Mallyan Spout

Jo’s Monday walk : Mallyan Spout revisited

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!

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We start with sunny September memories from Jude.  A swathe of beauty, fit for a queen :

Garden Portrait : Glamis Castle Walled Garden

And a walk to improve your photographic skills, with lovely Debbie :

A walk around quirky Bordeaux

Swirling mists in the Pyrenees, accompany Drake :

Like an upstair jungle

What mischief is Jackie up to, back in Toronto?

Hot Plate

Lady Lee makes Malta look irresistible again!

Our Malta experience 2

More beautiful memories from Becky!  She knows all too well that I love this place :

An evening stroll in Mertola

Agness hails originally from Poland, but she likes to keep on the move!

Mapping Melbourne- a Walking Tour around the City Sights

Cheryl conquers her fear of heights for some magnificent views.  Braver than me!

Hiking Inwangsan in Summer

And Woolly?  He’s lingering with the war graves :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk26

I couldn’t choose a better traveling companion than Gilly.  Let her show you her home turf :

Views of Dartmouth

And for a jaunty Irish stroll, wouldn’t you just like to be beside Ann Christine?

Early Morning Kilkenny 

Let’s finish with another garden.  A classic beauty from Cady Luck Leedy :

Jo’s Monday walk : A Visit to Sissinghurst

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.

 

Steam’s up in North Yorkshire

What is the magic of the steam train?  I’m not sure, but if North York Moors Railway knew the answer, they’d bottle it.  Noisy, smelly, sooty – not the adjectives you’d normally associate with a top class tourist attraction, but on a sunny spring morning in Grosmont, the air positively thrums with excitement.  Celebrating 60 years this year, the North York Moors Railway is an unqualified success story.

“The Green Knight” arrives at Grosmont

I was enjoying the best of all possible worlds because I was riding the train from Grosmont to Goathland, and walking back, with my Nordic walking friends.  Arriving on the platform around 11am, there was an air of serenity and calm.  The view along the platform spoke of all the delights of England’s green and pleasant land.  Unhurriedly purchasing a ticket, I gazed around.  The pretty blue benches were inviting, but I knew that if I sat down I could be tempted to lose the remainder of the day.

A peaceful start at Grosmont

An empty platform

Delicious coffee smells filled the air, and a couple of my ever hungry walking pals wolfed down bacon and sausage sarnies.  A tempting array of scones and cakes sat on the counter of the café.

One minute the platform was empty, the next there was a bustle of people and cameras everywhere.  “It’s coming!”  Sure enough, a loud toot and a hiss heralded the arrival of “The Green Knight”, majestically rolling towards the platform.  The cream and maroon carriages gleamed.  Hastily snapping away, along with everybody else who wanted to capture a piece of the moment, I scrambled on board just in time.  “Tickets please”, that familiar cry, then we were enveloped in ink blackness as we chugged into the tunnel.  Jokes about “Murder on the Orient Express” were bandied around, till we emerged unscathed into the sunlight.

Where did everybody come from?

Arriving at Goathland

Milk churns in waiting

I felt unbelievably lucky to be witnessing this idyllic scenery on such a beautiful day.  All too soon it was time to alight at Goathland, carriage doors slamming and the guard scurrying about.  Reluctantly I left the gentle monster and was herded up and counted by our walk leader.

Another treat was in store.  With a fair level of fitness between us, it had been decided that we would walk to Mallyan Spout, and then join the popular Rail Trail along the River Esk.  Goathland is “Heartbeat” territory, the scene of a popular TV series, and as such always busy.  Many people simply ride the train and stroll around the village.  There are just enough public houses, shops and cafes to cater for everyone, and the village green is pure England.  Not for us the tempting benches.  I doubt if we’d have found a space anyway.

The pastoral scene on the village green, Goathland

Too-wit, too-whoo!

Always when you’re out walking, you know that if at first you’re heading downwards, there will be a price to pay.  There are many steps down to Mallyan Spout, and the scramble across the rocks to a viewing point can be challenging, but the amount of rain in recent times had guaranteed that the waterfall would be at its best.  So it proved.  Satisfied with our efforts so far, we stopped by the river for our picnic, and to exchange tips with passersby.

Sparkling River Esk

Mallyan Spout waterfall

Perfect for a picnic

Time to move on at a leisurely pace, because, of course, the climb was coming.  Several of the walkers are in their seventies but they’re a lively and determined bunch, and we had soon earned our reward of a level track to pursue our way back to Grosmont.  The Rail Trail is easy walking and can be accomplished by most people.  I love to follow a river, and the occasional glimpse and sound of a passing steam train has necks craning to see.  The grass verges were laced with tiny blue forget-me-nots and great swathes of wild garlic swamped the senses.

Before long we were looking down on Grosmont, and the trail ended by the Old School House, now an attractive restaurant.  A cool drink had certainly been earned and it was lovely to slip the boots off and while away an hour.  The gates of the level crossing heralded the comings and goings of the steam giants, but when we returned to the platform en route for the car park and home, all was again peaceful and quiet.  Just time for a quick peak in the “ladies room”.

A heat haze over Grosmont

A “ladies” with style

Numerous days out can be spent on and around the North York Moors Railway.  At this time of year, it’s just coming into it’s own. For timetable and details of events, see www.nymr.co.uk