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Tightrope Walk at Malham
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2015, 10:34:32 PM »
Manchester Coach Rambles Group Walk 22nd November 2015

Tightrope Walk at Malham.

Our first Sunday of freezing temperatures may have been late coming but there was no escaping wind chill temperatures of below freezing in the biting cold which cut through the multiple layers of Manchester Coach Rambles walkers at Malham on Sunday. The B party climbed from Airton and my Garmin etrek informed me the chill pushed the B party up the 800 foot climb to Weets Top at an average speed of three miles an hour – not bad for a ‘moderate’ grade walk but our lunch break just after the summit was to be brief due to the cold wind. We managed to find a wall to shelter us from the bitter wind when we took our lunch but we did linger for long.

The sun shone but still the wind blew as we rose onto the limestone plateau of High Stony Bank and visibility was terrific as we watched the cloud gradually rise and saw distant views of Pendle Hill.

By the time we reached Malham Tarn a bright sun shone, the wind subsided and we were rewarded with wonderful late-autumnal colours at the Tarn.

Descent via the limestone pavement above Malham Cove is always a terrific walk but we were to receive an undreamt of reward when we arrived to view Malham Cove from above -   two highwires 300 feet above the River Aire flowing from the base of Malham Cove, one being crossed by a male, the other with by a female highwire walker, each attached by a harness. With no horizon pole for balance the wire bounced a little with each step. Occasionally the highwire walker would fall: if the wire was between the legs, he or she would use the elasticity of the wire to begin to bounce and then suddenly jump from being astride to being upright on the wire, allow the bouncing movement to subside and then continue. If the fall was from the wire, the length of cord to the harness meant that the highwire was out of reach and again the bouncing enabled first a jump to grab the wire, then a jump to land horizontally on the wire and finally a jump to become upright! The barefoot highwire walkers would unexpectedly pirouette on the wire to change direction and cause our hearts to miss a beat!

One member of the group sat out of sight – she couldn’t watch! Quite a few people walked across the famous limestone pavement above the Cove totally unaware of the drama taking place above the cliff edge.

The final reward was a delightful sunset and dusk as we descended to Malham.

Next Coach trip Sunday 6th December to Castleton: see  for more details.

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