Malham, Coves, Caves and Waterfalls.

Start. Malham.

Route. Malham - Mires Barn - New Laithe - Janet's Foss Wood - Janet's Foss - Gordale Lane - Gordale Bridge - Gordale Scar - Gordale Bridge - New Close Knotts - New Close - Malham Tarn - Water Sinks - Waterlowes - Malham Cove - Malham.

Notes. The weather men forecast snow for the Pennine's today, the Lakes tomorrow, so it was to the Pennine's I headed, to be more precise the Dales village of Malham, overrun by tourists in summer not quite so busy in winter. Iron Age man settled in Malhamdale around 700 years BC, signs of his occupation can still be found everywhere, field systems and boundary walls, a hundred years ago it was mills and mining, today tourism and farming, with classic limestone scenery like Malham Cove and Gordale Scar it's easy to see why so many people visit this small corner of the Yorkshire Dales.

Malham greeted me with grey skies supported by a biting cold wind, the odd snow flurry blowing across Malhamdale, as my day panned out that was to be about all the snow I got. My day started at the Malham Smithy, here a Clapper Bridge spans Gordale Beck, I cross to follow the footpath to Janet's Foss passing Mires Barn, New Laithe and Mantley Field Laithe before entering Janet's Foss Wood, I'm soon at the waterfall. I continued to reach Gordale Bridge before crossing the campsite to enter the confines of Gordale Scar, with it's shear cliffs on two sides the only way forward was up the waterfall, I've climbed it several times usually in summer, today it was slimy and slippery, after several attempts I beat a retreat to hunt for another route. Back to Gordale Bridge to enter the fields on a path leading to Malham Cove, after crossing the first field a path on the right lead up steep ground to the summit of New Close Knotts, take a walk to the edge of the plateau the views to Gordale Scar take some beating, I continue north on excellent paths to reach the largest upland lake in England, Malham Tarn 1,240 ft above sea level. From here I cross Tarn Foot before passing Water Sinks to enter a dry valley, this once raging watercourse carries me under the cliffs of Dean Moor, Ing Scar and Raven Scar, descending long dead waterfalls to eventually reach the big one, Malham Cove, 192 ft high, 326 yards wide this is what the tourists come to see, it's certainly impressive. My route took me west across the limestone pavement above the cove to descend a good path to the valley floor, a short stroll through field and I found myself on the tarmac of Cove Road with only a five minute walk back to the car.

view route map.


Malham Smithy the start of today's adventure.

Janet's Foss, the cave behind the fall is believed to be the home of Jannet Queen of the Fairies.

You may not believe in fairies but the plunge pool was definately used as a natural sheep dip, as were many in the Dales.

About to enter Gordale Scar.

In the confines of Gordale Scar.

My route was supposed to be straight up the choke stone, the one that looks a bit like a skull.

One the edge of New Close Knotts with spectacular views into Gordale.

Limestone scenery passed on the way to Malham Tarn.

Erratic boulder on the scars of New Close.

Malham Tarn House as seen over Malham Tarn.

Malham Tarn looking west. It was Malham Tarn and Cove that inspired Charles Kingsley to put pen to paper and write the classic children's novel The Water Babies.

Water Sinks, this is where the river that once flowed over the lip of Malham Cove goes to ground, allowing walkers to descend a wonderful dry valley.

Descending between limestone cliffs following the route of this long dead river.

Spectacular views over the lip of a dry waterfall.

Looking to the lip of a long dead waterfall, but the icing on the cake is a short stroll along this dry valley.

The unique pattern of clints and grikes that make up the limestone pavements above Malham Cove.

Magical views from the limestone pavement above Malham Cove.

Across Malham Cove.

The fearsome face of Malham Cove.

Malham Beck and Cove.

A final view back to the 192 ft high Malham Cove.

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