This morning we decided to take the 10.00am bus, No 211, to Malham from the square in Gargrave. It takes about 25 minutes to get there through some lovely countryside and passed the impressive Eshton Hall. During the week the bus only has two trips per day and on a Sunday or bank holiday it increases to three trips. The bus is a comfortable 16 seater to negotiate the narrow lanes.
Turning off the road onto a good path soon brings you to great views of Malham Cove. This is a natural amphitheatre of limestone rock which was created long ago when it was a waterfall from the waters issuing from the base of a glacier now long dried up. There is a stream coming out at the base of the cove which was thought to have come from Malham Tarn, a glacial marl lake above the cove but experiments with dye have shown that the source is actually the beck that becomes the River Aire next to the smelt mill on Malham Moor. The cove is a great place for climbers and we spotted a couple in precarious positions up the vertical face.
At the bottom of the cove the RSPB had set up several scopes so that we could watch for the Peregrine Falcons who have nested successfully for many years at the site. It is thought that they currently have 3 or 4 chicks. We were lucky to see and hear one of the adult birds come out of its nesting area and settle on an out crop. I was able to take this photo of it although he would insist on keeping his back to us. The chicks should fledge in June and will stay around the cove until the end of July when they will be shooed off by the parents.
Having explored the top we wended our way back down the steps as we did not have time to walk on to the Tarn or the right footwear to return by the route down the other side of the valley.
We caught the 13.35 bus back to Gargrave having stopped at the Lister Arms for a coffee. We noticed that the food looked excellent and wished we had time to stay for some. On the way out of the village the road was full of parked cars so on good weekends it must be a busy place.
Back in Gargrave I walked down to Eshton Road Lock to see what the contractors were up to. It appeared that water was leaking from the lock and flooding the garden of the adjacent house. They had sealed the brickwork in the lock chamber and were now drilling holes around the lock and filling them with expanding polyurethane foam to create a barrier between the lock and the garden. They were still having trouble finding exactly where the water was leaking from and were drilling more holes to try and trace it. What had seemed a simple job was now turning out to be a bit more involved typical of a two hundred year old canal system.