Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Airedale Way - Malham Tarn to Gargrave 6th October

The river Aire...I have lived all my life in the vicinity of this river, for some time I have considered following the water flow from its beginning to its end. I think a river is a little like a life, it is born from the input from others and as it flows it gains strength and size. Gathering strength and content from its tributaries it runs its course until it reaches its conclusion and is swallowed up by a greater and more powerful force.

So, 71 miles it is then and I do not take on challenges lightly. The source is generally accepted as being Malham Tarn so it was there my journey began..

Wandering down to Malham Cove it is easy to see where the outflow disappears into the limestone caverns which this area is famous for.

Regular readers expecting my usual wildlife photographs may be disappointed..I saw very little but here is a meadow pipit.

After recent back trouble I was relieved to have descended the polished limestone steps that lead into the dry valley of Watlowes, one of my favourite places:-)

The bright eye of a jackdaw is a worthy distraction from a walk..

Reaching Malham Cove it was time to concentrate on my footwork again, the steps down here are like polished marble but I had a pause for a shot across the face of the Cove.

The flow of the water re-appears here, popular theory is however that this is not the same water that disappears up on the top..

I wandered my way out of the crowded village, the Pennine Way would lead me to Gargrave via some picturesque villages. A short while on the way Gordale Beck meanders out of the rather dramatically named Hell Gill Syke and confluence with Malham Beck takes place, see what I mean about the analogy with life?

The state of the ground here will disclose why I could not get near the site of Aire Head where the outflow from the Tarn reappears, muddy beyond belief and hard work from here on!

As I took the path which climbs a little higher I did get this lovely look at the weir..

A few fields later I was looking down at the splendid hamlet of Hanlith, now nearly out of Malhamdale and into Airedale proper.
Should you be lucky enough to win the lottery would you consider this...

And the property...

Just a cool £1,695 if you are interested, whoops I forgot the other ,000!!

The river grows steadily in width, another analogy to life:-))

 To be honest I was expecting a bit more wildlife, one distant dipper and an even more distant buzzard were all I could see, the damp conditions have been good for fungi though as I neared Airton.

The next section would be the driest I would find for a while, it was appreciated too, it does become a bit tiring dragging your feet out of boot sucking mud!

My next landmark was Newfield Bridge, only three miles to go now:-))


The path here soon leads into the fields, sodden and muddy it was no fun, even less so when several successive fields had cows crowded round the stile or gate.
I have lived all my life in the countryside and am not frightened or deterred by cattle, tired and leg weary does not allow much patience and I resorted to giving a couple of them a hefty wack on the backside to shift them from my path!
The state of the ground is portrayed here...
A check on the OS map disclosed a metalled lane which I could take a shortcut too!! Spirits heightened I nearly sprinted and vaulted a gate...well no but I was grateful!
Heaven after all that mud, there was even some cake like offerings on the lane:-))


Almost there now, my mobile rang and my lift was imminent just time for a swift pint in the Masons Arms and a photograph of the splendid church in Gargrave, the next leg will logically be Gargrave to Silsden....after that some planning and some adventures....thanks for reading:-))
 I awoke on Sunday morning and having a cuppa in the garden I saw a lovely inversion in the valley, a quick collection of the camera and car keys and I was up on Nab End to get a photograph or two.
This one was featured on BBC Look North, fame at last........


  1. Great idea to walk the Airedale Way Dave and well done for getting your photo on Look North! I like the the new dark background. Maggie

  2. Yes I like the new look too Dave,
    Good to see you doing the Airdale Way, as we are doing the Ribble Way.
    Interesting to see the Aire is 71 miles,only a mile difference between the two!!
    Great blog and walk Dave with interesting photos along the way. Malham Cove and Tarn are very familiar to us and we try to visit 2 or 3 times a year. Looking forward to your future progress along the route. Thanks for commenting on our last two Picasa albums Dave and apologies for my late replies.