Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Best Foot Forward; Sometimes the Only Way to See the Sights Is on Foot. GEMMA JALEEL Takes to the Fells for a Walking Weekend in Yorkshire

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Best Foot Forward; Sometimes the Only Way to See the Sights Is on Foot. GEMMA JALEEL Takes to the Fells for a Walking Weekend in Yorkshire

Article excerpt

IT is one of the best-kept secrets in rambling circles. For one weekend only, my husband Mike and I would travel to the Yorkshire Dales to experience the work of an historic organisation.

Thomas Arthur Leonard was the mastermind behind one of the biggest outdoor movements in Britain. He established the Holiday Fellowship 100 years ago in 1913.

He was living in Colne, Lancashire in the 1890s when he decided he wanted to offer working class folk an alternative to the usual destinations of Blackpool, Morecambe or the more prosperous Isle of Man.

During the 'wakes week', the mills in Lancashire closed for maintenance, and the mill workers would take a holiday.

Leonard felt the workers would benefit from the fresh air, exercise and companionship a walking holiday would offer, so in 1891 he formed a rambling club and took 30 people on a four-night break to Ambleside in the Lake District - this paved the way for the Holiday Fellowship.

Leonard also played an instrumental role in setting up the Youth Hostel Association, the Ramblers Association and the National Trust.

We were invited to celebrate HF Holidays' centenary and for our trip, Mike and I travelled to the grand 19th century Newfield Hall in Malhamdale. Just a few minutes from Malham's famous cove, the country house has magnificent views of the Yorkshire Dales.

Newfield Hall, The hall offers 44 en-suite bedrooms in the main building and adjoining coach house, which is where we stayed.

Our room, although quite basic, was warm and inviting, and to those used to camping out every night on a walking vacation, this was luxury.

That first night, we sat back in the hall's dining room and enjoyed a variety of locally produced canapes including the finest unpasteurised farmhouse cheeses courtesy of Andy and Kathy of The Courtyard Dairy.

We also tried some Yorkshire chorizo provided by Chris Wildman of Paganum, followed by fresh meat and fish sourced locally and to-die-for desserts.

Next morning, Mike and I were ready to hit the hills - and what a hike it was!

Malhamdale When we weren't being battered by torrential downpours, we were being hammered by sleet and snow from all directions. …

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