Last weekend I was in the Yorkshire Dales visiting Malham with Crosby Rambling Club. I joined the ‘A’ party led by Roger and we started our walk from the village of Airton. We followed the Pennine Way towards Malham walking through some lovely flower meadows.
Just before the village we turned right to pick up the track leading to Janet’s Foss.
Foss in the old Scandinavian word for a waterfall or force. According to legend, Janet or Jenner, Queen of the local fairies, lived in a cave behind the waterfall. The cave was formed by the limestone bedrock being dissolved and eroded by the action of water and then re-deposited on mosses growing at the lip of the waterfall. This has resulted in a fragile tufa screen which reaches down to the plunge pool below. After the recent rain the waterfall looked very impressive.
We joined a minor road close to the path leading to Gordale Scar. A refreshment van was parked by the side of the road and the smell of bacon butties was hard to resist but I managed it. We did not follow the main path leading to the waterfall and the rocky scramble but followed a path to the left which climbed steeply and gave us good views overlooking the scar.
We were now in open country as we headed northwest towards Malham Tarn.
The tarn came into view over to our left but we climbed Great Close Hill to get a better view of the tarn in its surroundings.
At 1226 ft, Malham Tarn is the highest limestone lake in the country.
It was the result of an upthrust of slate which is impervious to water and was further sealed by glacial clays from the moraines of the ice age glacier which scooped it out.There is some interesting flora in the vicinity and a found several species of orchid.
We left the tarn and headed south once again following the Pennine Way.
We were following the outflow of the tarn and reached an area known as Water Sinks where the stream disappears underground.
It would appear logical to assume that this is the stream that emerges at the foot of Malham Cove but this is not the case. The stream reappears south of Malham village.
We followed the line of the stream into Dry Valley which led us to the lip of Malham Cove.
The top of the cove is marvellous and is an excellent example of ‘Lime stone Pavement. The rock is fissured and cracked into clints and grikes and goes right to the edge of the 300 ft drop.
The blocks of rock are the ‘clints’ and the deep vertical fissures are known as ‘grikes’
There were lots of people up there, any of them eager to spot the Peregrine Falcons that were nesting on the cliff face.
We now had to descend the steep steps leading to the foot of the cove. We made a short detour to the foot of the cove where we could see the stream emerging from a slit at the base of the rock.
Thousands of years ago water used to pour over the lip of the cove in a giant waterfall that would have been higher than Niagara Falls. But water had not run over the lip in the past 300 years – that was until 6th December last year during Storm Desmond when surface water once again ran over the edge.
At the foot of the cove the RSPB had set up an information board and telescopes so that people could learn more about the Peregrine Falcon.
I did see one of the falcons flying to its nest but it was far too fast for me to attempt a photo.
All that remained now was to stroll back into Malham where we relaxed in the beer garden of the pub and enjoyed a refreshing pint of Lancashire Bomber. At 4.4% ABV it is a full bodied chestnut coloured ale with an inviting malty aroma and warming aftertaste – superb.
Just over 10 miles of excellent walking.