This attractive landscape encapsulates the very essence of the dales. The lovely villages and exquisite hamlets are woven into the very fabric of the dales; with fine bridges, legendary dry-stone walls and limestone pavements providing the sequins that make it sparkle. Then there are the shimmering waters, gorges and fosses which reflect the ever-changing moods and weather explaining the lure walkers have to visit this rich Dales tapestry.
Saturday will see us up and out seeking the hedonistic pleasures of dales walking. For the hardcore walkers there is a visit to Great Whernside on the cards whose title exclaims it the ‘Monarch of Wharfedale’. Forgoing the red carpet, for there will be no less majesty, as we glide ever upwards to the summit. There is a delightful route back with a cheeky little ascent thrown in halfway for good measure on what is meant to be the way down, finishing the day along a canny cascading river. Meanwhile the moderate walkers will be tackling myth and legend in Wharfedale known as the ‘Gill of the Trolls’. The Mid-Wharf around Burnsall is a limestone lovers’ paradise with frowning crags overlooking the broad and lush Wharfdale. There are meadows full of blooming lime-loving flowers, limestone pavements, escarpments, scars, outcrops and gorges. This walk is full of variety as we begin beside the peaceful waters of the Wharf, there is time to visit picturesque villages like Skyreholme, learn of the folklore of Trollers Gill and Hell hole, afore wandering over the open fells and drinking in the delightful views of this enchanting valley and the surrounding countryside.
Sunday, after the Saturday night before, will see us heading in the other direction with the hard walkers taking on the mighty Pen y ghent today. With no quarter given they shall initially troll along the Ribble Way and enjoy the river before some tremendous scenery en-route to surmounting Pen y ghent itself. Here they can survey all around them but with nearly all the height gained we may as well take in Plover Hill too. With views to beat-the-band and the hard work nearly done we head off down Foxup Moor and across Horton Moor back to our cars. For the moderate walkers after a great yesterday they shall settle for a day’s walking from.... Settle. Drinking in the magnificent area to its east above the expansive River Ribble we shall ascend immediately an escarpment providing maximum reward for effort with great views back across Settle and over to Giggleswick. Keeping our height from the plateau we criss-cross scars, wander through ancient settlements, past nearby caves that housed ancient prehistoric animals and along beautiful ways we will truly enjoy the mixture of open moors, fine lanes and well maintained plantations all the way back to Settle.
Monday, our final walking day will take in all the splendor of Malhamdale. To enable us to leave earlier we may take our cars a very short way up the valley. Today the harder walkers will take on Goredale Scar & Malham Tarn and Cove. Beginning at the Cathedral of the Dales, our route allows a gentle warm up as we follow the meandering stream to Malham and the waterfall home of the queen of the fairies at Janet's Foss. A path then leads around to Goredale Scar, a wonderful waterfall enclosed by huge limestone cliffs. If it is not too wet, we will scramble up the force and onto the limestone pavements, clints and grikes! A short stroll over the moor brings us to the lovely Malham Tarn and into Malham cove before we return to the start. The moderate walkers have the delights of Janet’s Foss and Malham Cove too, from Malham we immediately visit the waterfall home of Janet’s Foss, the queen of the fairies. A path then leads around to Goredale Scar, a wonderful waterfall enclosed by huge limestone cliffs. A short stroll over the moor brings us to the lovely Malham Tarn, before we turn down a lovely dry valley to the highlight of the day before we are greeted with limestone pavements, clints and grikes! of Malham Cove, which has to be seen to be believed. It’s now a lovely relaxing walk back through the valley and there may even be time for a tea shop!