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The Highland Connection - A Blog for 2020

Interesting Walks and Topics 2020

Hopefully, in the near future, I will update this page, interesting topics, and a selection of walks covering the West Highlands of Scotland, Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and local ones.

This second interesting walk is based in a small Yorkshire Dales village called Malham. It has great walks and interesting geological features, and the villages has all the facilities for its size. Be advised it can get very busy on weekends, bank holidays, and school holidays, and the roads into it are narrow in places, so drive with care.


Malham, in the Yorkshire Dales


Malham, is in the Yorkshire Dales. It  is a very popular area for walks, with its geological features such as the Cove, Limestone Pavements and Gordale Scar.

This suggested walks originates from the village, where there is a large car park - but it can be very busy over the weekend, school holidays or bank holidays.

The walk is a circular one, from the village to Gordale Scar, then onto Malham Tarn, and back to the village via Malham Cove. You can do this same route in reverse.

Most visitors head up through the village to the more direct route to visit Malham Cove.

However, this circular route starts by crossing over the village stream, and following the footpath heading south east out of the village. After about half a mile you will need to do a left turn following a good footpath towards the Janets Foss waterfall - which from memory is signposted for the waterfall, and Gordale Scar. 

The path basically follows the stream called Gordale Beck up to the waterfall called Janets Foss.

From here the path takes you onto a country road just by Gordale Bridge. There is usually a catering van parked here, where I had a well filled bacon butty and hot, fresh tea, last time,

At this point you can see the opening of Gordale Scar. Follow the road for a short bit, before taking a clearly signposted path across a grassy meadow, which leads into the deep sides of the Scar. This is a great walk up to the waterfall at the head of the Scar. 

Be advised, that at this point the official footpath actually goes up the waterfall, which you would have to scramble up. It does not look easy, and would be rather wet if there is a lot of water in the stream, as you have to cross the stream on rocks. If you manage the waterfall climb, the footpath then takes you up approx 500 feet, via a steep rough stoney path, onto the top of the Scar and moor. 

Here, at a signpost, and stone wall style, the path continues along more gentle grassy moorland towards Malham Tarn.

Brave walkers can attempt the waterfall route, but there is an alternative route. You return to Gordale Bridge by the way you came, and here follow the sign post and path for Malham Cove - you cannot miss this. 

After following the path across fields for about 200 yards, you cannot help but notice a big steep hill on the right, which is the left hand side of Gordale Scar, which you were in. You will need to climb this steep hill, which is not an official path, but you can see where other people have walked up it. This route takes you up 500 feet to reach the moor top. It’s a steep ascent!

Once on the moor top, follow the faint path which takes you parallel to the Scar, keeping the broken stone wall on the right, as it’s a steep drop. If the weather is really poor, and your navigation is not good, avoid this alternative route. We took this route one winter with snow and low cloud, and had to be very careful.

The unofficial trodden path is quite obvious, over grass, and after about half a mile you reach, and join the official footpath up from the waterfall, where you will find a sign post  for Malham Cove, by a style over the stone wall.

From this point it is a nice couple of miles stroll towards Malham Tarn along the official grassy moorland path.

You know when you are near the Tarn, when you reach an intersection of four tracks and road at a point called Street Gate. Follow the small tarmac road in a westerly direction - there are signposts at Street Gate, pointing you in the direction of Malham Tarn, which you can see in the distance on a clear day.

Follow the tarmac road until you come to a small car park on the right, which is for visitors to use and walk to the Tarn, which is about 200 yards beyond the car park - again clearly signposted. You will see well trodden paths other walkers have used. 

Enjoy the Tarn, and its peaceful environment.

For the return journey, head back to the car park and walk down the road a short bit, after crossing the bridge over the outlet stream from the Tarn, on your left and you will see a clearly signposted and gated path to take you to Malham Cover, and the village. Take the direction of the Pennine Way from the sign post.

The path takes you alongside the stream for a short while before it literally disappears underground through a rocky surface, these are called “water sinks”. Not sure where it comes out again though; and I understand its not the same stream that comes out of Malham Cove.

At this point the path follows a stone wall on your left, which becomes a mix of rocky and grassed surfaces, continuing on through a narrow small valley. See the photographs to get an idea.

Watch your step as the rocky footpath can be slippy if wet, or icy, as it was when we walked the route when snow was on the ground!

You eventually reach a high point where the path comes to an outcrop by Comb Hill. Here you have a great view of the valley of the Ings Scar and the Watlowes rocky features. Take a break, enjoy the view, before you descend into it.

Continue along the same path a short distance until you come to steep rocky steps that lead down into the valley, which you need to take. Be careful as these are uneven, and could be slippy if wet or icy. 

Your route then continues along the grassy and stone path, through the valley, until you come out into a high open area, with a great views from the Limestone Pavement above Malham Cove itself.

Explore the Limestone Pavement, but be careful if they are slippy. 

Whilst on the top of the Cove, you will see that there is a well trodden path coming in from the left distance, which is the route from Gordale Bridge mentioned earlier.

You will need to cross over the pavement towards the right hand corner, to reach a path and steps that take you down into the Cove. If you do not fancy crossing the pavement, you can circumvent it by heading sharp right over small a grassy hill, which is at the back of the limestone pavement, and then head for the path and steep steps down into the cove.

Once you have gone down the steps, you can take a path up to the cove rock face. Malham Cove is very impressive, with a stream coming out from under the sheer rock face of the cove. 

From Malham Cove there is a proper footpath that takes you back into the village of Malham, which ends this circular walk.

In the village there are a couple of pubs, a bistro, toilets, visitor centre, cafe, shop. But be advised the pubs are normally very busy for meals, so you might need to book before heading out. The pubs and Bistro also provide accommodation.

This is always a great repeat walk, and we have done it several times over the last couple of years, once in winter, where we had poor visibility and deep snow, once during a very sunny day in February, and during the spring and summer. There are lots of over different walks in the area, so plenty of choice. 

Arrive early to get a parking spot in the village carp park, it’s big, but can be very busy during school, bank holidays or weekends. On a couple of occasion we have parked by Malham Tarn - less busy; and started the circular walk from there. 

Link to Malham here.