Day 1: A Malham Cove Walk, A Fairy, Harry Potter, Star Wars

Post 180: 2 September 2017, A Walk to Janet’s Foss, Gordale Scar and Malham Cove.

My walking friend, Victoria from Germany and myself left York at about 8.00am heading for what I regard as one of iconic geological features of Yorkshire – Malham Cove. It was a bright sunny day.

Arriving at Malham at just before 10.00am, we soon started walking and took my first photograph of the 8 day adventure at 10.17am. It was some Duke of Edinburgh girls practising their climbing skills.


The walk through woodland to Janet’s Foss in dappled sunlight was very pleasant. It promised a good day.



We passed a log with many coins in it, which are meant to bring luck if you make a wish to Jennet the queen of fairies.   


Janet’s Foss was surrounded by adults and children and it was difficult to get a photograph with no one in it, despite waiting for sometime. In particular, an adult in a Star Wars shirt would keep getting in the way. I was wishing someone would beam him up. Harry Potter comes to these parts and I am sure would have sorted him out. Victoria was a great fan. She was aged 28 and one of the ‘Harry Potter generation‘. Anywhere associated with Harry Potter gets invaded by fans. Unbelievable. I am not a great fiction reader much preferring reading non-fiction and real adventures (such as climbing Everest).

Now it is not for me to say, but I did wonder whether Star Wars fans are not really au fait with the customs and norms of the countryside, the main one being that other people want to photograph waterfalls and such like without hoards of people in the photograph. Some consideration of this would not go amiss.

Janet’s Foss has been used a natural sheep dip for local farmers, a location for family swims and celebrations and may even be the home of Jennet the queen of the fairies in a cave behind the falls or another small cave to the right.

The waterfall itself features tufa deposits forming on rock behind the waterfall. Tufa is formed by calcium carbonate rich water precipitation.


We continued to Gordale Scar campsite, which looked pretty full.  Gordale Scar is a limestone ravine with two waterfalls and has overhanging cliffs of over 100 metres – very encapsulating and impressive.

P1070695I had many years before scrambled up the left hand waterfall, but today there was too much water and I decided not to attempt it. Plus I was quite a few years older! P1070697

We therefore retraced our steps back down the ‘valley’ to the road, where were turned right to a much quieter path off right, which led to the top of Malham Cove.


There were fabulous views of unique field patterns.


We stopped at the top of Malham Cove for lunch. There are few finer lunch stops in the UK. People would often go to the edge of the cove in front of us and we watched in trepidation in case anyone fell. People do take too high a risk for an ‘adrenaline’ view.

People were like ants on the top of the Cove grykes (gaps) and clints (blocks) which formed through erosion by water of the limestone. It was here that heroes Harry Potter and Hermione pause to wonder if they will ever defeat the evil Lord Voldemort – and at what cost. There is clearly a Harry Potter effect judging by how busy the cove was. I had never seen it anything like as busy before – now a real tourist honeypot.


The views down from the cove were also impressive.



After lunch we carried on up the dry valley above the cove towards Malham Tarn. I had plans to take my German friend to other iconic locations and so we did not continue to the Tarn, instead turning back down the dry valley to the top of the cove and some clint and gryke hopping over the tops of them. Again the views down the valley, the next part of our route, were stunning.


We descended some 253 feet of steps to the bottom of the cove. One surprise was to see no climbers on the cove cliffs. There is usually some mad person hanging on the end of a rope on the cove.


We followed the well maintained path to the village of Malham, with only one slight disappointment that there was no sign of peregrine falcons, which normally reside on the cliffs and raise chicks there.


Arriving at Malham we had a well earned Yorkshire Dales ice-cream.

A fabulous start to our day and the 8 day ‘tour’.

After such a dramatic start to the best of Yorkshire in 8 days – where next?

Miles Walked 7.5





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