This walk at Malham Tarn avoids much of the traditional route but includes the short climb to the excellent viewpoint of Great Close Hill. From here the route changes as it passes through some excellent limestone scenery to the north of the tarn.
It is only in the last few years that I have started to appreciate the fantastic scenery which surrounds Malham Tarn. This is particularly so to the north and east of the tarn, definitely its best side. The short and easy graded climb to the summit of Great Close Hill yields some of the best views over the tarn. Views are usually best when looking down on the landscape and this is no exception. If you do nothing else I heartily recommend the efort needed to climb the hill.
However to really appreciate the scenery around Malham Tarn head in to the remote limestone plateau north of Middle House Farm. Here farm tracks and faint paths wind their way through some of the best limestone pavements and rocky scars in the area. There is an added bonus that you are unlikely to encounter many if any other walkers. Wander at will, it is access land. You may encounter a few more on the return route as it reverses a pleasant section of the Pennine Way national trail.
Malham Tarn is really somewhere that you gain so much by planning the walk before hand, particularly if you can map read. The ‘normal‘ route includes a great deal of road walking on its western side. There is simply no need to do this except for the satisfaction of completing the circuit. Planning the route before hand will make this obvious.
The section through the limestone from Middle House Farm does need some careful navigation. The rough farm track at the start soon disappears (at the gate) and from then a faint path winds its way through the limestone. However just pick your own route. If it is cloudy or you unsure take a rough north west bearing on your compass and stick to that. Even if the path is lost it then does not matter.
It is a good example of ‘comfort compass’ work.
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