An insider's view: Pam Hickin, Yorkshire Dales Guides
Can you tell us a little about your job and how you came to be doing it?
I started caving, canoeing and walking when at teacher training college near Oxford. I then went into full time youth & community work for a few years before going off travelling for 20 months. I came back into youth work in this area over 30 years ago and this involved me in introducing many young people and adults to outdoor activities and adventures. I have always worked with Dave at Yorkshire Dales Guides in my spare time and then I took voluntary redundancy so I could do what I love best. I manage our office and most of the admin but I also teach navigation skills, take guided walks and run challenge and team building events. Dave is the caver and we also offer climbing too
What aspect of your job and the place where you work makes you feel happiest?
Being outdoors for lots of the time in any weather and introducing people to the skills that will let them carry on exploring this this amazing area for outdoor activities.
What do you think visitors gain from time spent with your company, Yorkshire Dales Guides?
We love our area and know it well, we love what we do and we are all active walkers, cavers and climbers so know what we are talking about. With 24 years of experience under our belts we are able to be flexible and offer safe activities for people’s adventurous side. We are also quite happy to take things a bit slower if people want to have time to enjoy the views.
If some one is feeling a little down and perhaps in need of a boost, where in the Yorkshire Dales do you suggest they should visit?
I like going up to High Birkwith on a clear day where my friends farm. There are lots of routes around there including the new Pennine Bridleway. You can see all Three Peaks from there as well as the Ribblehead Viaduct.
If a visitor was coming here for two days what would you recommend they should try to do? Any particular places to eat or drink you'd like to recommend?
I love Clapham Village as it is so pretty. You can wander around the village, go up the Nature Trail and visit Ingleborough Show Cave. If you feel like a bigger challenge there are routes up to the Norber Erractics or you can even climb Ingleborough. Twice a year there is a winch down Gaping Gill too. Clapham Bunk, Café and Bar is great for a snack or early drink. The New Inn, Traddock or Game Cock nearby in Austwick are nice places for meals too
Is there somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales that you feel sudden swooping joy?
I love the first calls of the Curlew I hear each year as for me that is a sound of Spring coming. That’s alongside the Oystercatchers, Lapwings, newly born lambs and flowers pushing through.
Is there a happy detail in everyday life that many of us miss?
Time to take in your surroundings and appreciate them. There is so much to see if you just slow down and look around you.
Where's your favourite place to just sit and look?
On the road above Langcliffe looking up the Ribble valley. You can see all Three Peaks and so much more.
Is there a local person who you think embodies the Yorkshire Dales spirit?
Dave Gallivan who I work with. He is a real character. A Yorkshireman born and bred and has been caving since he was about 14. It has taken him to many countries and all over the UK. He has, along with his friends, been responsible for discovering many new caves in the Dales as well as abroad. He is still passionate about caving and introducing the activity to young people in particular. His explorations means he has plenty of stories to tell.
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