The village of Goathland, in North Yorkshire, has any number of attractions, just one of which is the waterfall, Mallyan Spout. At the bottom of a ravine, with a 70 foot drop, in full spate it is a beautiful sight.
The start point of my walk is beside the hotel of the same name, highly rated on Trip Advisor, for those of you who pay attention to such things. I pass through the gate adjoining the coffee shop with scarcely a glance, eager to set eyes on the waterfall. Almost immediately the path starts to drop downwards, and down some more, and then down again. I’m not even thinking about the inevitable climb back up when my eyes alight on a perfect cluster of palest pink, wild orchids.
I listen hard for the telltale chuckle of water as I descend still further. Finally I can hear it and, a few moments later, there it is.
Now I can’t pretend to anybody that this is an easy walk but, in not too damp conditions, it is perfectly possible to negotiate the stepped path down to the waterfall. Turning left at the bottom, you need only follow the beck for a matter of yards to be within sight and sound. It’s up to you how close you want to go. To get a good look, a bit of scrambling over rocks will be needed, but there were families with quite young children making the trip. Watch out for the ‘coin’ trees, shown above, set deep into the rocks.
How can you not love being in this leafy dell? When you have gazed your fill, you have a choice to make. You can retrace your steps to the bottom of the path that led downwards, and then continue to the right, alongside the beck. This will take you on a 3 mile circular walk, via Beck Hole, as detailed in the link at the start. Or you can be a bit more adventurous.
The walk I was following crosses the waterfall and continues along a ‘sometimes difficult’ footpath, and over two footbridges, according to my guidebook. Sound challenging? It only had a medium level of difficulty. I thought that passing the waterfall might prove tricky, but the rocks weren’t too slippy and with the help of a steadying hand I managed it. Balance is not my strong point.
There was a sense that the valley bottom had shifted, leaving behind the pedestal on which the first footbridge rested. The second had a gentle curve, the pedestal still loosely attached. Tree roots and boulders didn’t make for an easy walk, but it was the dampness underfoot that was my undoing. Just beyond the footbridges a sign pointed upwards to Goathland, half a mile away, up a stepped incline. It didn’t seem too bad an idea to me, but my companion was scathing. Half a mile? That’s not a walk!
A further sign, pointing out that erosion had affected the footpath ahead, did nothing to reassure. A deep breath and on we went, slithering a bit in muddy patches and clambering around rocks and endless tree roots. I was grateful for any handhold I could get and clung fiercely to ferns, roots, boulders, anything that would give me purchase. Inevitably it happened. Stepping forward onto ‘firm’ ground, suddenly my foot had slid from beneath me and I dangled over the edge, in a less than comfortable version of the sideways splits.
I hauled myself up, with a little help, and stood there shaking for a minute or two. The way back was just as fraught as the way ahead might be. We looked at each other, recognising the folly of our situation. As I limped forward, I was astounded to hear the sound of voices behind us. Another foolhardy couple had disregarded the warning. How reassuring, their presence. We exchanged a few words together, and then we carried on, leaving them resting beside the water.
The way ahead was no easier, sometimes promising to climb back out of the valley, only to drop you back down to the water’s edge. I decided that the other couple must have turned back as there was no further sight nor sound of them. My legs were growing weary when finally we stepped out of the undergrowth, and onto a narrow road. An old stone bridge spanned the stream and we slumped against it. A few minutes later, who should emerge from the woods but our couple, grinning triumphantly.
I have few photos of that latter part of the walk. I was too busy hanging on, and hoping. We stood chatting companionably to our fellow walkers for quite some time, relief in our laughter. They were from Dorset, on a first visit to Yorkshire, and traveling in a campervan. We discussed good places to visit, and consulted each of our maps before agreeing to take slightly different routes back to Goathland. Theirs appeared longer and we joked that whoever was back first should buy the beers.
Our route climbed gently through a forest of ferns, until at last we crested the hill. Just the faintest hint of sunshine lit the rolling expanse ahead. Still we had to toil upwards, and upwards some more, but it no longer mattered. We were free of the canyon.
Up above the woods it looked a long way down to the valley floor. At the top of the stepped incline we had chosen not to climb, there was a map. If you look closely you will see that there are two paths marked. The one we followed, beside the beck, and an alternative ‘permissive’ path, a little higher up. With hindsight….
Almost back to the village, something a little unusual caught our eye, through a gap in the stone wall. Can you see what they are?
Alpaca! I was prepared for moorland sheep, but this was a bit of a surprise. The sheep were busy munching, and kept themselves to themselves.
Arriving at the long village green, we spotted, far ahead of us, our couple who had taken the ‘longer’ route. No hurry to catch them up. St. Mary’s Church was open, inviting a quick look inside. Simple, but beautiful. The stained glass, beacons of light.
I was wrong, of course. There was a hurry! We arrived at the pub at 2.40pm, only to find that they stopped serving food at 2.30pm. The menu, tantalising, but out of bounds. If you’re thinking that this walk was a disaster, start to finish, well, I might be tempted to agree with you. But that wouldn’t be true. It was taxing, no doubt, but it gave me a perspective that I wouldn’t otherwise have enjoyed.
You know, from the title of this post, that I’ve been here a time or two before. For a look at Goathland itself, and details of the Rail Trail, take a look back at Steam’s up in North Yorkshire. I think I’ve earned a week off now, don’t you?
I’m away to the Algarve on Thursday, so that gives me plenty of time to catch up with everybody before I go. I won’t be posting a walk next Monday, because I don’t have Wifi in Tavira. I suspect it will be too warm to think about walking far. I’ll be back the following week, though, and more than happy to have your company. Details, as always, on my Jo’s Monday walk page. Many thanks to all of you who follow along so loyally, and to my lovely contributors, who make this all possible. And now, enough of me- let’s put the kettle on!
We start with sunny September memories from Jude. A swathe of beauty, fit for a queen :
And a walk to improve your photographic skills, with lovely Debbie :
Swirling mists in the Pyrenees, accompany Drake :
What mischief is Jackie up to, back in Toronto?
Lady Lee makes Malta look irresistible again!
More beautiful memories from Becky! She knows all too well that I love this place :
Agness hails originally from Poland, but she likes to keep on the move!
Cheryl conquers her fear of heights for some magnificent views. Braver than me!
And Woolly? He’s lingering with the war graves :
I couldn’t choose a better traveling companion than Gilly. Let her show you her home turf :
And for a jaunty Irish stroll, wouldn’t you just like to be beside Ann Christine?
Let’s finish with another garden. A classic beauty from Cady Luck Leedy :
That’s it for a little while. Enjoy Summer, if you’re here in the UK. I’ll be eating strawberries and trying to keep up with Wimbledon. Take good care, all of you! I’ll try to bring back some cake.