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Home arrow Meet Reports arrow Yorkshire Dales-23rd - 25th February 2007

Yorkshire Dales-23rd - 25th February 2007

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Contributed by Gareth Pratt   
Gareth Pratt provides a very interesting and insightful report on yet another brilliant STMC meet  in the Yorkshire Dales early this year.  Yorkshire Dales
23rd - 25th February 2007
By Gareth Pratt

The drive up to Airton on the Friday night was fairly straightforward, and I rolled up to the bunkhouse at about 10.15pm. Ian, Marianne and Ian Powditch had already arrived. The others arrived over the next hour or so (apart from Martin and Chet who got there in the middle of the night) and after a lively conversation we all drifted off to bed.

The following morning dawned dreary and wet. The cloud was right down and we split into two groups for the day's walking.  Chris, Karen Ian P and I elected to walk down onto the Pennine Way and from there up to Malham Tarn via Malham Cove, while Tom, Mim, Chet, Marianne, Ian and Don decided to drive up to Malham Tarn and walk over to Settle via Scalaber Force.

Our walk was very muddy along the banks of the Aire and the going underfoot improved once we were beyond Malham and heading for the Cove. We stopped for a short break in the shadow of Malham Cove, a scene that never fails to inspire me, and the n after a steep pull to the plateau above, headed towards Malham Tarn. The limestone scenery above Malham Cove is fantastic and looks almost lunar in its barren appearance. A short walk through a limestone gorge brought us, via the water sinks, to Malham Tarn where the weather (which had improved a bit since the early morning gloom) turned rather nasty. We elected to beat a hasty retreat to Malham and then back to the bunkhouse.

Ian Powditch and I decided to make a brief but impressive visit later to Goredale Scar - a far more impressive feature than Malham Cove, in my opinion.

In the evening, we all headed up to Kirkby Malham for a pleasant meal in the Victoria pub (best steak pie I've had in years - Ed).  The evening was marred for me by the fact that Wales lost to France in the rugby; something the locals, and indeed my dear walking companions, were keen to make me aware of! (er, didn't England lose too? - McEd). (Yes, and so did Scotland! - Il Radattore).

Sunday morning was much drier and clearer than Saturday, and Tom came up with an excellent route for the day's walk, which involved a circuit over Pen-y-Ghent and back along the valley to the east of the mountain. It was a most agreeable walk.

The initial pull up onto Pen-y-Ghent was easier than I remember, and the views from the top were spectacular. Unfortunately, the walk between Pen-y-Ghent and Plover Hill was exactly as bogy as I remember. After a steep decent off Plover Hill, we stopped for a lunch break and then walked round the north-east flank of the hill and up a quite dramatic little valley back to the cars. The final stages of the walk were enlivened by a vigorous debate about historical events, seasoned with Shakespearean quotations.  Never let it be said that we are an uninformed club!

After the walk, Mim, Tom, Don, Ian, Marianne and I went down to Settle for a snack before we parted ways and headed back to London.

Once again, another successful weekend away with STMC that I thoroughly enjoyed. The bunkhouse in Airton is one we have visited before and has always been a successful base of operations for the club in that area.  Hopefully we will visit it again soon.
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