Ramblers Holiday in Malhamdale with HF
Twenty-four of us Petersfield Ramblers went to Malhamdale in the Yorkshire Dales for a 4-night break to enjoy walking the area, courtesy of HF Holidays.
We stayed in a lovely mansion, Newfield Hall, just outside the town of Malham. We were offered three walks per day of various lengths and ascents which were led by very competent leaders, Rich, Gwyneth and Greg. The food was excellent, not only B & B and dinner, but we had the most wonderful packed lunches, too. HF Holiday houses are always equipped with everything that a walker would want, notably boot storage and drying rooms – and these were very much needed!
On the first walking day, Tuesday, we were led from the house and acquainted ourselves with the area of fields, woods, rivers and streams and the views. The Pennine Way runs through here so we covered a bit of that and went along the River Aire. A kingfisher was spotted, allegedly. Well, many people said they saw it, but I didn’t.
We saw hundreds of sheep – black sheep, black and white sheep, spotted sheep, sheep that looked like goats, yellow sheep, sheep that posed for us, long-haired sheep, sheep with tails, sheep without tails. I’ve never seen so many sheep! Oh, and some cattle, too.
On Wednesday we were bussed to Settle into Ribbledale and went along the Dales High Way for a spell. In full wet weather clothing, we headed up the River Ribble along which we saw many mill chimneys and huge buildings; old mills now turned into living accommodation. The water was gushing over the stones and weirs in the river in full spate – I wished I could channel some of that water into Petersfield Lake!
Some of the high stiles in the stone walls were very slippery because of the wet and we had to be careful. We had our lunch INSIDE a limekiln which was not the prettiest venue in which I have eaten my sandwiches, looking out at the rain! Disused since 1939 when the quarrying of limestone and lime production stopped and the workers moved out, the area is now being reclaimed by nature and peregrine falcons, jackdaws, blue tits, and willow warblers now breed on the slopes.
Thursday we were in the bus again and headed into Malham to enjoy the highlights of the area – Malham Tarn, Malham Cove with the limestone pavement above, Janet’s Foss (waterfall), and Gordale Scar. Here there were many more walkers enjoying the tracks and we had a great time greeting and chatting with them. One set of chatty young people joined us for our group photo and we had great fun!
The Yorkshire Dales offers very different walking than here in Hampshire and it’s interesting to discover different terrain and challenges. Each day after walking, we peeled off our walking gear and freshened up for an evening of delicious food and socialising. What’s not to like?
Author: Sheila Gadd, Club Secretary
Photography: Sandy Arpino, Jo Legg & Lesley Stapley