Anyone who says they don’t have time to get out and explore the great outdoors could take a leaf out of Ron Scholes’ book – in fact, they could take any one of his numerous books with them as inspiration! Already with a long list of walking guides to his name, the former headteacher and friend of the great Alfred Wainwright is working on his next book – in his 88th year.
A Pennine Odyssey – Walks and Ways, due to be published in 2018, is based on Wainwright’s idea for a ‘purely Pennine Way’, starting in the Derbyshire Dales and ending in the Tyne Valley and Hadrian’s Wall. Ron got to know Wainwright in the 1970s, at first through writing letters and then when visiting his home in Kendal Green, with their conversations usually centring around long walks.
Ron says: “We talked about the Pennine Way and AW’s Coast to Coast Walk, as well as my completion of the Cambrian Way, over the ‘roof’ of Wales from Cardiff to Conwy, and my aim to trek 1,360 miles from Cape Wrath in north west Scotland to Land’s End, which I completed in 1990.
“I also wanted to create my own coast to coast route from the Lake District to Northumberland, as well as planning a series of circular and linear walks in Cumbria’s Eden Valley. These ideas were enthusiastically received by AW, and many of his observations and suggestions were used to improve the variety and interest of the walks.”
These ideas were to become Ron’s Coast to Coast on the Ravenber Way and Walking in Eden, both published by Sigma Press and now in their third editions – although, sadly, Wainwright didn’t see them in print, passing away in 1991 aged 84. Betty, his wife, wrote the foreword to The Ravenber Way.
Ron, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Chartered Geographer, lives in Staffordshire with wife Jeanette and has been described by author Hunter Davies as ‘the ultimate long distance walker’. He collaborated with fellow Sigma authors David and Heather Pitt on A Pennine Journey and has written several books on walks in the Yorkshire Dales, Cheshire and Scotland since his first book was released in 1985.
Ron became fascinated with the countryside at an early age. At the age of 14 he set off on a solo cycling tour around Wales, staying in youth hostels, and joined Hanliensian Rambling Club in Staffordshire as it restarted its programme following the Second World War. Aged 16, he led a group of young adults from Denmark on a walking tour of the Peak District, and even honeymooned with Jeanette in the Lake District before following it up with a walking tour of the Yorkshire Dales!
Ron says: “Long distance solo walking has always greatly appealed to me, and choosing the area and subsequently planning the route is always part of the excitement before a single step is taken. Often I have been asked if I get lonely – although, just as often, I get asked what I do about my dirty washing!”
To keep up to date with Ron’s progress and find out more about his work, visit www.facebook.com/RonScholesWalking, follow him on Twitter @Sholes1Ron or find out more about his books at www.sigmapress.co.uk.