COUNTRYSIDE campaigner Colin Speakman will tell the story of the Dales Way when he takes the stage at Otley Courthouse.

Mr Walkman and the late Tom Wilcock, along with others from the West Riding Ramblers’ Association, helped create the 81-mile route 50 years ago.

Running from Ilkley (with links from Otley) to Windermere, and passing through the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, the trail has become a favourite long-distance option for walkers.

The route was first announced in 1968 while the first recorded crossing was by a group of Bradford Grammar School Venture Scouts the following year.

Mr Speakman, who is a walker himself as well as a poet, will talk about the origins of the Dales Way and describe some of its highlights on Friday, December 6.

A Courthouse spokesperson said: “Colin will tell the fascinating story behind the ‘people’s path’, and the continuing success and international appeal of what is now one of Britain’s most popular long-distance walks.

“He will also offer a brief impression of the many delights to be enjoyed by walkers along the 81 mile, mainly riverside route.

“The Dales Way leads directly from the towns and cities of West Yorkshire, along Wharfedale to the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and on, through Dentdale and Lune valley to the Lake District.”

Colin Speakman: 50 Years of the Dales Way takes place at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £10 or £8 for concessions.

Folk music fans, meanwhile, can look forward to seeing Jackie Oates performing live at the Courthouse on Saturday, December 7.

Jackie’s name has become synonymous with the reinvigoration of the English folk scene.

A respected fiddler and singer, she is known for beguiling audiences with her blend of tradition and reinvention.

She has also won several BBC Folk Awards during a 10-year recording career that began as a member of the nascent Unthanks, and has continued with six acclaimed solo albums.

And she has collaborated with a number of artists including Alasdair Roberts, Belinda O’Hooley and her brother, Jim Moray, on material that’s ranged from traditional ballads to eerie lullabies and rich contemporary songs.

Her Otley concert - Jackie Oates: Christmas Show - starts at 8pm and tickets cost £12. To book a place visit, call (01943) 467466 or pop into the venue on Courthouse Street, Otley.