Big Weekend 2020

Info about the OWPG’s annual gathering.

The weekend provides a great opportunity for members to meet friends old and new, to share experiences, learn new things and participate in the running of our Guild. In short, we can – fingers duly crossed – continue the process of re-establishing our participation in a more normal world.

When: The weekend of Friday October 9 to Monday October 12 2020 (inclusive).

Where: Covid restrictions permitting, our base will be at The Field Studies Centre, Malham Tarn, in the Yorkshire Dales.

NEW Information for the 2020 event below, however please be aware we are still watching and waiting to see what COVID-19 restrictions remain by October.

Malham Cove

The centre is superbly positioned overlooking Malham Tarn nature reserve, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales limestone country and close to the dramatic faultline features of Malham Cove and Gordale Scar.

For those wishing to arrive by train, it’s seven miles from Settle station on the celebrated Leeds-Settle-Carlisle route and it may be possible to arrange collection and drop-off there.

The cost:

Accommodation is in twin to seven-bed (same sex) rooms, with some sole occupancy available for a small surcharge. Rates are inclusive of all meals and are expected to be £47 per person per night for three nights, £50 per night for two nights and £60 for one night only.

Dress Code:

There is no dress code

The programme:

Besides the Guild’s annual Awards ceremony and annual dinner on the Saturday evening, our AGM will also take place at 4pm on the Saturday.


(Some activities are provisional at present).

Limestone walk – Guild member, geologist, author and caver John Sutcliffe will lead an all-day walk from the centre, taking in limestone pavement, Malham Cove and the Buck Inn, at Malham village.

Settle & Carlisle railway trip and walk – Guild member Stan Abbott will lead this activity. With fellow Guild member, Colin Speakman, and photographer John Morrison, Stan worked with the Ramblers to create the Settle & Carlisle Way in 1990. He is currently working on a narrative non-fiction book based on a walking journey from Settle to Carlisle, for Saraband. Subject to eventual confirmation of train timetables, the plan is to drive to Ribblehead, catch the train to Garsdale and walk back to Ribblehead, exploring some fine Dales uplands and industrial archaeology from the building of this remarkable railway.

Potholing adventure – Our own Chris Howes has located a local guide who can take a group into a cave system 15 minutes’ drive from the centre. There will be a cost for this activity to cover instructor time and equipment.

Narrative non-fiction – An exploration of how “storytelling about real places and events” fits with outdoor writing and photography. This workshop session will be led by Karen Lloyd, author of The Gathering Tide: A Journey Around The Edgelands of Morecambe Bay. Karen will invite members to join her on a local journey and record their experiences in a workshop setting. Tim Ecott, author of The Land of Maybe: A Faroe Islands Year may also share his experiences in a separate talk.

Social media: Guild member Sabi Phagura will again be offering one-to-one help for members.

Photographic workshop: To be confirmed.

Off-road cycle activity: To be confirmed

Water-based activities: Please note that Malham Tarn is a nature reserve and kayaking etc will not be possible.


No Deposits Yet

The Guild will not be taking deposits from members for this year’s event until such time as we have real clarity on any lasting (or recurrent) implications of COVID-19.

However, we DO need to build a clear picture of likely attendance numbers. As usual the event is open to all members and their guests. Please therefore contact our Big Weekend Organiser Stan Abbott, stating the following.

  1. Name(s) of attendee(s)
  2. Planned nights of stay
  3. Whether you would prefer single occupancy
  4. Whether you intend to arrive by train at Settle (or Giggleswick, if coming from Lancaster direction)