We decided yesterday to head out of town. At the beginning of the year J had booked the day off as holiday, and even though it was bad luck that he was unwell he said he still felt like getting out. He declared a need for fresh air, gentle exercise and a good dose of Scenery. He had obviously been pondering on it as he knew exactly where he wanted to go, and who was I to argue? Anywhere in the Dales is fine by me. Take me where you will.
We drove out to a beautiful village called Malham. In summertime, this quiet little village gets pretty mobbed by visitors, and it can get quite busy along this sweet main street when the sun shines and the holiday season is in full swing. But in the depths of a wintry week, all was tranquil and peaceful yesterday. In fact, I think Winter is my favourite time of year to be here, I remember walking here before at this time of year.
We parked the car in the village and walked the half mile or so up the road to the start of this track which leads to The Cove. As you can see this is a very toddler/pushchair friendly stroll and although we took the pushchair with us, Little B managed to walk the whole way there and back.
The track starts out quite high above the beck, but soon descends down to water level.
The beck here is newly surfaced, by that I mean it literally springs out of the hillside not far from this point. The water is remarkably clear and pristine looking, makes you want to kind of stick your head in it and drink till you're full.
We're following the little beck towards Malham Cove, there it is look. Magnificent, isn't it? It's one huge, great, big, incredible, ancient Marvel of Nature.
The whole landscape around The Cove is slightly strange, sort of barren but lush at the same time.
The mossy covered rocks and walls looks incredibly vibrant in the dim light of February, especially contrasting with the cool grey of the limestone all around.
We've reached the end of the Toddler-friendly path, and beyond this gate it becomes very rocky and wet. You kind of start walking in river beyond the gate. So I left my boys at this point and ventured in alone. I wanted to get a little closer to The Cove itself (or "The Waaaallllllll" as Little B called it). A very big Wall, well yes, I suppose it is just that.
I've got walking boots on, so I'm kind of half paddling and half rock-hopping my way through the shallow beck.
WoW. It really is the most incredible, incredible place to stand and stare. You look up. You look down. You look all around. And all you see is ancient limestone. You are towered over by it, surrounded by it. Do you see the man in the above picture? See how weeny he looks?
Standing near The Cove makes me feel like a little Dot. But I also feel very energised, it really is breathtaking.
Wow. I turn around and head back to the gate, Little B looking all anxious, then a big beaming smile when he sees me. He's tells me in his sweet way that he's been worrying about me in case I slipped on the rocks. Bless.
We walk slowly back along the track, then back down the lane to the village.
We pass picturesque houses and a campsite and a cafe and a farm. Little B is enchanted by the sight of these cows, he makes lots of talk and chatter to them. He can't seem to say Mooo, so he says "Hi" instead.
Ahhh such mossy delight in Malham! Moss seems to be everywhere, creeping beautifully over the landscape, adding green to the grey.
I really like Malham, the village has a wonderful, sleepy, quiet, contented feel to it. You feel as if time is standing still a little here. It feels ancient. I always come away from Malham feeling like I must return again very, very soon. Springtime I think would be good.
Edit to add :: ooooooo yes, I had forgotten that the BBC is currently running a series called "The Great British Countryside" which featured Yorkshire in episode two.....at the moment there is an iPlayer clip where they show you Malham Cove, both from the bottom where I was, and at the top on the amazing limestone pavement where they filmed a Harry Potter scene.
The link to the BBC iPlayer clip is HERE, available until 15th March ( I hope the link works!)