Gorge yourself on stunning scenery at Gordale Beck

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson
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There are certainly worse places to blow away the cobwebs than Gordale Beck. The image above, taken by The Yorkshire Post photographer Tony Johnson, captures the stream 
in full spate on a crisp January day.

As temperatures plummet, the waterfall gives the impression that it is mist flowing down the centre of this dramatic gorge.

The beck can be found within the limestone ravine of Gordale Scar, which is home to two waterfalls and surrounded by 300ft-high cliffs.

Its quiet location, a mile or so from Malham, boasts breathtaking views across the North Yorkshire countryside. Be warned though, Gordale Beck is steep and the sharp gradient can be enough to put off even the most hardened of hikers.

While largely unchanged for centuries, the exact geological origins of this picturesque corner of the county remains unknown, although one theory is that the gorge could have been formed by water from melting glaciers. Another is that is was the result of a cavern collapsing.

Upon leaving the gorge, the beck flows over Janet’s Foss before joining Malham Beck two miles downstream to form the River Aire.

Famous visitors to Gordale Scar have included the 19th-century artist James Ward, whose large landscape of the area can be seen in Tate Britain, as can an image which dates from 1816 drawn by JMW Turner, a frequent visitor to the 
county.

A short distance away is Malham, renowned for its limestone pavement, which provided the backdrop for various scenes in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The drop pool of Janet’s Foss is also within walking distance of the beck, which proves that old adage that small is beautiful.

Named after the fairy queen, said in folklore to have lived in the cave at the back of the small waterfall, the pool was said to have traditionally been used for sheep dipping.

Today, the sheep have been replaced by families who on summer days can be found dipping their feet into warm water below.

Technical details: Nikon D3s 12-24mm lens, 6th @f11 1250 ISO.