This photo is showing the green meadows of Malham. The village of Malham is located in the Yorkshire Dales and lies approximately 25 miles from where I live now. These are the hills and fields which surround the village. I have a special love for the place, although I rarely visit it these days.
I had my first proper hike at Malham when I was twelve. I had just arrived from Canada and my new school teacher, Mr. Cook, took 5 of us on a Youth Hostel trip hiking for a week – and we were based at Malham. I was bowled over by the place. I was brought up in a concrete town in Ontario and saw nothing like this before – I spent the whole week with my ‘gob open’ just staring at the hills and fields and rivers.
Later, when I started caving I spent a lot of my time there exploring the caves and potholes with three of my best friends – Bob, Eddie and Eric. And when we got too old for caving we used to go hiking there – we would walk miles and miles. It was our favorite spot. I remember one day in winter it had snowed very heavily while we were out and we kept getting stuck in the snow on the country road and wouldn’t get home. We had little money between us and didn’t fancy a long walk home so we slept in an old barn with a very noisy owl keeping us awake all night.
Bob, Eric and Eddie are all dead now. Bob and Eddie died last year and Eric the year before.
I am sat here waiting for an operation on my knees – I have worn away the cartilage on both knees and at the moment can’t walk – but the prognosis is good. I am looking at old photos of the three of us at Malham and remembering good times.
But I’ll go back again – just for old times sake. For Bob and Eddie and Eric. Because I know they would want me to.
As Joni Mitchell said “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”.