Route. Malham - Cove Road - Malham Cove - Waterlowes - Comb Hill - Water Sinks - Tarn Foot - Malham Tarn - Street Gate - New Close - New Close Knotts - Gordale Bridge - Gordale Scar - Gordale Bridge - Janet's Foss - Mantley Field - Mires Barn - Malham.
Notes. Sounds like a music festival, I read it somewhere but it's true, Malham really does rock. Once a sleepy Dales village now over run with tourists, walkers making up the majority. When you leave the confines of the village the reason is obvious, limestone cliffs, extinct waterfalls plunging into dry river beds, scars and limestone pavements a mosaic of clints and grykes, tumbling streams, a tarn an enigma in limestone country, ancient settlements and field systems, yes Malham really does rock., come tag along lets go and rock around Malham.
After parking the car I wandered up Cove Road following a permissive path along the edge of Malham Beck for a short while, and a few minutes after that I was striding out across sheep pastures littered with erratic boulders the massive arch of Mallham Cove acting like a magnet. Once under the cliffs of the cove I ascended to enjoy stunning views over Malhamdale, the limestone pavements up there are something special, just mind where you step.
Once I'd had my fill, that usually means people are turning up, I bid farewell to Malham Cove, a good path guided me between limestone cliffs along the bed of a dry river, Waterlowes once flowed over the lip of Malham Cove, a waterfall to rival Niagara. Dry today and probably has been since the ice retreated 12.000 years ago, the path guided me up another dry waterfall at Comb Hill, when the valley opened out I found myself at Malham Tarn.
Malham Tarn a glacial lake, an enigma in limestone country as water usually goes to ground, overlooking the tarn, nestled in the shelter of Highfolds Scar Malham Tarn House once a hunting lodge now a Field Study Centre. I followed the shore line before looping east to join the access lane to Malham Tarn House, this deposited me at Street Gate next to which a stile allows access to New Close, a large field littered with erratic boulders and limestone scars, the odd tumulus and a good path leading through the chaos.
This lovely green trod guided me to a path junction, left descends to Gordale Scar terminating in a down scramble through a water filled ravine, I didn't fancy that so turned right. This stretch of path clung to the edge of New Close Knotts gifting me with staggering views into Gordale and on to Malhamdale, dizzy views accompanied my every step, too soon I found myself descending to Gordale Bridge.
At Gordale Bridge a well used path ushered me into Gordale Scar, a place I've been many times, today it was busy, I took some snaps before leaving the way I came. Back at Gordale Bridge a refreshment van provided a brew and a bacon butty, very tasty but all the butty did was make me thirsty. I wandered on to Janet's Foss a low but spectacular waterfall and pool, once used as a sheep dip but far more important home to Janet Queen of the Fairys, she resides in a cave behind the cascade.
From the cool of the waterfall I strolled through woodland, a good path ushered me down a boggy valley, passed a couple of field barns a quintessential part of the dales landscape. A quaint clapper bridge next to Malham Smithy then allowed me to ford Malham Beck, almost directly across the road The Buck Inn, time to quench that thirst.
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Field systems above Malham, ancient and modern.
Standing marveling at Malham Cove, a huge curving amphitheater with a vertical face over 260ft high.
The impressive cliffs draw the eye but there's more to come....
....clints and grykes, the limestone pavements above Malham Cove, some of the best examples in the Dales.
From the limestone scenery above Malham Cove stunning views over Malhamdale.
The riven cliffs and shattered rock that spilled from them, Waterlowes once and raging river.
Passing below Comb Hill marveling at the dramatic rock scenery at the head of Waterlowes.
Looking down on the drama of Waterlowes.
I've escaped the confines of dry river valleys, stepping into this unfolding panorama, taking centre stage Great Close Hill.
Fountains Fell seen over the dark waters of Malham Tarn.
Clinging to the coat tails of Highfoldes Scar, Malham Tarn House.
The extraordinary landscape of New Close.
Limestone scenery above Gordale Scar.
The timeless quality of the landscape above Gordale, a short step from the dawn of time.
Taking in dizzy views from New Close Knotts.
New Close Knotts where pastures of New Close spill into Gordale.
Above the valley of Gordale looking to the shadowed cliffs and petrified rock of Gordale Scar.
Below my feet the unfolding drama of Gordale Scar, a spectacular gorge cut into the hillside, a product of the the last ice age.
Ancient and modern field systems on the approach to Gordale Bridge.
The dramatic rock architecture of Gordale Scar.
I've been there, New Close Knotts.
Janet's Foss home to Janet Queen of the Fairys.
Near Mires Barn looking to the mouth of Gordale, the dark path up the hillside to the left was my route to the valley.
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