Ambling around Aysgarth

Rainy weather means one thing. It is the perfect time to go chasing waterfalls. Staycations in Yorkshire are wonderful, but the sheer amount of outdoor activities mean you are relying on nice weather. So I spent the morning watching the rain from the window seat. I also learned how to cheat at dominoes courtesy of wrinkly human. The thought of losing a day of my holiday to the rain was making me sad. So I decided it was time to go and chase some waterfalls.

Aysgarth falls are a 15 minute drive from Middleham along some windy roads. Making it perfect for a quick adventure. Finally at the bottom of the hills, I found a space in the car park. Sadly, you have to pay even if you have a disabled badge, though if your mobility isn’t great Aysgarth falls might not be the best place to visit. I visited after a very rainy night so the paths were rather slippy and muddy (a great excuse to wear my red wellies!).

Little did I realise Aysgarth has three waterfalls in this part of the River Ure, carved out over a one mile stretch before the river widens and enters Wensleydale. The path leading out of the right side of the car park heads to the upper falls. I though these would be the largest, but they were rather underwhelming. The worst part was all of the sewage floating around in the river. I thought the water was also very dirty but Yorkshire has peaty soil which makes water appear brown and the waterfalls yellow. If you want to take professional photos without the crowds, visit as early as possible. I had to navigate my way through a few large families having picnics.

Unfortunately the path isn’t overly exciting and to get to the next waterfall you need to go back along the route you came. Passing through the car park, I crossed the road and headed into the woods. This side was a lot quieter than the first waterfall. Though not quiet enough to hear the dormice snoring! I didn’t realise until I had left the area, you can hike from Aysgarth to Bolton Castle (a potential future adventure). The grounds and gardens of the castle are free to visit. Its also the castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in 1568. The path is relatively flat and well marked. I went down each of the signposted paths as I came across them. Though, in hindsight I should have gone to the furthest away first.

The middle falls were, in my opinion, the best. It isn’t a high waterfall compared to ones I have seen in Bosnia and the Lake District but it was still a spectacular sight. I think it was the contrast of greenery and flowing water that created a great view (the lack of crowds helped a lot). Its not safe to get close to the middle falls, instead you have to go to a viewing platform down some slippy steps. I’d avoid this after any rain or bad weather.

The low falls was further through the woods and there are two options of places to get close to the river. The first path is easy to follow and is accessible for most people. The second path requires a little bit of rock climbing, though you are rewarded with an unobstructed view of the whole waterfall. I had the company of some ducks who were riding the rapids down the river. I would say I’d have joined in but there was too much sewage in the water for my liking. The rocks had holes in them and a few looked like faces, I love how nature can turn something boring into art.

Dark clouds were returning and I decided I wasn’t keen on rock climbing in the rain, so I headed back to the car park to head off in search of some lunch.

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