A favourite place...

On a recent trip I went to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. I first visited here when I was 10 years old, on a week-long school trip, and have been back several times to enjoy its ruggedness and beauty.

Malham Cove

Malham Cove

The famous Malham Cove was formed by a waterfall that 12,000 years ago carried glacial melt water over limestone rocks creating the 260 feet (80m) drop and 1,000 feet wide (300m) curved feature. There is no longer a waterfall here, although in December 2015 water did again flow over the Cove for a while as a result of Storm Desmond that battered the area. Intriguingly, water flows from the bottom of the cove: Malham Beck appears from nowhere at the base. It was thought that this was coming from Malham Tarn, a glacial lake 2.5 miles to the north, because, just south of the lake and across the road, the stream of water from the lake disappears into the ground. But tests have shown the two are not connected.

Goredale Scar is an imposing, cathedral-like limestone ravine about a mile from Malham. After walking through woodland and past Janet's Foss, a small waterfall, the valley leading to the Scar gives a hint of the scene to come.

The valley leading to Goredale Scar 

The valley leading to Goredale Scar 

The circular route of Malham - Goredale Scar - Malham Tarn - Malham Cove - Malham is a lovely walk, but Goredale Scar requires a little bit of climbing close to the waterfall. it's not difficult - although as a 10 year old it was quite daunting! - but can feel quite intimidating if you've not got a head for heights (like me!). There's a certain majestic quality to the Scar. It seems to envelope you as you stand there, felling very small. But once the rocks are climbed, and you scramble up the scree to the top of the Scar, the rest of the walk to the Tarn and the Cove is typical Yorkshire Dales.

Goredale Scar

Goredale Scar

The walk to the Tarn is pretty flat, and the lake provides a very serene view and time for a nice little rest before carrying on.

Malham Tarn

Malham Tarn

And then it's onwards - mostly downhill through valleys and fields to the rim of the Cove, where there is a limestone pavement over which once flowed the mighty waterfall.

The limestone pavement at the top of Malham Cove

The limestone pavement at the top of Malham Cove

And then its down the rather steep, sometimes slippery and seemingly never-ending steps to the bottom of the Cove, to enjoy the ripple of the water as it flows from the base of the limestone wall before returning to the Malham village to enjoy refreshment and rest.

Malham Cove, close up

Malham Cove, close up

If you like walking that requires that bit extra, this walk is for you. It's not easy, but neither is it hard, with Goredale Scar being the most challenging part. Over the years the area has become increasingly popular, so choose the time you visit carefully. But, at any time of the year, it's worth it.