GYM & TONEIC

Bank Holiday Hike

Bear Grylls and Ray Mears Malham adventure

How many weeks ago was bank holiday… procrastinating Pete over here has been meaning to write this since then! I did write a blog about what to wear when exercising (or more like what not to wear) post hike, I felt compelled to write that! But I never got round to writing about the actual walk itself, so here goes…

The hike was going to be up Mount Snowden, but the weather was hit and miss over in Wales that weekend, so Snowden is still on my bucket list for now! My friend Nicola (Botty, the one that doesn’t drink enough water) joined me in the fresh-aired fun. Completely out of character for us both to be getting high on endorphins, as opposed to alcoholic beverages on a bank holiday, a sign we’re becoming ‘sensible adults’, that can’t hack 3 day hangovers anymore.

Much of the day before our hike was spent racking our brains and Googling best places to go, a big decider on location being our likelihood of getting lost (with us both being beyond crap at geography and map reading). It was my dad that suggested a trip to Malham, a familiar name/place but I couldn’t think why initially, then it dawned on me, we’d been there on a high school trip many moons ago…  After taking a look online at the stunning scenery, terrain and relatively simple routes (that two simpletons could navigate), we set off to cross the border, Yorkshire bound.

It took us just over an hour to get there from Ramsbottom, we found it no problems at all *high-five us*, the drive taking us through stunning Yorkshire scenery. None of which was familiar from our high school trip; clearly we were ignorant, careless teens that didn’t give a damn about the countryside way back when. We parked up, got our walking boots on and headed straight to the visitors centre to get a map and a talk over the route (to minimise all chances of calling mountain rescue). With our map in hand and route roughly sketched, we were told to follow the masses, the sun was shining down on Yorkshire and Malham was packed with plenty of visitors, and off we went on our merry way.

First stop, Janet’s Foss, a small and wonderful waterfall and pool, nestled in woodland along the footpath from Malham Village toward Gordale Scar.

First stop, we made it, no detours or deviations!
First stop, we made it, no detours or deviations!

Gordale Scar was our second landmark, a spectacular gorge with waterfalls cut into the towering limestone hillside, it’s true size and scale only fully appreciated once in the scar. We took the advice from the very nice chap that sketched our map in the visitors centre, and didn’t climb up the waterfall. He warned us of the dangers and the number of accidents that happen there year on year; we didn’t want to be the idiots making headline news that day… Although there were a few people that were climbing it, I know I keep banging on about clothing, but these people definitely weren’t dressed to climb cliffs, brave and reckless souls!

Gordale Scare
Gordale Scar
Scaling heights... braver than me!
Scaling heights… braver than me!
Crazy people climbing the waterfall - in inappropriate clothing!
Crazy people climbing the waterfall – in inappropriate clothing!

Our third and midway stop was Malham Tarn, a nature reserve area, owned by the National Trust. This was the longest section of our circular walk, the stunning scenery almost lost on us, with a near death experience… we had to cross a field full of crazy cows, that I swear were going to go for us, which Nicola found highly amusing (at first!). I hate cows and their murderous eyes, my heart was in my mouth and we were both getting ready to jump a stone wall to avoid them. Our fearful fate behind us, we had a quick rest stop at the Tarn, to take in the views of England’s highest freshwater lake, and treated ourselves to a 99 – we’d earned and burned it!

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Look at those eyes - killer!
Look at those eyes – killer!
Earned and burned!
Earned and burned!

Homebound, we headed back down towards Malham Cove, a huge curving amphitheatre shaped cliff formation of limestone rock. Which boasts impressive views down the dale towards Malham and beyond (if you can stomach getting close to the cliff edge that is!).

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That's as close to the cliff edge we dared to get...
That’s as close to the cliff edge we dared to get…

Four hours and 8.6 miles later, we made it back to Malham and headed straight to the pub! We’re Lancashire lasses, we know very well that’s how all outdoor expeditions should end… We had awesome pub grub at The Buck Inn, both of us opting for their famous Malham and Masham Pie – it was goood pie and the gravy…! With pie lining my stomach and a G&T in hand, I was happy as a pig in… mud! What a way to end of a great day.

Good job!
Good job!

If you’re seeking some fresh-aired fun, I can’t recommend Malham enough, simply stunning scenery that made trekking 8+ miles feel like a breeze. If you don’t fancy the hike, but want a trip out and bloody good pie, just go for that!

Find out more about Malham here.

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What to wear when exercising…

My shocked face - raised eyebrow Rock impression.
My shocked face – raised eyebrow Rock impression.

I felt compelled to write this after a bank holiday hike in Malham over the weekend. Some of the sights I saw (not scenery) were simply shocking, my face said it all… as above! The scenery was stunning!

Now I’m no Gok Wan of the walking world, but some of the choice outfits left me speechless – which is unheard of! I honestly couldn’t believe what some people were wearing to hike up hills, through cow pat covered fields and scrambling up rocks… the ‘looks’ included:

  • Jeans – lots of people wearing jeans (to trek 8 miles!), jeans have no give and they’re not lightweight.
  • Converse or other streetwear footwear – don’t get me wrong Converse are cool, I own a couple of pairs myself, but you’d never catch me trekking 8 miles in them. They rub after wearing them for a few hours, and give no support for your feet/ankles on that kind of terrain.

It gets better…

  • A leather mini skirt and ankle boots – honestly! WTF…
  • Shirt, smart pants and nice shoes – this guy looked like he was going on a night out… he looked great, for a night out!!
  • A lovely summer dress and strappy sandals – serious!

I feel like my mother saying this (that transition is definitely happening), but it’s not a fashion show! Your first thought should be comfort, second thought should be care (for your joints) and finally preparation (for all weather conditions) i.e. light layers.

You don’t need to go all Bear Grylls, equally you don’t need to spend a small fortune. Think about it, you’re exercising, getting a sweat on, you don’t want to dress in your Sunday best.

Hillside chic
Hillside chic

Again, I’m no Gok Wan or active wear guru, and I don’t spend a fortune on sports gear myself (to sweat in for a few hours!). Nor do I own much of your typical outdoor gear, however, my outfit included:

  • Shock Absorber sports bra – the best sports bras I have tried and tested to date, I need decent support up-top. Check out my sports bra blog Sisters Need Support!
  • Strappy sports top and hooded base layer from Asda – most supermarkets stock decent sports gear nowadays, that doesn’t cost much at all.
  • Nike ¾ length leggings – I can’t remember where I bought these, but I’d imagine from a sports discount outlet. Google branded outlets and you’ll find a few around Manchester.
  • Karrimor walking boots – I got these from Sports Direct, I think I paid about £40 for them.

Things to think about when picking your exercise clobber…

  • Comfort and ease of movement – you don’t want to feel restricted, get friction burns and so on.
  • Support for your joints – ankles, knees, hips; wear suitable footwear. I’m a self-confessed shoeaholic, I LOVE shoes. But there’s a time, place and fittingness for every pair… unless they’re Crocs, they should be banned!
  • Layers – whether you’re in the gym or the great outdoors, lightweight layers are key! Easy to add and remove as required.

Check out more pics from my hike over on my Facebook page here.

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