Wednesday 18 July 2018. I decided to do a walk above Malham Tarn today. The road to Malham from Gargrave is narrow in parts but is used by hundreds of visitors each day and is negotiable with care. The road out of the village, up the side of Malham Cove is something else and is nothing short of terrifying. It is single track, very steep, enclosed by stone walls, has blind bends and is not for the feint-hearted. I was committed as there is no escape route and was relieved that I didn’t meet anything coming the other way.
I parked to the north-west of Malham Tarn and, after a short road walk, I picked up the route of the Pennine Way. I’d walked this section before when climbing Fountains Fell. I broke away from the Pennine Way to follow a quiet road which eventually leads to Arncliffe. There were a few cars using this road, I assume on a scenic drive. I followed it for a little over a mile, as far as Darnbrook where I then headed off into the countryside. Crossing Cowside Beck, I now had a 500ft climb up to the top of Middle House Hill. It was noon when I got to the top so I re-gathered my equilibrium whilst having lunch.
It was more or less all downhill from here as I skirted Back Pasture Hill and followed Monk’s Road to the shore of Malham Tarn. I had been walking for about 3 hours without seeing anyone else. The rest of the walk was on metalled roads through the grounds of the Malham Field Centre back to the car. Just as I was taking off my boots, a local farmer came along the road on his quad-bike followed by a flock of freshly shorn sheep. Quite a sight. My walk was 7 miles with 1,000ft of ascent.