A day of reminiscing :-) We drove to Settle and wandered around though there isn’t much to look at any more – maybe there never was! We then climbed up onto the moor, over the top and down into Kirkby Malham. I lived in the village in the mid 1960s for a couple of years while my father worked in Skipton. They were a very happy 2 years for me as village life seemed to suit me. I sang in the Church choir, helped with the Brownies and belonged to the Young Farmers and the local youth club. But best of all I had my first pony and used to ride at every available opportunity. It was a very sad day when my father was moved to London and we had to leave a place that I loved so much. We went into the Church and it was like entering a time warp – I felt 12 again, nothing seems to have changed at all.
We drove on up to Malham and walked up to Malham Cove. The valley was formed at the end of the last ice age when the ground was frozen, this meant that meltwater from the melting ice sheet formed a large river flowing over the surface, eroding the valley that we see today. The water from this river flowed over Malham Cove to form a huge waterfall. When the climate warmed around 12,000 years ago the ground thawed and the river in the valley disappeared underground leaving the valley dry as we see it today. As we were standing where the River Aire comes out from the Cove, 2 little boys were looking for the waterfall and were really disappointed when Richard gave them a geology lesson and told them there was no waterfall anymore! Personally I think that all this geology stuff is fine but I like the legend which says that the Cove was formed by Odin's eight-legged flying horse, Sleipnir, when one of his hooves caught on the rocks as he flew overhead!
After a lovely ice cream we drove up onto the moors again to find Malham Tarn. It is 1,237 feet above sea level, making it the highest lake in England. The lake is one of only eight upland alkaline lakes in Europe. It takes approximately 11 weeks for water to leave the lake after it has entered. The primary outflow is a small stream at the southern end of the lake which goes underground after approximately 1,600 feet before emerging downstream of Malham Cove as a source of the River Aire.
We drove back to Mary H via Airton where a few of my friends lived. It was lovely remembering things that I had completely forgotten - we would turn a corner and I would suddenly remember something! Richard seemed to be interested – or was he just humouring me!
We went out for a nice meal at The Tempest at Elslack. The service was excellent but the food was typical pub food.
We had an early start – 9am as we wanted to get to Gordale Scar so we could get a parking space before the roads got busy – in fact we were the first car there! The walk up to the Scar was shorter than I remember but the rocks and waterfalls were as spectacular as ever. Like Malham Cove the Scar was carved as a meltwater channel beneath the ice-sheet. The sides of the gorge overhang to a considerable extent, suggesting that there was once a great cavern, the roof of which has subsequently collapsed.
We had a lovely coffee in Malham and then commenced a long and, at times, torturous journey. We went past the Cove, Tarn and over the moor (1,760 feet above sea level) into Littondale and Arncliffe. Kettlewell was next and then on upwards towards Leyburn. The views from the top of the moor above Kettlewell (about 2,300 feet above sea level) were amazing – to me this is God’s Country :-) Wensleydale was next with the River Ure running through it - we had been on the Ure north of York before it becomes the Ouse. I wondered whether I should buy some Wensleydale cheese to take to Wallace and Grommit when we pass through Wigan in a week or so! We stopped at Aysgarth Falls which were lovely – not stunning like Gordale Scar but nevertheless impressive. The river stretches out along the valley and dramatically drops 30 metres. Apparently the falls are quite spectacular during wet weather, as thousands of gallons of water cascade over the series of broad limestone steps. It has been a very hot day and I couldn’t resist taking my shoes off and paddling along with a couple of spaniels who were having a wonderful time. From Aysgarth we drove back to Kettlewell and down to Grassington and Hebden where we found the gold letter box painted in honour of the gold medal won by Andy Triggs Hodge in the Mens Four.