Club Trip to Malham, 18th – 22nd October 2021


Our 4-night stay in the Southern Yorkshire Dales started on Monday 18th October in Settle where a group of 9 of us met in the Market Place for a walk to stretch our legs.  Jane led a 3-mile walk heading steeply uphill out of the town.  Unfortunately, we were forced back by the weather.  The higher we climbed the heavier the rain and accompanying decrease in visibility.  We did learn from a young farmer, repairing a stone wall that had been forced down by a tree growing alongside it, that a stiff wind rocks the tree roots dislodging the stones.

We met after breakfast on Tuesday for a walk from HF Newfield Hall, led by Rex and Bob up to Malham.  After an uphill walk of about a mile we arrived at Calton, where Oliver Cromwell’s second in command, Lord Lambert, was born in 1619.  From here we started to head towards Airton Village and then on to a pretty village called Kirkby Malham, with an interesting church, as well as pub, for our lunch stop.  The weather started closing in as we began our assault course over many stone stiles.  However, the views and countryside made this worthwhile.  Recent heavy rain meant streams were full and fast flowing.  On entering Malham someone was calling to us from a Methodist church.  Free tea and cake, how could we resist!  One member of our group decided he would prefer ice cream and headed for what he assumed was an ice cream van only to discover it was an ambulance which did not sell ice cream!  A very pleasant half hour was spent here before a dry return along the Pennine Way.

With heavy rain forecast for Wednesday we decided to stay local and not climb too high.  Rejoining the Pennine Way the group followed Tom, enjoying a pleasant, if wet, walk along the river Aire before a gentle climb over open fields, with low cloud limiting views.  Eventually descending into Gargrave, passing over the Leeds and Liverpool canal bridge and a view of a lock, we reached a shelter in the center of the village and the group dispersed.  Some took respite in a café and others decided to seek out the train station looking for warmth, shelter and a hot drink but were disappointed to find none of these.  However, they found the local church open, which provided the desired warmth and shelter – and the chance to join in with the hymn practice.  We regrouped for a soggy but happy trip home and an unexpected burst of sunshine as we neared Newfield Hall.

In the expectation of a bright clear Thursday, we returned to Malham to explore some of the Limestone highlights guided by Di and Bob.  We were not disappointed, enjoying warm bright sunshine and clear views of the area.

Our walk stated at the National Park Centre where we joined the Pennine Way South and from here on to Janet's Fosse, which led us to a spectacular waterfall with a cave behind.  The queen of the fairies, Janet, reputedly lives here.  We then walked on to Gordale Scar with another stunning waterfall set in a horseshoe shaped wall of limestone, thought to have been formed by a collapsed cave during the ice age.  Our next point of interest was the magnificent limestone Malham Cove which stands at 360ft high and was historically a waterfall.  Leaving here and heading towards Malham Tarn, we followed a hefty ancient monastic stone wall built to mark the old boundary between the parishes of Fountains Abbey and Bolton Priory.  A rugged climb brought us to a perfect lunch stop with wide ranging views.  Our walk then continued on towards Malham Tarn which came into view with its magnificent blue colour sparkling in the sun.  Our return route took us back to Malham Cove and the chance to experience walking across the limestone pavement.  We continued downhill via comfortable steps to Malham for liquid sustenance and then our cars.

A perfect end to our walk and our holiday; many thanks to Hilary for organising such a successful trip and to Jane, Rex, Bob, Tom and Di for guiding us along our way.

Written by Pauline Humphries

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