Thomas P. Ogden

Day 5 - Gargrave to Malham

Pennine Way day 5, via the River Aire.

Look at that tiddler of a walk! Only 10km. Well, after four days of full-time marching, my feet were starting to fall apart. I had a worryingly deep hole in my right heel, and blisters on my blisters. I’ll spare you more detail. Thus, I had decided to take an afternoon off on Wednesday to keep them clean, dry and rested.

Knowing that a shorter, flatter, sunnier walk awaited me, I felt a zillion times cheerier than the morning before. I quickly reached the River Aire for a tranquil waterside stroll. Baby lambs bounced about as I meandered through their meadows—that sort of thing. I passed Airton and the big, renovated farmhouses of Hanlith, and approached the famed destination of Malham at noon. I found Town Head Farm to camp with splendid views of Malham Cove, and remarked to myself on the number of hand-written, laminated signs around the place.

‘No smoking. Switch lights off. Pay before pitching. Do not leave taps running. No fires. No camping beyond this sign. No noise between 11pm and 6am….’

I need not have feared all these regulations, as I received a friendly welcome. The camping shop had recently closed so there was nowhere to buy gas, the lady explained, and kindly brought me out a cup of tea—my first in three days! I rinsed my socks in the sink and hung them out on barbed-wire to dry. Further bylaws were posted through the afternoon; I kept checking to make sure I remained a law-abiding, lone camper.

‘What network are you on? If you stand in the middle of the main road a bit up from here you can get O2… if you’re tall enough.’

England were playing football later on, so I wandered down to a pub to watch it. Finding it hard to stay awake I left soon after half-time, ready to scale the limestone cliffs of the Cove in the morning.

Gargrave to
Malham Profile Map
Day Distance Ascent Duration Campsite Directives
5 10.0 km 241 m 3 h 73