Where’s your special place?
Do you have a special place? Here’s mine. Let me tell you why it is special to me.
This is Goredale Scar, a spot in the Yorkshire Dales near Malham.
About 10 years ago, my Dad and I went for a walk round here. I don’t see my Dad very often, maybe once a year. We live at different ends of the country, and I guess we’re just not the communicative type. ….and then when we do meet up, we chat for about 5 minutes, and then run out of things to say.
Anyway, we had agreed to meet up for a walk. I was coming up North for a couple of days, and we decided to meet at Malham, and walk around the tarn, and the cove and so on. My dad has always been the organised type, so he brought the map and planned the route. I had never been to Goredale Scar before.
So we walk out of Malham, along the road towards the Scar, beautiful countryside, pleasant weather. We were making idle small talk, and admiring the dry stone walls and the sheep. As we come to a field which has a camp site in it, Dad turns off the road and into the field.
We walk along, through the campsite, and take a path which follows this lovely stream. Either side of us the Valley walls rise up steeply…
(Looking back from Goredale Scar towards the campsite)
This is really beautiful countryside, and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead, as I can see the valley walls are closing in…..
…. we continue to the end of the footpath, and have to tread carefully amongst lots of stones, and the stream bed. At this point I can see the Waterfall….
…and I am thinking, “wow, the footpath must take a hidden route around the side”, but I couldn’t really see where it could go.
My dad keeps walking carefully along the stream bed towards the Waterfall, gets to the foot of the waterfall, and says “Right, I think it is safer if we climb up this side. The other side is a bit damp and slippy.”
Damp and Slippy?
Now I am sure we had discussed going for a walk. Taking ropes and belay devices and suchlike had not entered the conversation.
However, I didn’t think of myself is being a scaredy cat, and I didn’t want to decline the invitation to climb, so I just swallowed hard, and waited to see where my Dad went.
…and up he went, large rucksack on his back, climbing up the side of this huge, vertical, cliff face (well, when I say huge, vertical, and cliff, I exaggerate a little) but I can tell you I had a fair old surge of adrenaline flowing round at that point.
So I started climbing behind him, carefully placing hands and feet, and every time I looked down, all I could see were the jagged stones at the bottom of the waterfall, and what a mess they would make of me if I fell.
After a couple of minutes, the climb became less steep, and we were able to scramble up to an area where we could stand up and catch our breath. Well, catch my breath.
I looked back and saw the other walkers at the bottom of the waterfall looking up at us in awe (well that’s what it looked like to me), and I thought to myself “Yeah! we are on the top of the world!”
The buzz of the adrenaline, and the feeling of excitement having attempted and succeeded in something that I could not imagine myself doing was amazing.
We then carried on along the path to Malham Tarn, around to Malham Cove, and back to Malham village for a pie and a pint. At least, I assume that’s what we did, because to be honest, I can remember a lot of detail of that 5-10 minutes at the waterfall, and I can hardly remember any of the remaining 2-3 hours of the rest of the walk.
I guess that is why this place is special to me.
I work hard on my business, and it can be stressful at times, but every now and then I like to go and visit Goredale Scar.
I have never climbed the waterfall since, but just as you walk into the stream bed, and approach the waterfall, on your right hand side, there is a ledge that you can climb up to, which gives you a view down onto any other walkers in the area, and it is large enough to sit and have a sandwich and a drink, and listen to the water, falling down the Scar.
I remember back to that unexpected, scary achievement of 10 years ago, and all of my worries and stresses of my day to day life drift away for a little while, and I remember that, even though I had not planned it, just for a few minutes, I was on top of the world.
Do you have somewhere special to you?
Bye for Now