Strolling the Grounds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park

On the Tuesday morning of Adam and Kayla’s visit, I told them about a few places that we could visit and gave them the task of deciding what we would do that day while I was out getting my haircut. They checked the places out online, and when I came home about an hour later, they had planned the rest of the week for us! It was perfect, and I was so relieved because I put a lot of pressure on myself when visitors come as I want to be sure they have an amazing time.

For Tuesday, they decided that we would go to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park as the weather was sunny and without a dark cloud in sight. (Can you guess where this is heading?) The park is about a 35- to 40-minute drive from our house, so when we got close and Adam and Kayla noticed how big the park is, they were surprised. Apparently, from the website, they had come to the conclusion that it was just a park in the center of a town with some sculptures in it, but they still wanted to check it out. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is actually a 500-acre country park, so they were very happily surprised to know this was where we would be spending the afternoon.

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We had a nice picnic lunch on the grounds near the YSP Centre before heading off to explore. We headed down to the Boat House and the Lower Lake first. YSP is currently hosting the Wave, which was part of the poppies installation from the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red that was at the Tower of London. It was still being constructed when we were there, but we were still able to catch them installing it for its opening on 5th September.

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We crossed over the Cascade Bridge and risked our lives passing the Highland cattle grazing right in front of us. (Have you see the horns on those things?!) We followed the path through the woods until we reached Seventy-one Steps.

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It was at this point where I might have made a fatal error in continuing on. Because, unfortunately for me, but fortunately for my adventurous girl, we didn’t have the backpack/baby carrier with us as we had forgotten it in Richard’s car and he was at work. Adam and Kayla said they were going to carry on up the steps to the Longside Gallery, which is quite a distance if your daughter gets tired and needs to be carried. I debated about what we should do and finally decided to go along with them.

Our girl made it up over half of the steps on her own before asking me to carry her. I was quite impressed! She then walked a bit then I carried her a bit then she walked a bit then…. Phew! During this ascent towards the Longside Gallery, we could see the sky becoming more black by the second. We were moving as quickly as we could with an inquisitive and independent toddler wanted to touch every tree and stick in sight. We did make it to the gallery for a bit of a break before we decided to risk the threat of rain and head back towards the car park.

We were all tired and my arms felt as if they were about to fall off, but our girl was even more tired, so I ended up carrying her the whole way down across the Cascade Bridge. Shortly before arriving at the bridge, the rain arrived. Oh, did I mention we had one adult-sized raincoat between us?! Thankfully, the little ones were protected, but to avoid the rain as much as possible, we ran from tree to tree. Our girl didn’t mind the rain one bit and was venturing out whilst we huddled under the trees. This did make for some great photo opportunities and lots of laughing and smiling.

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Eventually, we ended up at Camellia House for a short time, so my little niece could have an afternoon snack of milk. I really enjoyed wandering around that space. It was a bit of a secret garden with sculptures hidden amongst the trees and foliage. It was a great little detour on our way to the car.

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After a great day at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, we ended our day the way we ended pretty much every day that Adam and Kayla were here…with ice cream! We stopped at Charlotte’s Ice Cream Parlour in Whitley. We got the ice cream and ate it in the car. The ice cream was absolutely delicious, so I’d definitely recommend a quick stop there if you are in the area. It was another great, albeit exhausting, day with our wonderful visitors.

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A Magnificent Day in Malham

This past weekend was Richard’s birthday, so we decided to have a family day out since the weather was to be nice. We brainstormed, and I did some Google searches when I stumbled upon a walk to a waterfall in Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. I mentioned it to Richard and he said, “I was going to suggest Malham!” He had been before on a school trip when he was 17 and I have never been, so we were both looking forward to a family hike and enjoying the sunshine.

We set off on Saturday morning and decided to keep an eye out for a place that sells sandwiches that we could take on our hike for a picnic. We were getting close to Malham when Richard spotted Town End Farm Shop, so we swung in and ordered some simple sandwiches to go. It was such a cute little place with a tea room that was packed to the brim with cyclists stopping for a quick refuel. The three of us shared some delicious homemade granola bars whilst we waited. As you can tell from the photo below, our girl particularly enjoyed the one with walnuts with chocolate.

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Arriving in Malham we came across a line of cars already parked on the roadside, so we pulled in behind them. There is a sign stating that parking in the village is free however they ask for a £1 donation into the giant milk jug. We were happy to oblige for a prime parking spot. If there is no roadside parking available, there are a couple of car parks in the village although I’m unsure if they charge for parking.

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Whilst at the farm shop, Richard picked up a brochure with a few walks around Malham. We found one that went to Malham Cove as well as Janet’s Foss, the waterfall that I had seen online. It was roughly 4.5 miles long, which was perfect for us. We set off toward Malham Cove and it’s quite an impressive limestone wall as you approach it. The cove along with the cows in the vibrant green field and the beautiful stream make it truly an idyllic site.

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The walk then took us up the hillside to the top of the cove into a field of limestone flags. From there, we could see for miles – some of the best views in Yorkshire for sure! The directions on the map were a bit mysterious, so we ended up needing to backtrack a bit and managed to get back on course. It was all fine though as we were so enjoying the weather and being together. Our sweet girl is a connoisseur of animal noises at the moment, so the theme tune to our walk was compromised of her humming, moo-ing, and baa-ing. It kept us laughing and smiling the entire way!

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Once we got to the bottom near Gordale Scar, we grabbed a seat in the grass and enjoyed our sandwiches. They were the simplest sandwiches, but they tasted so good after all of that walking. Our girl finished her lunch and decided she would set off on her own adventure. We sat and watched her wander around as other walkers gave us little smiles when they spotted her enjoying her walk. I love that she brings joy to nearly everyone who sees her.

