We loved our weekend in Yorkshire Dales; it is a stunning piece of the world offering little villages, panoramic views, and gorgeous countryside. I am not a hiker, but I enjoyed our hike from Malham Cove to Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss Waterfall. We got sunburn, the weather was generous with us, and we couldn’t wish for more. Maybe for fewer stairs, but more about that later!
Living in Derby has got its pros. It is located in the middle of the UK, which means we are pretty close to everything. Manchester, London, beaches (Skeggy or Mablethorpe), all within 2 hours by car or train. We are also close to some fantastic National Parks, like Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Park.
We have been to the Peak District a few times, and because, you know, the grass is always greener on the other side, I thought spending an Easter holiday weekend in the scenic Yorkshire Dales will be something new for us. As it was also Carl’s birthday weekend, I thought I could kill two birds with one stone.
This lovely little market town is only a 10-minute drive from the Yorkshire Dales Park, and because neither of us had visited this place before, we thought it would be a delightful little adventure to explore the local town. We parked at the top of Baileys Car Park for the price of £2.50 per car. The cheapest car park I have ever been, sweet! We arrived around 2pm so the price may vary if you are coming earlier. Google already warned us that Skipton could get very busy. And it was. Not only due to Easter Break but also because the weather was fantastic!
People were sitting down on the grass in front of the Church, having picnics; dogs were seeking shade under the trees while their owners faced the sun with closed eyes enjoying the moment. We walked around, checked the local market, but this kind of heat took us by surprise and cooling down with some sweet cocktails was undoubtedly needed.
Alexander’s Kitchen and Bar is located right on top of the High Street and has a gorgeous sunny terrace overlooking the roofs of local houses and buildings as well as the Leeds Liverpool Canal. We paid £18.50 for two cocktails, but it was worth it; sitting at the terrace, enjoying the views and letting the sun warm our pale skins.
Bed and Breakfast – Bondcroft Farm
Me and Carl we are both animal lovers; what most of you don’t know, Carl grew up surrounded by farms down in Devonshire, while I grew up in a little village in Slovakia, and my thing are forests and bonfire nights. But we both love staying on farms, it makes us meet the locals, talk to owners, and if you are lucky – they may even let you feed their animals!
Elaine’s farm is gorgeous, quickly found just a little bit further up from Skipton and Embsay on top of the hill overlooking the valley and highland ahead.
All the rooms offer a panoramic view, double beds, complimentary tea and coffee, and freshly cooked breakfast every morning at half past eight. Our room wasn’t en-suite, the other two are, but it has its own allocated bathroom with a toilet and a bath/shower. We paid £160 for two nights.
Elaine’s farm has lots of animal residents; Alfie and Stan always come along for cuddles, little Pepper is at first very unsure of the new visitors, but after a while, she comes along for cuddles too. Like most local farms in the UK, they also have sheep, cows, goats, chickens, and ducks – who all came to say hello, and some grass feeding. We also met two donkeys when we were taking drone pictures for Elaine’s lounge wall; at first they were very curious of this new toy (so much so that the carrot wasn’t very interesting anymore), but as soon the drone flew, they both realised this is something new and ran away to hide followed by Alfie and Stan.
For me, I 100% enjoyed my stay, and we want to visit again; we honestly had a lovely time at the farm, we enjoyed watching the sunset from the garden with a few ciders while being surrounded by all those views and animals!
I saw a picture of Ribblehead Viaduct just before we were going to Yorkshire Dales and as soon as I realised that it is only about 50-minute drive from the Bondcroft farm, I wanted to visit it for sunset. Because the picture I saw was during the sunset and it looked epic.
We arrived at the Station Inn around six o’clock to fill our empty tummies with some excellent pub food before heading towards the viaduct. This pub is located right next to the viaduct and bear in mind it also can get hectic. People like to park their campervans nearby as the pub is the only place which has fresh water, food, and toilets; for miles.
The construction of Ribblehead Viaduct started in 1869 and required over 2300 men, and the first passenger service was open in 1876. The viaduct is 400 meters long and 32 meters high above the alley.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, then you must know this location! Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows were filmed here when Ron vanished, and Hermione stayed with Harry on their own. Below picture.
