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Yorkshire Dales Walks

Gordale Scar & Malham Cove

Gordale Scar

Date: 27th March 2004
Distance: 7 miles
Ascent: 1016 feet
Time: Too long ago to remember!
With: Matt
Start Grid Ref: SD900626

Walk Summary:
My first proper walk in the Dales was a brilliant introduction to the spectacular limestone country around Malham.

Route Summary: Malham - Wedber Wood - Janet's Foss - Gordale Scar - Street Gate - Malham Tarn - Pennine Way - Watlowes - Malham Cove - Malham


1. The lovely waterfall of Janet's Foss

The lovely waterfall of Janet's Foss

2. Approaching the waterfalls of Gordale Scar

Approaching the waterfalls of Gordale Scar

3. Climbing the steep rocky staircase above the waterfalls

Climbing the steep rocky staircase above the waterfalls

4. Malham Tarn

Malham Tarn

5. The Dry Valley

The Dry Valley

6. Matt


7. Above Watlowes

8. Looking back at Malham Cove

Looking back at Malham Cove

Walk Detail: While I had done some walking in my mid teens this is the walk that I class as my initiation into the joys of hill walking. This was also the first time I had gone for a walk with Matt on what was the start of our training programme for the Yorkshire Three Peaks later on in the year.

The weather was not particularly good but not unpleasant and certainly better than we would have on some of our subsequent walks that spring and summer. With the exception of my new Berghaus boots I had very little in the way of walking kit - I had no waterproofs and I don't think I even had a rucksack with me.

This route around Malham is a perfect introduction to the limestone scenery of the Dales and there are a number of fine natural features the first on the route being the attractive waterfall called Janet's Foss. Gordale Scar was quite magnificent while the scramble up the side of the waterfall provided a genuine adrenaline rush. This being my first walk I found the subsequent climb from the top of the waterfall to be quite tough.

I soon recovered my breath though and the walk to the tarn was very pleasant. While I had very little pre-knowledge of the area Matt had been here on a student trip and so was able to explain all the fascinating geological features such as the Water Sinks.

From the Water Sinks the limestone scenery is absolutely fantastic culminating in Malham Cove, one of the great natural features in the British Isles. In retrospect it is hardly surprising that this walk was the start of my love affair with the Dales and hill walking in general.

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