Fairy queen caves and dark skies

So, I briefly mentioned last week that mum and I have a long history of incidents happening whilst out walking, and that I once got hit on the head by a falling rock.  Well,  this week’s walk took us (almost) back to the scene of the crime as we headed off to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales.


The Walk

I’ve got to be honest, this is one of my most favourite places (probably in the world) and we’d headed up there for the end of the dark skies event that has been running throughout winter, organised by the Yorkshire Dales national park.  We got there mid afternoon and decided that we had time to head out of the village to do a short walk out to one of my favourite waterfalls – Janet’s Foss.  We walked an easy circular 2.5ish miles out to the waterfall and back to the village.

IMG_1323The footpath is really good underfoot and the waterfall well sign-posted (map at bottom of blog).  Percy found the kissing gates quite puzzling and took him a while to realise that he couldn’t just crawl under them.  He loved the smell of the wild garlic that grows up the valley on the route of this walk. As it’s lambing season, we made sure to keep Percy on his lead whilst near open farm land.

We stayed for a while at Janet’s Foss which, legend has it, the fairy queen Jannet lived in the caves behind the waterfall.   This is a lovely place to stop and have a bit of a paddle (well, it is in summer, not when it’s 1 above freezing!!) and for exploring the caves around the cove.  Apparently in years gone by the plunge pool was used to dip sheep!  By this point in the walk, Percy looked like he could do with a bit of a dip too!!!


We didn’t carry on towards Goredale Scar, another waterfall where I was previously hit on the head by a falling rock – I’m still convinced that there was a sheep who knocked it off the top of the cliff with it’s hoof, it had a funny smirk on its face!!!.  Going via Goredale turns the walk into a 7 mile route and it’s probably one for summer when Goredale Scar isn’t in full force as the route requires a bit of a climb up the side of the waterfall meaning that you risk getting a bit (very) wet!!


The Warm Pub

Instead we headed back to Malham and the warmth of the Lister Arms.  This is a dog and family friendly pub.  There are treats, water and plenty of comfy cushions for tired dogs as well as books and board games for families and a wide menu of home cooked comfort food – the perfect way to round off a cold walk.  Almost every group in the bar had at least one dog looking tired and comfortable near the warmth of the open fire.  Percy gave it 5 paws out of 5!!!

We stayed for an hour or so – enough time to have something to eat, play a game of chess or two (Jack won) and to test out the mulled cider (deliciously warming) before heading back out into the cold to join the “walk in the dark lantern parade” to Malham Cove and back to mark the end of the dark skies festival.

The Dark Skies Festival


The lanterns looked really pretty but the real treat was the night sky.  With no cloud cover or light pollution it was stunning and we saw stars and galaxies that we normally wouldn’t see living in a more urban area.  The guide talked the group through the various constellations and stars, we could even see the different colours in each of the stars – some younger ones burning brighter and older ones with a slight red tint.   Absolutely beautiful and a such a special way to round off a lovely day.


Until next time!

Louise & Percy


P.S. Here’s our route from Malham to Janet’s Foss…

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