The view from Malham Cove is outstanding and breath-taking the whole walk from Malham to Malham Cove is breath-taking; you can see the Cove right from the car park. (we paid £5 for an entire day, arriving just after 10 am.) The walk there is easy, either along the path or through green fields.
The Malham Cove offers picturesque scenes; cold stream flowing through the fields where baby cows were peacefully chilling under trees, hiding from the sunlight. There was another hot day ahead with a cloudless blue sky.
And then…the fun started! I honestly didn’t know, that getting on top of the Malham Cove was required, I thought we could go around it and hike towards out next stop – Gordale Scar. But no, I was wrong and what was even worse – there were 400 irregular stairs to get on top of Malham Cove. I have asthma, and I’m no hiker; I bought hiking shoes literally the day before we were coming to Yorkshire Dales. That’s it; I thought I would die as soon as I climbed the first ten steps.
After all, it wasn’t as bad as I imagined, the stairs were quite easy despite being oddly shaped. With small breaks waiting for Carl, who was continually taking pictures, I managed to get on top of the Malham Cove, where the welcoming cold breeze cooled my glowing-sweaty face, and it felt like heaven (Maybe because I was closer to the sky, too?)
Proper shoes are required, no matter the weather, but I can imagine the stairs can get pretty slippery and dangerous after some rain. Also, the whole top of the Malham Cove is covered by limestones, so please, be careful!
Big tip: If you are coming in summer, or on a hot day, make sure you have a water bottle with you, sun cream and a hat or a multifunctional headband. Sensible walking shoes are a must.
After a few hundred of ohs, ahs, and wows we headed slowly towards Gordale Scar. The rest of our hike was pretty easy compared to the start; as it was mainly downhill. Because the weather was generous with us and it was a long weekend, we met plenty of other hikers and local dog walkers.
Gordale Scar is located next to a camper site where there is also a stand with fresh food and drinks. Unfortunately, they accept only cash.
This impressive 100m tall limestone was formed by water from melting glaciers or a cavern collapse. There are two waterfalls, but to see the second one you would need to climb up the limestones and it looked pretty dangerous for us, so we skipped it. There is also a rock climbing opportunity for those brave souls.
Who would expect the waterfall to be full of people and jumping kids on a hot and sunny April day? Us neither! Because the waterfall is literally right next to the car park of the camper site, it gets busy very quickly. I wanted to dip my sore toes in the water but gave up as soon as we got there. The name Janet (sometimes Jennet) is believed to refer to a fairy queen held to inhabit a cave at the rear of the fall. Foss is a Nordic word for waterfall, still used in Scandinavia, and is presented in several cases in England as ‘force.’ (Wikipedia)
The whole hike took us around three and a half hours, but only because we were taking our time taking pictures and videos for my YouTube channel. I am sure it can be done faster, or slower, depending on everybody’s ability. I consider this hike very easy, the only critical part is the Malham Cove stairs, but the walk can be done in the opposite direction too, starting from the Janet’s Foss to Gordale Scar and back to Malham Cove. The weather took us by surprise, and because we both lacked sun cream, we got very sunburnt! (In April, in North England, would you believe this??)
After the hike I promised Carl that I’d take him for a beer before making our way back to the farm, so we stopped in a local pub in Malham and enjoyed a pint of a cold brew! (Almost £9 for two pints, not cheap!)
Embsay is a little village, about a 5-minute walk from the farm, but it’s about 20 minutes to the first pub/restaurant. After our hike, shower, and recharge we headed to the centre to get some food and drinks, as well as a much-deserved reward. We went to Elm Tree Inn – which I was a little bit sceptical about, as inside it didn’t look the best and because it was a bank holiday Sunday – there were a few of drunk people around.
Buuuuuut…. There is a big BUT – the staff was fantastic, super friendly and the food was astonishing. No kidding, seriously. I don’t know where was last time I felt I wanted to lick the plate after my meal (I didn’t), but honestly, the food was gorgeous.
I am also preparing a video – vlog from our trip to Yorkshire Dales where you can follow us on our hike, and see what else we were up to.
We both had a good time in Yorkshire Dales, despite the fact we still got the stupid sunburn around our necks and shoulders and the mad-man made stairs. We were definitely lucky with the weather as we could enjoy the hike, the scenic green Britannia fields, cloudless cobalt sky and spend some quality time outdoors exploring.