PEOPLE travelled across the Atlantic to take part in this year's ride2stride festival.

The week-long event is a celebration of the landscape and culture along the Settle-Carlisle railway and includes walks, talks and music.

Organiser Chris Grogan said: "It was fantastic and everyone had a great time. We are still waiting for final figures, but we probably welcomed more than 700 people."

Among them was a woman from Canada, whose 50th birthday present was a trip to the ride2stride festival, two parties from America and visitors from Germany and the Netherlands.

"It is amazing how far people will travel," said Chris.

She added that initial feedback had been positive, with many festival-goers praising the friendliness of the people and the knowledge of the walk leaders.

The festival had enjoyed mixed weather - from warm sunshine to high winds and torrential rain.

"We don't charge for the walks and there is no advanced booking. That means people don't feel obliged to come along if the weather is filthy. They come because they want to."

She said the highlights included a walk up Penyghent in glorious sunshine on Bank Holiday Monday, which was led by Jack Wood, of the Friends of DalesRail, assisted by colleagues Jon Williams and Diane Taylor.

"It was a beautiful day," added Chris.

Another of her highlights was a six-mile conservation walk, led by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, which took in Long Preston's Mearbeck Farm and Cleatop Park Wood, with views over the wetlands.

"We saw deers and treecreepers - it was most entertaining and informative," said Chris. "People just loved it.

"That's the great thing about the festival: there is something for everyone, from 17-mile walks over the Three Peaks to gentle six to eight mile walks, where you stop to look at points of interest."

The festival also features live music at local pubs along the railway.

"Many musicians come from away and stay in accommodation in the area for the week. Others travel around in their motorhomes going from pub to pub. They do a great job, bringing people together at the end of the day. It puts a fullstop to the day," said Chris.

The organisers will get together in about a month's time to review the festival and decide whether to run another next year.

"I can't see any reason why we would not," said Chris.

Pictures by John Wood