Dales Way – Burnsall to Bolton Bridge

Back in June I needed to take my son over to Ribchester to drop him off for a few days pre uni course. It’s about a 2.5 hr drive and we wanted to make the day about more than just driving and of course, what else is there to do but run.

I was looking for a circular route (which often proves a challenge) and suddenly remembered buses do exist in some areas. A quick google showed me that there was a bus service from Bolton Bridge up to Grassington and the times fitted in with what we were doing – result!

on the bus!

I presented this to the husband, who was happy to go along with this slightly random plan so off we went on a Wednesday morning. Found Ribchester, dropped off the teenager, quick lunch and we were back on the road to Bolton Bridge. Found somewhere to park and we had a little bit of time before the bus so popped into the cafe for a drink. The one thing we didn’t have was an OS map and unfortunately the cafe didn’t sell them. They did say however that the shop at Bolton Abbey did – looking at the clock we had enough time to run the mile up the road, buy a map and then catch the bus from there. After a quick change into running gear in the car off we went. Map purchased – and downloaded onto the OS app on my phone (which is brilliant if you haven’t used it), bus stop found – only after asking as there wasn’t a sign… and before long a minibus appeared – this was our bus. Twenty minutes or so up the road and we were at Burnsall where we’d decided we were going to start our run from. A quick stop at the ice cream shop to buy some flapjack for along the way and off we went.

Burnsall Bridge

The route was to follow the Dales Way from Burnsall all the way back to the car at Bolton Bridge. The Dales Way mainly follows the river the whole way which I thought would make for a very pleasant run – and it really did. There were a few times that the route wasn’t brilliantly marked when I was happy to have the OS map with us, but navigation was generally very easy. This really is where I love running. In among the trees, along the river – it’s a beautiful part of the world.

The Dales Way takes you through the Bolton Abbey estate and we had to take the opportunity for a play on the logs ! (and no, I didn’t do the stepping stones, I tried a few at one side but there was no way I could go all the way across). A quick stop to use the facilities and we were over the bridge to the other side of the river and on our way again. We both agreed that this was probably the least enjoyable part of the run for us. The Abbey is of course lovely to see, the bridges beautiful but it also meant that the trails were very much proper paths and it felt a little bit too man made.

The path finishes by cutting across a field or two and the grounds of the Devonshire Arms, coming out very close to where we’d parked the car. I’m really pleased that I’d thought to look for the bus times as this worked really really well. Yes it cost us a bit on the bus (£4 each) but was worth it to have a lovely route to run. We’ve said if we were going to run in this area again we’d probably start or finish at Bolton Abbey and run further north.

Overall – a fab route, that we both thoroughly enjoyed.
8.28 miles, 1:39:30 (we were in no rush to walked parts of it too)

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