walking in reverse is not available due to luggage transfer restrictions.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person. Please ensure that you do not bring more than one bag of 20kg, as if this occurs, the luggage transfer company will ask you to pay an additional fee (approx. £8.50 per day, per bag). This additional payment, should it be necessary, needs to be made locally to the driver and in cash. Any additional bags need to labelled as if they are not labelled we cannot guarantee that they will reach you at the next accommodation.
If you are travelling from far afield and do have more than one bag it is possible to arrange for the extra luggage to be stored whilst you are on the tour for a fee of £25 per bag. These additional bags would be picked up at your accommodation at the start point (St Bees or Kirkby Stephen) and dropped off wherever you finish depending on the itinerary you choose to do. Please contact us if you are interested in this option.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.