I have a New Year tradition which started about 10 or 11 years ago. A friend and I pick a date in January and head off on a walk, wander or if we’re feeling brave, a hike.
It started with a blustery climb up Pen-Y-Ghent back in 2011 (I think). It was blowing a gale, it was freezing but it was so much fun and it starts the New Year off in such a positive way, giving you that kick up the bum you might need after an over-indulgent Christmas.
Over the years our walking twosome has changed; we’ve acquired partners and small children so the routes have had to be adapted to cater for all, basically child-friendly. However we soon came to realise our walking endeavours are best tackled with just the two of us! It might take us a while to get round to it though… for instance our new year walk this year, 2022, didn’t happen until June…but it still counts, right?
Although one year we did stupidly decide to take an 11-month-old up Whernside in hurricane winds and freezing rain, he screamed for the majority of it, especially when he had his nappy changed at the top… In all honesty, though, I believe it was character building for him.
I thought I’d share with you a few of my favourite walks around Yorkshire, these vary from ‘snail-paced bimble’, to ‘oh my God why am I doing this!’. I like to make sure everyone is covered.
- Gordale Scar – I’ve only ever walked to Gordale Scar from Malham but you can drive around to it and just walk up to the waterfall, but where’s the fun in that?! The circular walk is gorgeous and you also get to climb the waterfall. So this one is not for the faint-hearted, the climb isn’t overly difficult but it still involves climbing! Also if you do head here, take a quick wander down to Janet’s Foss, it’s well worth the detour.
- Pen-Y-Ghent (circular route) – Start in Horton in Ribblesdale, finish in Horton in Ribblesdale. This walk takes about 3 hours, depending on your pace but to be honest if you’re out in the Dales then you’re there for some peace and quiet, let it take as long as you want it to take. Enjoy!
- Whernside (circular route) – Start from Ribblehead viaduct. I adore Whernside purely for the breathtaking views. Pen-Y-Ghent is slightly more challenging, whereas Whernside gives you a slightly more gentle incline. Ingleborough can kiss my a**e.
- Malham Cove – This is another one of those that can take you as long as you like. It’s a beautiful place to just have a wander around and you get the most picturesque views. You can investigate around the cove and marvel at the vastness or make your way to the top to check out the freaky limestone. There are also lots more walking routes from there for you to find another adventure.
- St.Ives (Bingley) – St.Ives has a cute duck pond that is perfect for a quiet stroll, they also have the woods for you to explore. This one is more of a relaxed Sunday wander than an extensive hike, but beautiful nonetheless.
- Here’s a bonus walk for those that love to start the New Year with a challenge! Also, I can’t make a blog post about walking without mentioning the Yorkshire Three Peaks. I wouldn’t recommend doing them in January but that’s completely up to you!
Check out this packing list if you feel the urge to take on the challenge!
‘When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s our world for a moment. I wanted to give that world to someone else.’ – Georgia O’Keefe.