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Walkers beat a path to Otley festival’s varied events
7:30am Wednesday 4th July 2012 in Local news
Otley’s 12th Walking Festival has got off to an action-packed start including a 38-mile hike and a brewery tour.
The annual event, which aims to cater for walkers of all ages and abilities, got underway on Saturday, when other activities included a treasure trail for toddlers and a trip to Farnley Hall.
The first stage of one of the festival’s flagship recent additions – the 38-mile Six Dales Trail from Otley to Middleham – was held the following day, when town mayor Councillor Mary Vickers unveiled a plaque marking the walk’s starting place at the Buttercross.
A similar plaque was unveiled in Middleham on Tuesday when the walkers – who were led by Otley Walking Festival treasurer Stuart Fildes – reached the end of the trail.
Although now into its sixth day, there are still plenty of festival events to come, with organisers stress-ing the variety on offer.
“As always, there are walks for all ages and abilities,” said Mr Fildes.
“There are short town-based walks, themed walks, waterside walks and stren-uous moorland hikes, as well as a full evening programme of events.”
Yesterday saw Walkers are Welcome steering committee member John Sparshatt – author of The Six Dales Trail booklet – lead a red kite-spotting walk in and around Harewood, while a guided tour of Ilkley Moor’s cup and ring stones was given by Jur Keessen.
Highlights today (Thurs-day) include a six-mile circular walk from Menston train station at 10am, taking in villages, farm tracks and moorland, as well as a showing of Into the Wild – an award-winning movie telling the true story of a young man’s venture into the Alaskan wilderness – at Otley Courthouse at 7.30pm.
Tomorrow’s walks will include a six-mile trek of Otley Chevin for early-rising bird lovers, starting at 5am, and a 9.30am trip to Grassington for a trail that takes in the area’s limestone and lead mines.
A gentle five-mile circular around Golden Acre Park will be amongst Saturday’s daytime events, before the Festival Frolic – featuring dancing and a finger buffet – is held at Otley Rugby Club from 8pm.
Sunday is the festival’s final day, and will feature two more walks, including a seven-mile jaunt from the Manchester Square maypole at 10am, involving poetry and pubs. Proceedings are brought to an end with the Grand Finale at the Manor pub at 3.30pm, when raffle tickets will be drawn.
Run entirely by volun-teers, this year's festival is once again being sponsored by Chevin Trek.