England Feels Like a Long Lost Cousin

I’m sitting in the dim light of the Lister Arms pub, in Malham, Yorkshire Dales, after a 6-mile hike over hills, dales, stone walls and muddy fields that left Sam and I exhausted but happy. Our guide, MarkReid, literally wrote the books about walking here, he specializes in pub-
-to pub guides that take people to the very heart of this lovely section of Northern England.

With his pointer Elvis champing at the leash, we walked to an amazing geologic edifice called the Cove, which looks like Niagara Falls might look if there was no longer any water flowing over it. A huge rock face, hundreds of feet up, hundreds of feet wide, out in the open fields, and after we clambored to the top, we bopped around on ancient weather and glacier-worn stones that were round on top and looked like they once had water running over them. And they did!

There was an army of photographers way up there near the edge, all setting up tripods to shoot either the incredible 40-mile view, or the falcons which nest on the cliffs. We learned about the eighth century walls, distinctive from the ones that are straighter and built in the middle ages, these are falling down rock piles, and almost zig zag. All over these fields, so many people have tred, so many different histories before us amidst the green grass and the grazing sheep.

I first wanted to come here two years ago when I saw photos that our friends Robbie and Cathie showed us from a trip to Bingley, about 15 miles from where we are tonight. This place is just as wonderful and gorgeous as their photos, and after all of my traveling, visiting England feels like seeing a long-lost cousin. So familiar, so friendly, and such a welcoming place!