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My Easter Challenge – Yorkshire Dales

Over the Easter week I decided to set myself a challenge with two rules:

1 – to stay in the UK

2 – all activities must be outside

The two places I chose to visit were the Yorkshire Dales and Snowdonia. These were the results for the Yorkshire Dales  :

As I drive out of the hustle and bustle the motorway and the city I am suddenly enveloped by rolling green hills, segmented by a web of stone walls. I have arrived at the Yorkshire Dales and it is as beautiful as ever. The windows are down and I am breathing in that fresh air. I haven’t got a clue where I am going – I am just letting my satnav navigate me through my surroundings to a place called Appletreewick where my Dad and brother, Ben, are waiting for me in the sunshine bus at Masons Campsite. Also waiting are hundreds (I exaggerate) of the cutest little balls of fluff ever – LAMBS.

Day 1

All snug in my sleeping bag, bar my icy nose, I am woken up to a chorus of baby, and not so baby, ‘baas’. It was very loud and also at 0630 – so thank goodness they are cute. As usual I am one of the last ones up, so as I step out of my sleeping quarters I am greeted with a gorgeous bacon sarnie and a cuppa. Now I am ready to face the day.

As a raging Harry Potter fan I couldn’t miss the opportunity of going to Malham Cove. For the muggles amongst you – one of the scenes in Deathly Hallows Part I is filmed there. We started our walk at Malham Tarn, a beautiful lake in the middle of the Dales. Bloody hell it was cold getting out the car – the wind was bitter. Annoyingly I had forgotten my gloves. However fear not – fortunately I had a pair of socks I had just changed out of. Conveniently to fit in theme with the day I had one Ravenclaw and on Hufflepuff sock. Clearly it was meant to be.

As lovely as Malham Tarn was, we thought we better start moving so plodded off in the direction of said Harry Potter destination. As we reached the stoney ridge, it came flooding back to me how beautiful Malham Cove is. The view of the Dales stretches for miles, watched over by a dramatic Yorkshire sky. We sat for a while taking in the views.

On the way back to the car we took a slightly different route for a change of scenery. Part of this route was surrounded by wild garlic and I must confess to having a small chuckle at a lady rubbing her hands on it to get a better whiff. The look of instant regret was priceless.  

After a spot of classic squashed sandwiches and a packet of salt & vinegar crisps by a small waterfall we carried the footpath round to what seemed to be another waterfall. Although the difference with this one was that the footpath went through it – to carry on we had to climb up and over. Fantastic. If my Mum was there she would have had kittens.

The highlight on the walk back to the car form here were a bunch of very hairy cows. I decided to name them Hagrid and Baby Hagrid to fit in with the daily theme.

To end the day – pub. Rude not to.

 Day 2

Again, I am woken up to a chorus of baby, and not so baby, ‘baas’. This time however the patter of rain is added in to the mix. Damn, what to do now that involved the great (wet) outdoors. Well fear not – Stump Cross Caverns came to the rescue. You are probably wondering – what the hell is that?!

The caves were discovered in 1860 by miners and have been opened to the public ever since to see the spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. I never knew that going down into a cave would be so hilarious. Word of warning: wear the helmets they give you. You will spend most of your time either bashing your own head or laughing at someone else taking on the ceiling head first.

After exploring in the caves, we came out to find that the rain had stopped  (hooray!) so headed over to another of my favourite spots in the Dales – Brimham Rocks.

Engulfed by ginormous rock formations and fern, everywhere you look there are people smiling. Whether it is an old married couple strolling through hand in hand to children clambering up and over the rocks or trail runners to families out for a picnic – there really is something for everyone here.

To end the day – pub. Rude not to.

Day 3

On my last day I couldn’t resist a coffee and freshly baked pain au chocolat from Masons Campsite – it did not disappoint.

I thought a trail run along the Dales Way footpath, that coincidently ran along the foot of the campsite, would be a good conclusion for me Yorkshire Dales micro-adventure, and I was not wrong. The clouds were fit to burst so I was slightly hesitant but eventually I thought “sod it!”, and off I went. Within 10 minutes the fun began with a bunch of sheep and their babies in my way on the footpath. BABY SHEEP ARE SO CUTE. Also spotted were lots of ducklings. I promise I did not attempt to cuddle any of them at any time.

This section of the Dales Way followed along the river and at one point I had the childish delight of having to hop over some stepping stones. As I chose to run at tea time, I had the whole path to myself. Bliss. After 5km I stopped and sat at the edge of the river. Sat down on the river bank a light shower of rain started. All I could hear were the rain drops on the river with a few birds interrupting to cheerily chirp away. As the rain stopped, the river turned into a mirror and blurred into one with the hills and the sky. It was beautiful. I don’t have any pictures of this unfortunately. I wanted to enjoy every moment of it without my phone, so you will just have to use that imagination of yours.

To end the day – pub. Rude not to.

My time in the Dales was a time for spending time with family, laughter and reflection. No mobile phone (there was no signal even if I wanted to), no stresses, fresh air and some tranquillity (apart from the sheep at feeding time). Whether like me you struggle with mental health or not, I cannot emphasis enough how refreshing getting outside can be. Get out there and take a deep breath people!

The next blog will be on the equally awesome second half of my trip over in Snowdonia – so stay tuned 😀 For now – here is a video of some super cute ducklings off for a swimming lesson that I spotted on my run.

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