Perhaps one of the most extraordinary days we’ve spent so far in England was in Malham, North Yorkshire. We hired a local taxi from our home base of Settle to drive us up the hill to Malham Village as the bus service from Settle to Malham ends for the season in early October. We had such a lovely taxi driver who was friendly and eager to share his advice and experiences. It was obvious that he loved his beautiful corner of Yorkshire (who wouldn’t?). He paused for us at various moments during the (at times harrowing) drive through the country lanes in order for us to snap photos of the breathtaking scenery.
Malham is one of the most beloved places in Yorkshire Dales National Park for walking. There is an abundance of unique and beautiful scenery in the area, including Malham Tarn (what we might call a mountain lake), Malham Cove (a dramatic formation of limestone that was once a waterfall cliff), and Janet’s Foss. There is a National Park information center and ranger station there, but of course, it has very spare hours in the off-season, so was not open when we arrived.
Our 3-mile walk started at the far end of the village with a climb up a winding country road flanked by dry-stacked stone walls. We were following instructions for the route from a small local guidebook we found in our cottage. It was the kind of route that one doesn’t need a map for, as there are landmarks along the way to mark the turns. A ruined building in a farmer’s field, a signpost marking the direction to a certain village, a kissing gate, a bridge over a stream. We never got lost or wandered off the route. It was delightful.
We turned off the road and took a footpath into the woods and down toward a small river. There, just a short way down was an absolutely magical little spot with mossy rocks and a beautiful water fall — Janet’s Foss.
There were 9 kissing gates on our route. I presume that they are designed to open only so that a person can pass through and the livestock cannot.
We arranged to meet our taxi driver in front of the Buck Inn, so we went inside and had a lovely cream tea and hot chocolate while we waited for our ride home.
We said goodbye to Malham and enjoyed our ride back to Settle. Once again, we ran into several highland cattle who thought they owned the road. We also saw the beginning of a spectacular sunset, and arrived home with two sleeping 3-year-olds. The kids did such a great job on our long walk, but it really pooped-them out! Flora walked the entire thing on her own, and Charlie nearly did, riding on my back for the last half mile or so. We were very proud of them.