March 16, 2012

0 Malham Cove: A Yorkshire Dales Must-See

 Whenever I hear of a place or festival that sounds interesting I jot down the name.  This has led to notes in my work bag, notes in coat pockets, notes on my dashboard, a dry erase board near our house phone, and a dedicated sticky note on my desktop.  
Malham Cove has been on that sticky for a while.

We both had the day off and wanted to do something.  We narrowed it down to three ideas, but for some reason I was stuck on Malham Cove for today.  It's only 40 minutes away, so we loaded up the dogs and headed out.  Apparently in the summer it's nearly impossible to park in the village and the footpaths are packed with ramblers, so while we did see a fair number of other people it wasn't as crowded as I'd been worried about (yay not-quite-perfect weekdays!).  

 The National Park Centre was closed for the winter- although they were still happy to have us pay to park!- so I got a footpath map from a local tea shop.  We headed out on a roughly 3-4 mile loop through Janet's Foss and over Malham Cove.

 The path to Janet's Foss looked like a fairy glen.

 Janet's Foss.  Local folklore tells of a fairy queen, Janet, who is said to live in a limestone cave behind this waterfall.  "Foss" is a Norse word for "waterfall."

 After playing in the Foss pool with several other dogs, we headed up the path to the Cove.

 There were signs everywhere declaring that this is "sheep country."  Uhhh... isn't all of Northern England sheep country?!?!

 Malham Cove, from the top.  Made of limestone and carved out after the last ice age, the cliff hides a series of large limestone caves and underwater tunnels that cave divers have enjoyed exploring.  If you look to the left of the image you can faintly see the path down- 400 irregular stone slab steps.  

 The path back to the village of Malham from the top of the cliff.

 My handsome guys!

 We walked over and across the cliff.

This ladder-stile also had an open gate further down for Max to go through- which was good, since we'd had some trouble with an earlier ladder-stile.  The stile was tall enough that I had to fully pick him up to get him over, and when I had his front legs almost to the top he suddenly sat down on my leg!  With his 75 lbs sitting on my knee, the boost suddenly became twice as hard- both from his position and because I was laughing so hard!  Paul says Max's face was completely content- like he could have stayed there forever.  

 Sloan had a little bit of trouble with the deep crags, but she stuck by Paul the whole way across.

 Max, on the other hand, quit. In his defense, prior to this shot he had two falls, one of which sent three of his legs through the cracks.  I had to pick him up and push and shove guide him up to the green area, where we walked across the grassy top.  Between the stile boosting and this, I got my Max-workout today!

 I ditched Paul and the dogs in a grassy patch and went back out on the rocks to take pictures.  It really is a fascinating landform.

 Once we got to the bottom of the 400 steps the path was easy going alongside this beck (creek), which both dogs enjoyed cooling off in.

 The cliff face.

I thought this sign was great- 
"Poo bags.  You bring the poo in your dog; please take it home in the bag.  Thank you."

Now we're all quite tired back at home- but it was a great day out in the Yorkshire Dales!

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