LEJOG35: Malham to Horton-in-Ribblesdale

We got a lift back to Malham thanks to Jessica, Jenna’s old friend. The weather was even nicer and the cove looked amazing as we walked towards it down by the Beck with spindily picturesque trees on either side. The cove is basically a huge wall of craggy limestone where once stood the a waterfall higher than niagara falls. Inevitably there were mental rock climbers scaling up it giving me vertigo just looking at them.

After a while of gazing at its sheer face we clambered up the steep steps to get to it’s top. This was easier said than done in the heat, and I was dripping by the time I got up there. However it as worth it because on top was a strange world. It looked like somebody had brought the moon down to earth and turfed it. The limestone pavement and crags where all eroded into curved craterous lunar forms but surrounded by lushous and well (sheep) manicured grass. We walked along a small steep-sided valley covered in scree and crags where once the river that fed the waterfall must once have run. It was errie being in a landscape that seemed so simultaneously inhospitable and yet obviously fertile. I felt like I was in a huge computer graphic such was the resemblance to walking along a mars ‘canal’.

We made our way around Malham Tarn, which looked like a common lake except for the fact it was so high up and surrouded by limestone, and up Fountains Fell. Here we entered big open hilly moorland again, as the Penines rejoined us after a brief rest around the Aire Gap. It was exhausting work getting up the first fell, which felt like a constant trudge due to the series of fake summits on the way up and lack of a proper view as all the hills merged into one around us.

It was a different case on the other side, where suddenly we were confronted by the massive looming form of Penyghent, the mountain we were due to travel across. It looked like a huge castle, such was it’s prominence and way in which it stood out against the flatter land around it.

As we worked our way down from the hill we were currently on to the base of this monster I noticed that our route took us first along a slight gradient for a long-ish distance, and then suddenly decided to briefly go so steep as to be vertical before getting to the top. This was the bit which closely resembled the defensive tower of a castle, as fat and as straight as those on the White Castle on offas dyke.

Once we got to this steep bit it only took about 15 minutes to get to the top, but it was an extremely strenuous 15 minutes. At one point I had a little attack of vertigo as the path turned into a scramble directly upwards. I gritted my teeth and got through, no thanks to Jenna who had scooted off ahead of me while I was taking photos at the base. I found her at the top, star-fished on the floor. Turns out once she started she daren’t stop for fear that her legs would give way, and so left me eating her dust.

It was fantastic to get to the top despite the fact that the view wasent that brilliant due to both heat haze and the fact that clouds were now rolling in reducing the available light. I promised myself that I would be back soon to do the full three peaks. We quickly descended, dodging a couple of rain showers as we made out way down to our pick up point and a cold pint. It was a suitable finish to an amazing day.

Sent from my iPhone

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