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Once we rounded her up, we decided not to go further into Gordale Scar and instead turned around to grab ice creams from the refreshment van parked along the roadside. It was the perfect treat to continue the birthday celebrations of our favorite guy.

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We then set off again in search of the waterfall, Janet’s Foss. I thought we still had a bit further to walk, but it was more or less across the road and through the trees! It was beautiful and there was quite a crowd gathered around the waterfall soaking up the day in the shade of the trees. We enjoyed the rest of the walk through the beautifully lush forest before it ended on a trail through some fields leading us back into the village.

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I’d love to go back and check out the village as well because it looks adorably quaint. We really enjoyed our family day celebrating Richard’s birthday walking around Malham. I’d definitely recommend a visit to the area as it truly is stunning!

Hiking the Yorkshire Three Peaks

A few months back, our friends asked if we would be interested in hiking the Three Peaks with them as part of a charity event. The Brit and I both love to try new things, so we both happily agreed — he knew what it was and I had no clue aside from it was a hike. I went about googling Three Peaks and came across the National Three Peaks, which involves hiking the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales…in 24 hours. I consider myself to be in fairly good shape, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this.

Thankfully, the Brit was sitting beside me when I came upon this and he righted me. We actually would be completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks, which including hiking the peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough in 12 hours. In total, it would be a roughly 25-mile hike. As the website shows, you can pay to have a guide lead you on certain days, but we did it on our own with a map (that I didn’t understood)!

So, the night before the hike, we stayed in an old farmhouse with rooms that the family rented out. I do not remember the name of it and would not really recommend it, so for that reason I am not going to try to figure out what it was called. The good thing about the location of the farmhouse was how convenient it was to get the the village of Pen-y-Ghent in the morning as we were set to begin at 7 AM.

The morning of the 21st of April, we got to the village and clocked in at the Pen-y-Ghent Cafe so we could have record of our official time, as the hike is a loop and you finish by checking back in at the cafe. Off we went to tackle the first of the peaks and we were all in good spirits as we made it to the top in about an hour.

At the top of Peak 1, Pen-y-Ghent!

When you reach the top of Pen-y-Ghent, you think this will be a breeze, but upon starting the descent you realize just how far it is between each peak. I have no idea the exact mileage between them, but I’m guessing 6-8 miles. Some of the hiking, mostly the ascents and immediate descents, is on rough trails, but a lot of the in-between-peak-hiking is through fields. And, on the day we were hiking, the fields had become extremely marsh-like. We often found ourselves taking the long way around just to avoid sinking knee-deep into mud and water. It was definitely an adventure and a bit of a puzzle trying to find the best route!

The crazy fog at the top of the peak.

Our friends crossing the stream.

The beautiful Yorkshire countryside.

We were lucky in that the weather held up and was mainly overcast until we nearly had reached the top of the second peak. At that point, it began to alternate between sleet and rain for quite awhile. We all pulled our rain gear out and kept it on for most of the rest of the day.

Nearly at the second peak, Whernside.

The photo above was taken from along side the road, where a few food trucks were set up. We had packed all of our food and drinks, so we just stopped for about 10 minutes to wait for our friends to drink their teas. (As I write that, I realize how completely English it sounds…stopping for a tea on a full-day hike — I love it!)

Enjoying the view hiking up Whernside.

Can you guess the Brit’s favorite color?

Looking back at Whernside…enjoying a brief break from the wet weather!

Between the second and third peak, we came upon a pub and the four of us were in need of some drying out (and a real toilet), so we made a pit stop. I enjoyed a pint of Diet Coke and a cup of tea (yes, this time I participated!) while sitting in front of the fireplace. It was nice to take a little break. We were soon off again as we only had one more peak to conquer. To me, the third peak, Ingleborough, was the toughest. The path up it was steep and it was hailing hard. The Brit had shorts on and the hail was pelting his legs. A couple pieces hit me in the face and stung like mad. All in a day’s fun, right?!

You can see some of the hail settling on Ingleborough. Fun times ahead!

Starting the trek up Ingleborough.

It was like we were on a different planet at the top.

When we finally reached the top of Ingleborough, it was a relief, but we had no idea how far we had to go until we were back in the village of Pen-y-Ghent, so the two of us kept guessing until we came across a sign that said it was 1.5 miles away. We picked up the pace a little to try to make the 12-hour mark so we could say we actually completed the ‘challenge’!

Happy to be near the end! (That is the first peak in the background.)

At this point, I could not wait to walk on an even surface. My feet just wanted a flat footpath that wasn’t wet, muddy, or rocky. I was so grateful when we got to the village, but my feet and legs almost didn’t know what to do on an even surface. It was such an odd sensation. Regardless, we were happy to be done and happy to have tried something new! We had completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks in less than 12 hours!

Back at the cafe where we started…tired and ready for a pint or two!

So, would I recommend the Yorkshire Three Peaks to others? Most definitely!

There are a few things to consider though. Because you are hiking for hours and for miles, you will go through moments when you are excited and loving life and others when you are annoyed and frustrated. Also, I would recommend that you are in a healthy physical state because it is trying at times and it is not an easy walking hike — your heart rate will rise and you will sweat. You will need to carry sufficient drinks and food with you because, although there are a few places as I mentioned that sell provisions, I was rarely hungry when we passed the food trucks and the pub, so it was good to have our own supply. And lastly, you should have proper hiking shoes or boots that are waterproof and sturdier than your every day trainers (sneakers) — you may laugh, but we saw people out there with trainers on!

Truthfully, it was an incredible experience and I would do it again (good thing as the Brit is already planning to try to beat our time)!