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For a Yorkshire adventure, head to Malham – in the deep south of the Yorkshire Dales National Park – where one of the best day hikes in the UK awaits.
From the picture-perfect village of Malham – think grassy fields, drystone walls, wandering sheep and a gushing stream – an 8-mile circuit runs out to Malham Cove, up to Malham Tarn and back down Gordale Scar. These are some of England’s most dramatic natural formations, and if you’re halfway fit and have some decent walking gear, they shouldn’t pose any problems.
Unless it starts to rain, and rain, and rain – as it did the last time I visited. Then it becomes a trickier proposition all around, especially if you’re making a movie at the same time – who would be so mad? Ahem.
Harry Potter fans – location alert!
But if you’re lucky, and the weather’s with you, it’s stunning stuff on a sunny day, starting with a stiff climb up the 260-foot high limestone rock amphitheatre that is Malham Cove.
Peregrine falcons soar on the thermals above, while up on top of the cove is the extraordinary pitted and scarred rock landscape known as ‘limestone pavement’. Harry Potter fans – location alert! Scenes from the Deathly Hallows were filmed up here, and the views are stunning.
Then it’s across to Malham Tarn, a stark, serene freshwater lake and nature reserve, before circling back to the village via Gordale Scar, a deep limestone gorge, where some hands and feet scrambling is required to get down the waterfall and back out along the valley.
A complete and utter nightmare
However, take one gorge, add copious amounts of rain, mix in thundering rivulets of water and insanely slippery rocks, and all of a sudden, Gordale Scar doesn’t seem quite as much fun. I may have even referred to it as a “complete and utter nightmare”. Well, to be fair, I was very wet and a bit freaked out.
But I did get back safe and sound, and calmed down enough to make this video.
So enjoy – and I hope you have your own Yorkshire Dales adventure some time. Seriously, this is an amazing walk!