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Malhamdale Holiday - November 2014

Well we had a lovely mid-week break at the Malhamdale HF house organised by Chris with very reasonable weather as well so the walking was very good. Firstly Chris had organised an afternoon walk with of course a tea shop.

On Monday with all the party a fabulous walk from Burnsall to Linton and back on part of The Dalesway. For some reason we started early on the Christmas jokes and much banter followed in the car! We had lovely scenic walk up the Dale by the river, and eventually crossed over the suspension bridge with many photo shots and fearful faces! The river Wharf was in full flow and on arrival at Linton the waterfalls were absolutely spectacular, their thunderous sounds energising us all. Over the Tin bridge there and a stop for lunch and after a look around Linton Church that serves 4 parishes nearby, we carried on to complete the circle up and over the hills arriving back in Burnsall. A slight hazard in the form of a big ram ready to bump & roll at Chris as he was leading, Ensuring our safety across the field, we left him to deal with it! Fortunately they didn't come to blows!

Great memories of the scone race rally back in the cars, on very narrow dales lanes towards dark, following Sue in what started out as a beautiful white car, now a little muddy. We were met mid-track by a flock of sheep all over the road without a farmer or sheepdog (they looked bewildered), then further along 3 little guinea fowls following their mum across the lane at their own pace, oblivious to the rally! Then there were some big vans coming the other way! Sat navs, map & sign readers battled together to arrive in time for the HF cream tea (scrumptious!).

That evening after an excellent dinner Chris presented his mountain quiz to us, with may I say, not the expected results, but anyway the winners gained a score of 3.5 out of 20! Alison, Shona and Hamida will be displaying their prizes from O.S. tee-shirt department I'm sure on the next walks.

On Tuesday we walked the classic route up to Malham Cove via Janet's Foss waterfall, once again thundering down, (no chance to walk behind into the lady's cave) Then onwards to Gordale Scar which again was too incredibly full to try and climb. We did Tai Chi instead prompted by one of the group, guess who! From there a lovely path took us up to the top and over the pools areas where we had our lunch with a distant view of the Tarn. Then walking over the famous limestone pavement, learning all about the grykes and the clints from Hamida and about the micro climates in the cracks, with rare species. We started our descent down and down into Malham where we joined Rosie and a cup of tea of course in the local pub in front of a warming log fire. This went down very well. We had seen crows trying to mob a buzzard, ravens, a kestrel and a stoat on our walk, plus stunning views. A good day out was had by all.

Once again back at the house, after a lovely dinner (the theme of aqua and turquoise dress around the table), along with another large group we joined in a spontaneous ceilidh with dosey dohs and Oxo dances etc. I retired a little early but I believe Alison, Shona and Hamida continued after the dance with a little Bananagram scrabble and were early birds again at breakfast on our last day which happened to be Alison's birthday!

On Wednesday, a smaller group walked southwards, from the house following the Pennine Way along the beck, which was the start of the River Aire. We looped back to Airton for a tea shop lunch. Walking down a rough walled track into Airton we had to get out of the way quick, as hundreds of sheep were heading our way. We were treated to the spectacle of them racing up the track with a fog above them caused by their hot bodies. After a pleasant interlude in the tea shop we returned to Newfield Hall for our journeys home.

What a lovely comfortable house, abundant food, friendly staff and brilliant walks we had. We would all like to thank Chris for organising it: Sue and Mark, Kath, Alison, Hamida, Shona, Rosie and myself, Margaret.