Boxing Day walks are popular to work off the excesses of Christmas Day but as we entertained family visitors then, our bracing walk took place the following day. Setting off from home towards the Yorkshire Dales National Park it was a bright morning but as we approached Gargrave we encountered fog which made driving difficult on the narrow, dry stone walled roads up to the picturesque village of Malham. Malhamdale is located between Skipton and Settle in North Yorkshire and the area is popular with hikers. The National Park Centre lies on the edge of the village and has a pay and display car park but we were fortunate to find a parking place on the road nearby saving us an extortionate £4.50! The centre provides display board information on the area along with a shop selling locally sourced products.
Our plan was to walk to Malham Cove so we followed the road through the village until we came to the small gateway on the right hand side leading to the Cove. This well trodden path forms part of the Pennine Way, a 268 mile national walking trail along the backbone of northern England.
Sadly, the foggy conditions persisted and the usual, spectacular views of the limestone Cove were shrouded in mist but we continued, hoping that the mist would rise improving our visibility. Malham Cove is a huge amphitheatre shaped limestone rock formation created by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers at the end of the Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago. The huge amount of water flowing over the waterfall created the curved, lipped shape because the edge was more heavily eroded than the sides. The vertical height of the cliff is approximately 260 ft high and the top is a large area of limestone pavement.
Due to the fog and boggy conditions underfoot we decided against climbing up the Cove today but we’ll return sometime in better weather when I can take clear photographs of both the Cove and its limestone pavement.
From the above photo, the outline of Malham Cove can just about be made out. It’s a spectacular geological sight and climbing enthusiasts can often be seen attempting to scale the rock face.
Having taken a little exercise we retraced our steps to the village centre where the fog had lifted and called in to the Lister’s Arms, a cosy country pub with attached restaurant. I loved their Christmas ribbon decoration outside – so simple but so inviting.
The bar has a cosy inglenook fireplace and serves wholesome food and Yorkshire Dales beers. After enjoying our bar snacks, we returned to our car and carefully made our way along narrow lanes to the small town of Settle, eight miles away where we had a little look round and did some grocery shopping before returning home.
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