Me and Lucky took two of my son’s sprogs to Malham Tarn, where we abandoned the knipemobile in a car park and marched off down the Pennine Way towards Malham.
Some of our rucksacks were much too big for us. But nevertheless, whist me and the pooch sauntered sedately and with dignity, other, younger Knipes scrambled about on rocks and altered the words of songs so that they included mentions of girl’s lingerie, in particular, bras, which for some reason are really funny at the moment.
And so, we came to the top of Malham Cove. I felt forced to implement a strict regime of not-running-about in case somebody fell down a crack in the limestone pavement (is that a clint or a grike?) – or worse – there being a huge drop onto some tourists below.
We descended to the foot of the Cove where a nice and sunny picnic place was chosen on the far side of the beck. This gave us our first opportunity to get our socks and paws wet. Several climbers disported themselves as we scoffed cheese butties, bananas, bits of mango and chocolate. Lucky to the opportunity for a snooze.
A little light scrambling was had on various handy boulders.
Next on the itinerary was the ice cream shop, where we had ice cream lollies and then, it was off up the road to Gordale Scar, stopping only briefly at Janet’s Foss where a determined attempt was made to enter the cave behind the waterfall. Water levels were too high, though and the crucial footholds were covered with gushing water and so the attempt failed. The eldest took the opportunity to slide into a deepish part of the beck, though, up to around waist-deep, so it wasn’t a complete washout. Actually that’s , more or less, what it was.
But it’s an ill-wind , which is what they say in places where it’s hardly ever windy, and the deep parts of the beck at Gordale Scar could be waded with impunity in the rush to get to grips with the crux scramble of the day – the Gordale Scar waterfall.
The kids disappeared upwards in short order and I was left with Lucky, who made a brave start but then got stuck. There was some serious danger of the pooch falling off, so progress was slow and careful and with many orders to the dog to “stay” – an instruction, by the way, of which he knows absolutely nothing. But with upwards progress in a series of short lurches and stops, the angle eased and the dog could make his own scrabbly progress with little danger.
There was a brief playtime around the foot of the upper waterfall, which appears dramatically from a rock window, then more easy scrambling where the weight of water in the sprog’s trousers finally overcame the ability of his belt to keep his trousers up. The other sprog thought that this was Very Funny. And it was.
Once on the beautiful and green plateau above, progress slowed as the sprogs decided to stand on each and every bit of limestone pavement. In the meantime, Lucky eyed up the sheep. And the sheep eyed up Lucky.
Eventually, after several hours, we made it back to the car and went home.
Despite all protestations from the kids that the walk was at least 12 miles, it was , in fact, just six. Its a classic little outing , though, and adults may prefer to visit one of Malham’s two pubs at half time and, maybe, take the footpath to Janet’s Foss – we did the road just for speed. Not all kids, dogs or adults may be happy about climbing the waterfall by the way – so my advice is to have a Plan B!