NORTH YORKSHIRE, England—Malham Cove is, for lack of a better description, a very big rock. A vertical slab of limestone rising almost 300 feet above the Yorkshire countryside, swept by rain and mist, it’s the sort of natural formation that provokes an involuntary gulp.
It’s also climbable. A series of steps are hacked into the stone on its western lip, where the grade is gentler. The view from the top is breathtaking, but the ascent’s much more earnestly so. By the time I reached the cliff above, I was panting profusely. The English octogenarians in tweed and flat caps passing me without a care, waving merrily, were having the same effect on my ego that the climb was having on my lungs.
Finally, feet planted firmly on top of the cove, I took in the miles of green countryside rolling away beneath me. Gorgeous as it was, the most striking perception atop Malham Cove is not visual but auditory. The wind isn’t quite a howl—it’s more of a mournful shriek, punctuated by eerie spells of silence and the bleating of lambs. It’s a scene straight out of Wuthering Heights, and by the time I started my descent, I believed that Emily Brontë must have been, by Yorkshire countryside standards, a cheerful sort of gal.
I was glad to reach the cozy village of Malham, in the valley below. Cold and wet as a hike in the Dales may be, the warmth of a pub is always near at hand, and a welcome warmth it is. Heartened by a pint of ale, I set off on the stroll back to my residence in Skipton, eight miles away.
My infantile anger towards the ageing locals did not last long. After a few hours of trudging through damp pastures, I had figured out that Yorkshire cows are nastily aggressive, but I still hadn’t figured out my map. I came to a road, waved a car down, and asked its elderly driver to give me a lift. She kindly complied.
Jorge A. Araya ’14 is an editorial writer in Dunster House.