Duke of Edinburgh's Award expeditioners in the Yorkshire Dales. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Duke of Edinburgh's Award expeditioners in the Yorkshire Dales. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

National park officers are inviting youth expedition leaders to a free event in the Yorkshire Dales.

A Walk in the Park is aimed at providing information for those organising Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Scouts or Girlguiding expeditions in the area.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said the workshop will provide everything you need to know to plan your event.

Among those expected to provide information at the gathering next month are a national park ranger; a farmer; member of the Cave Rescue Organisation; a national park conservation officer and an operations officer for the DofE Award.

The event will take place in Clapham and is timed to fit around train services. A pick-up and drop-off service from the village railway station is on offer to leaders attending the event.

A buffet lunch will be available and visitors will be able to meet and mingle with other leaders and supervisors.

The 29 February event follows a successful pilot last year, when 14 attended.

Cat Kilner, Yorkshire Dales learning and engagement officer. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Cat Kilner, Yorkshire Dales learning and engagement officer. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Speaking to grough at that event, Cat Kilner, the national park’s learning and engagement officer, said: “In the Yorkshire Dales we have a huge number of people coming out doing Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Scouting expeditions which is absolutely fantastic and we really love that but there are certain issues that crop up across a big number of those groups.

“We wanted to help educate those groups to avoid those problems both for themselves and for the effect it has on the landscape or the farmers in the Dales.

“Some of the supervisors and assessors have been running expeditions here for years and they know the ins and outs; all the good spots; the bad spots to avoid and they know the history of the national park and they can get so much out of it.

“Some of the other groups who are newer to the area perhaps don’t know as much of the background of the area and I think that doesn’t get fed through to the students taking part so they don’t get as much out of their expeditions as they could.”

Although some of the expeditioners do get into difficulties, overall Ms Kilner says the fact that younger people get to experience the Dales countryside is a positive contribution.

“I think it’s fantastic that we get young people coming into the national park. A lot of people who come to the Dales are retired walkers. That particular group predominates. It’s fantastic to see the diversity coming through. Through the DofE we also get a lot of mixed racial groups. I thinks that’s good for everybody to see that diversity.

“Generally, there aren’t many problems. Most of the DofE groups are well taught; they can do their navigation. I think the only issues we have are where we get hotspots. There are a couple of places in the Dales where we get a huge number of expeditions coming through and they’re usually the awkward ones to navigate around.

“So one thing we’d perhaps like people to do when they’re planning their routes is to think of a bit wider area and spread it out through the Dales a bit more.

“In the South of the park we get an awful lot around Malham and Malham Moor and in the North of the park we get large numbers in Wensleydale and Hawes.”

Ms Kilner is keen to highlight the attractions of England’s second-largest national park. She said: “The Yorkshire Dales are stunning. We have an incredibly good rights-of-way network; we have a really good team of rangers. The rights of way are generally well signposted and should be relatively easy to find their way around. We have a reasonable number of campsites and it’s generally accessible for a group walking day to day.”

The event will run from 10.30am to 4pm on Saturday 29 February in Clapham.

Any leaders interested in attending can contact Cat Kilner by email or on 01756 751623.

Overnight accommodation at low rates is also available at the Ingleborough Hall outdoor centre in Clapham.

  • Bob Smith is a DofE supervisor and assessor.

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