We decided to ride the train

Train Askrigg North Yorkshire

2 March 2012

The romantic side of me has always been drawn to the buses and trains of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District yet the practicalities of travelling by public transport have always put me off. Until recently train travel for me has been limited to a few trips on the Settle Carlisle railway (quite excellent service) and journeys of necessity in the Scottish Highlands with Corrour Station in the middle of Rannoch Moor being a particular favourite. Bus trips have been even less frequent; spasmodically during my recent walk along the Dales Way when I was able to return by bus to my daily starting point; prior to that I took the regular bus service up Borrowdale on a reasonably frequent basis before I owned a car (many years ago!)…but that really was it.

In recent months a number of things have conspired to make me look a lot closer at the bus and train options and whether the benefits of using public transport outweigh the practical difficulties:

  • The enhanced pleasure of a walk in travelling from A to B and not A to A.
  • Economic, the price of petrol and running a car generally is becoming prohibitive.
  • The environmental impact of cars and the irritation of driving on clogged up roads
  • The pleasures of being able to enjoy the scenery in peace and (usually) comfort
  • Being inspired/shamed by fellow walkers on the fells who have used public transport.

In the past I have been put off by not only the time restrictions that a bus or train timetable offer and the limitations in where they go, but also by an idle and negative attitude in not investigating what is actually out there. The reality is that there is a more frequent service than I imagined, I have found them reliable, it is not overpriced and most importantly the services offer new and varied walking opportunities across the national parks. Yes a little more effort may have to be put in in planning your walks but the benefits outweigh the problems for many (although not all) walks.
Below is a list of the relevant websites which have clear and accurate timetables in order to plan your journey.

The Settle to Carlisle classic rail line passing through Ribblehead, Dent & Kirkby Stephen.

Bus timetables with routes up all the famous dales: Wharfedale, Wensleydale and Swaledale with buses at roughly 2 hour intervals.

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