Thursday, November 24, 2011

Adventures in the Yorkshire Dales!

John, our Business Development Manager and his partner Sammy, jetted off to the Yorkshire Dales last week to celebrate their 2nd anniversary. Here's how their weekend panned out!

Neither myself or Sammy had spent much time in the Dales so we thought this would be a perfect place to explore whilst celebrating our second anniversary. We were staying at the Old Joinery B&B, just outside the village of Sedbergh in the Western Dales. Janet & Robin's hospitality was absolutely fantastic and they made us feel very welcome and special from the moment we arrived, highly recommended accomodation! Sedburgh itself is a lovely quiet village with a couple of pubs and the buildings are mostly stone so very picturesque! The first day we spent driving around the local area and exploring.

We visited the Wensleydale Creamery where they make the most fantastic cheeses I've ever sampled. There are also plenty of links to Wallace & Gromit! "Cracking cheese"... and it's all free to try! Needless to say I sampled literally every cheese in there (some of them more than once..) and this is a MUST see for anyone who likes a bit of the good stuff on their crackers! After that we drove down into the village of Dent, where we walked through the cobbled streets and looked up at the giant hills that surround the place. As this day was our actual anniversary, we headed back to base and got ourselves ready for our celebratory evening out at the Barbon Inn near Kirkby Lonsdale. I had the trio of game from the specials board which was phenomenal, and Sammy had the local sausages and mash which was also very tasty!


The next morning we were treated to Janet's wonderful full English breakfast before we set out on our major hike for the weekend. We drove about 20 miles south, to a quaint little place called Malham which is lodged neatly in a valley surrounded by rolling hills. We had researched a walk from the Walking Englishman website before we left and it turned out to be a cracker! We headed out of the village next to the little beck that runs through it, and turned left when we reached the Gordale Beck river. We came across a beautiful waterfall named Janet's Foss where we stopped to take advantage of the photo opportunities it presented, before heading off up the track and across a lane where we caught our first glimpse of Gordale Scar.

(At Janet's Foss waterfall)

(The opening of Gordale Scar)

It is a stark contrast to Janet's Foss just a few hundred yards further back, and is quite menacing when you walk the path into the heart of it. We then came across the lower of the Gordale waterfalls, which is nice to look at but completely blocks your path. I have to admit, "Walking Englishman" undercooked the danger levels quite substantially on this part of the walk, we scrambled up the dryest rockface we could find but one slip and my chips would have been well and truly cooked. To give Sammy all the credit she deserves, she absolutely smashed it... my excuse is the 45 litre pack I was wearing was probably not helping my balance up the sheer rock and there was a moment where I genuinely considered giving up and climbing back down. I made it to the top however, and my feelings of elation made the upper Gordale waterfall look even more spectacular gushing out of a hole in the huge rock wall.

(The climb up Gordale)

From here we pressed onwards and upwards out of Gordale Scar and across a couple of miles of hills and farmers fields towards the lake of Malham Tarn. Upon reaching the Tarn we stopped for lunch and took in the sight of the very wild-looking water surrounded by highland cattle, before setting off past "Water Sinks", which is aptly named as the river literally just dives underground for a few miles, and headed into Malham Cove. After what seemed like a thousand steps down into the valley, we then climbed up onto a huge natural limestone terrace which looked out over Malham. We were glad to be within sight of the village as it got very dark very fast from that point onwards! After we completed our 7-mile walk we went home to change, before heading out to the Taj Mahal Indian restaurant in Sedburgh to stuff our faces and undo all the good work we had done during the day...

On our final day we headed out to Aysgarth falls for a few photos and a short walk by the river, before having lunch in Barnoldswick and heading back down South! Needless to say the entire weekend went far too quickly, and before I knew it I was back at work on Monday morning... oh well!

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