A misty morning at Malham Tarn.

The temperatures for Bank Holiday Monday promised to be high, which is great, except if your a black Labrador like Hugo, or indeed if your me. I think I’m more of a snowflake kind of girl than a sunshine kind of girl sometimes. 🙂

We decided to head for water, but we’re keen to avoid the bank holiday traffic, so driving to the Lakes or seaside we’re out. Instead we made our way to Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales. This glacial lake nestles at an altitude of 375 metres and is looked after by the National Trust. There is parking on both sides of the water.. We parked at Water Sinks and walked along a limestone track that leads down to the tarn. Hugo was straight in there. The sun hadn’t yet burnt off the morning mist, so the temperatures were both hound and human friendly. 😉

Although the fog enveloped the water, there was still more than a hint of beauty on show.

A misty Malham Tarn.
Grass of Parnassus.
Young Wagtail.
Malham Tarn.
Female Gadwall.

The tarn and its surroundings are home to many water bird species ( if only we could see them! ) and when its clear you can apparently get a great view from the bird Hide. Other possible sightings include otters who have been spotted swimming at dusk & dawn. It was lovely to see a variety of wildflowers including harebells, devil’s bit scabious and grass of Parnassus. Grass of Parnassus is in fact an honorary grass, named because in Ancient Greece, this pretty white flower was devoured by cattle grazing on Mount Parnassus.

Orchid House.
Not so Incey Wincey!
Sleepy Kestrel.

The Pennine Way walking route passes Malham Tarn and continues through the grounds of a Field Centre where an old Orchid House provides information about wildlife & geology in the area. We then walked through woodland decorated with various animal & bird sculptures until coming across Tarn Moss & Tarn Fen Nature Reserve.

Peacock Butterfly.

Bog Asphodel.

Due to the fragility of the reserve , dogs & bicycles are not permitted here, so I left Wil and Hugo for a quick nosy. The unusual habitat of groundwater- fed fen and rainwater-fed raised bog is home to rare plant life including insectivorous sundew and yellow globe flowers. There is apparently a herd of wild ponies on the fen, but I didn’t spy them. A wooden boardwalk guides you through the boggy mossy wilderness, but alas I didn’t have time to venture far.

The mist is lifting.

We retraced our steps back to the car and ate a picnic lunch on the grass. The midday sun was definitely starting to scorch , but we thought we would head into Malham and walk up to its lovely waterfall Janet’s Foss. We visited here a couple of years ago, but much earlier in the morning, before it got to busy. On that occasion the Foss was a serene scene , but on a bank holiday, it was crushed and crowded.


Bee Library.
Janet’s Foss.

Hugo still managed a few paddles in the babbling brook, so all was not lost. I am definitely up for returning to Malham, especially Malham Tarn. I’m imagining a walk their every season now. A cold crisp November day maybe……


41 thoughts on “A misty morning at Malham Tarn.”

  1. It’s years since I last went to Malham tarn – March 1997 to be exact – and although not misty it was a very dull day. You certainly got good weather once the mist lifted, in fact it was a cracking weekend all the way through 🙂

  2. I haven’t been to Malham tarn since a geography field trip back in the 1970s!! Your photos make me want to go back to the area…just not on a bank holiday!

  3. I really enjoyed your walk. I couldn’t face the heat or the crowds and stayed close to home! Malham is one of those places we keep saying we’d like to visit, but it’s slightly too far for a day trip and not somewhere we think if we fancy a weekend away.

    1. I think a weekend away there would be great. Lots of walks and interesting features such as the cove, the gorge, the tarn & a waterfall. X

  4. Lovely pics. We took Bob to Malham a few times. The waterfall was too far for him though. I do wish he could have seen it; he would have loved it. Hugo seems to have enjoyed it x

  5. Perhaps surprisingly, I’ve rarely visited the Dales. Maybe it’s an aversion to crossing into alien (white rose) territory!
    Seriously, though Malham is on my list. I’d particularly like to see the limestone pavement on top of the Cove.
    Not on a Bank Holiday weekend, mind. I managed to get out a couple of times myself but found ways of avoiding the crowds (including straying into Yorkshire!)

  6. Malham Tarn is a jewel in a Limestone environment.
    Did you notice the cliff face above it? A lovely place to climb.
    Be wishful about a November visit, we once retreated from a very icy Plover Hill to seek shelter on the veranda of the field centre. Shivering on a bench we chewed on some dry sandwiches, suddenly a window opened and the staff invited us in for hot soup. We couldn’t believe our luck and I’m forever grateful. It was a bonus since

      1. That was so nice of the people at the field centre. I’ve been up Malham Cove. It’s amazing up there. I’d definitely like to see the tarn on a clearer day.

  7. I think it’s age plus having a dog that makes us very happy with cooler weather. Like you we hide from the tourist parts at bank holiday. Haven’t been to Malham tarn for over 30 years – lovely to some pics xx

  8. Your post is such a tease as I’m unable to view your pictures. I had really wanted to walk up to Janet’s Foss when I was there but didn’t allow myself enough time. I think everything is so close but it always takes longer than I’ve planned. I’ll keep checking back to see the pics-obviously something wrong on my end 😊

    1. Oh no, really? I hope they become clearer for you. Let me know if they do. Janet’s Foss is a beautiful waterfall. We’ve been before 3 years ago at a much quieter time which was lovely. The tarn was quiet, though mostly obscured by a hazy fog!

  9. I love the area around Malham Tarn, although I haven’t been there since my brothers 40th surprise birthday party which was a few years ago now. It does get really busy, I love to go to places like this out of season when all is quiet, they are so special.

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