Review: Trail and Fell Running in the Yorkshire Dales by Pete Ellwood

LAST year readers will recall I reviewed a similarly titled book about Trail and Fell Running in the Lake District. Cicerone Books have now produced a second book in this series featuring 40 runs in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The book has been compiled by Pete Ellwood, an experienced fell runner with Settle running club, winner of one of the classes in the Saunders Mountain Marathon in 2013 and a member of the mountain rescue team near to where he lives close to Ingleborough.

Of the 40 runs described in the book, 35 are circular, two are linear whilst the remaining three describe the linear route from Pendragon (near Kirkby Stephen) to Skipton, a total of 52½ miles split over three days. The distances of the runs range from 5¼ miles to 24¼ miles, the latter being the classic Yorkshire 3 Peaks starting and finishing in Horton in Ribblesdale.

The routes are graded from one to five, the grade given to each run reflecting the maximum level of difficulty on that particular route, even though some parts of the route may fall into a lower category of difficulty.

Each of the routes starts with a summary comprising the start and finish points of the run (usually the same for 88 per cent of the routes), distance, ascent, grading, estimated time to complete, type of terrain, map to be used, refreshment availability and public transport availability to the start/finish. The route is then described in detail and accompanied by a map on a 1:50,000 scale and also a number of photographs of features and views experienced during the run.

As well as the 40 runs, there are also sections at the start of the book on history & geology, nesting restrictions, accommodation, transport, maps, a brief history of running in this area, tracks and trails, the 3 Peaks Race, running clubs, equipment, navigation, safety & mountain rescue and how to use the guide itself.

The area covered by the runs is split into four sub sections – The South West Dales and Three Peaks, The North West Dales and Howgills, The North East Dales plus Swaledale and Wensleydale and finally the South East Dales and Wharfedale.

Although the book is aimed primarily at the cross country and fell running fraternity, 24 of the routes (60 per cent) are of 10 miles of less and would be more than suitable for walkers to use. In this latter case, Pete Ellwood’s times would need to be doubled for each of the routes due to the slower pace of a walker compared with a runner.

Many of the routes in the book were well known to me from my many years of walking in the Dales but there are probably about six or seven lesser known ones that I have not walked which can be remedied over the next year to two.

For any fell runners or seasoned walkers this is an excellent book, well written by Pete Ellwood, which should form part of their collection.

Published by Cicerone Books and priced at £12.95 it is available at

by John Burland