Fifty years of the Dales Way have been celebrated in style with an event enjoyed by more than 70walkers.

Colin Speakman, the man who led the original walk along the Dales Way half a century ago, also led the Golden Jubilee outing. The group made their way along the banks of the River Wharfe, from the start of the Dales Way in Ilkley to Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The event celebrated the original public walk organised more than fifty years ago to inaugurate the 81 mile long Dales Way - now one of England’s most popular long distance walks - which connects the towns and cities of West Yorkshire with the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

Colin, now the Chairman of the Dales Way Association, and a Vice President of both the West Riding Ramblers and the Yorkshire Dales Society, said it was his privilege to have been able to lead the original walk on March 23, 1969 and now the Golden Jubilee Walk just over 50 years later.

A special feature of Saturday’s celebrations was a courtesy bus service using use two of the exact type of local West Yorkshire Road Car buses that were used to carry walkers to and from the Yorkshire Dales in 1969.

The buses were provided by the Keighley Bus Museum, in conjunction with the Friends of DalesBus.

On their return to Ilkley participants joined Sir Rodney Brooke, President of the Ilkley Manor House Trust and Ilkley and Keighley MP John Grogan, for the official opening of a special exhibition dedicated to the story of the Dales Way.The exhibition will be staged at Ilkley’s Manor House throughout August.

Mr Grogan paid tribute to the vision and energy of both Colin Speakman and Tom Wilcock of the West Riding Ramblers Association who had conceived and developed the route in 1969 as a way of encouraging access to the spectacular countryside of the Yorkshire Dales.

The Dales Way 50th exhibition is open at the Ilkley Manor House (near the Parish Church) every Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm, until September 1. Entrance is free. Visit see

Supported by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Sustainable Development Fund, the Dales Way Association has also published a special illustrated souvenir booklet 50 Years of the Dales Way - details It costs £4.99 and is available at the Grove Bookshop in Ilkley or post free from at