Friday, 1 June 2012

A grand day out

What are you and your family up to this half term? Busy running a website offering everything you need to know about things to do with children under 5 in and around Skipton as well as being a mother of two, our guest blogger Kate Taylor can’t think of anything better than a grand day out in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Moving from London to Rylstone on 24 December last year was without doubt the very best Christmas present our family has ever given itself.

We have drawn back our curtains every day to the same breathtaking view and fallen in love with it afresh each morning.

Rylstone Cross
We’ve been smitten in all weathers. We’ve watched as mists have rolled in and completely covered Hetton, barely a quarter of a mile across the fields. We’ve seen frosts glittering across the dry stone walls. We’ve watched giant hailstones bounce and skid across our lane. We’ve watched transfixed as carpets of thick snow quietly fell. We’ve seen a rainbow arc over the escarpment up to Rylstone Cross. We’ve watched as winds whistled and whipped through the trees. Needless to say, we’ve also seen rain like we’ve never seen before. And we’ve been out in it too. All of it!

When the farmer turned the cows out last week, it heralded the start of summer. And, as if on cue, we pulled back our curtains and saw our amazing view of green field after bright green field lit up by glorious sunshine. 
Malham Cove - a gentle walk
 from the village centre

Not to waste a golden opportunity, we decided to head over to Malham. I grew up in Skipton so Malham has been a regular favourite for a long time. It’s a special place for us as my husband proposed to me on the limestone pavement at the top (terrified of losing the ring to a grike!) and we couldn’t wait to introduce our two and a half-year-old daughter Olive and 6 month-old son Ted to the cove.

We parked up at the National Park Centre where there are ideas for walks and days out, a weather forecast, audio-visual presentations, displays, maps, guides and - vitally for us and our young crew – toilets, and headed for the cove.

Malham’s a beautiful place to stroll through and Olive delighted in throwing stones into the beck as we went and popping in to Town Head Barn to try out the interactive displays, fascinated by the bird calls.

She twit twoo’d her way onto the accessible path that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) has resurfaced. It’s great for pushchairs and means that, with relative ease, families can get up close to one of the jewels in the crown of God’s own county – if not the country.

As Ted snoozed on oblivious to the stunning scenery around him, we three breathed it in getting ever more excited as the cove which had seemed so tiny started to loom before us. Every single time, I am struck by how magnificent the sheer wall of limestone is. I wasn’t expecting my little girl to be quite as enthralled; but she was. She seemed even smaller and it seemed even bigger with her standing at its foot. We couldn’t drag her away from playing among the rocks, messing around in the stream and staring up, and up, and up trying to fathom what she was seeing. 
Young peregrine falcon at Malham Cove
Young peregrine falcon at Malham Cove

It was fantastic to see so many families also out enjoying the sunshine. There was a special buzz around the peregrine falcon viewing points, which are set up each year in a partnership between the RSPB and the YDNPA to allow visitors to view these rare, spectacular birds as they nest, hunt and rear their chicks. The shorter height telescopes were a hit with children of all ages.

As we began the walk back to the car, stopping off for a quick ice cream and sit down at the village green, we decided we’d be back again soon. And the posters for the forthcoming Malham Safari played their part in tempting us! Running from 2 – 7 June, people are invited to hunt for the crowns hidden around the village as well as a host of other entertainments like the coconut shy, stream dipping with the YDNPA, archery and rifle range and duck races every day. This is a delightful event every year and this looks to be one of the best yet.

So, our first family trip to Malham was a date to remember in our ongoing love affair with this amazing part of the world, that we’re so privileged now to call home.

Kate (33), and friend Angela Appleby, run a not-for-profit website called for families highlighting places to go and things to do with children aged 0-5 in Skipton and the surrounding area. The site has had overwhelming support since it launched in July last year – attracting on average more than 4,000 hits per month with an active community on Facebook and Twitter.

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