Friday, August 2, 2013

Malham Cove, UK

Just outside the town of Malham is the Malham Tarn Estate, a National Trust property that features an amazing cliff that is easily accessible by people as small as J and L. We walked out after parking in the town of Malham.

Malham Cove in the distance

The path was not too difficult. J and L knew how to get through the kissing gates without any silly kissing.

J and L go through the gate first!

Soon our path wandered by a stream, the sort that makes that perfectly pleasant burbling sound. A small bridge that wasn't part of our trail caught our eyes. The bridge is made from slabs of limestone and is called a "clapper" bridge. The name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon cleaca, which means "bridging the stepping stones."

Paths for humans and fish!

Clapper bridge

As we drew closer, we came to a field where several telescopes were set up. Since it was broad daylight, we knew they couldn't be for stargazing. Talking to the person with a name badge, we found out they were spotting peregrine falcons. The falcons nest on the nooks and crannies of the cliff's face. We all took turns looking.

Getting closer

L looks at the birds

J does some spotting

When the fellow asked J if he saw the bird, J cheerfully said yes and pointed to the bird logo on the shaft of the telescope. Whoops!

As we walked on, L spotted some wool on the ground. The sheep must have been shedding. She began to gather as much as she could in hopes of making some craft at home.

L Wool-gatherer

We walked a bit further and soon came to the cove at the base of the cliff. This area had been an immense waterfall back in the glacial period, and the Malham Tarn (beyond the cliff) is a lake that still feeds some water through, if not over, the cliff face.

Almost there!

The cliff face from below

A cave on the cliff

A climber on the cliff

A leak in the cliff!

The kids thought the climber was a little crazy. "She can't live there, she's not a bird!" L explained.

We had a picnic lunch on some nearby rocks. We saw the trail that led around the cliff and up to the lake. The stairs and the additional distance were a bit of a turn-off for us. We didn't want to tire out the children before other important adventures, like walking back to the car.

As we walked back, we saw some sheep grazing in the fields. L was hoping for more wool, but you can't take directly from the source.

Hungry sheep

We tried to get a picture with the kids and the cove but at the last minute my wife told the kids to hug (so they'd be closer together in the picture) and that's how we lost J's face.

Good job hugging!

The walk back wasn't hard, especially since we saw some people with ice cream cones. We knew treats were in our future. J wasn't too excited since he neither likes sweets so much nor eating cold things. We reassured him that there would be cookies or cake or some such wherever we went. And it turned out true! It was a great adventure with a happy ending.

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