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One with Nature: The Cow and the Calf, Ilkley, N. Yorkshire

Only a short ride from the city of Leeds, the rock formation known as "The Cow and Calf" and the surrounding dales is a perfect day trip into the beautiful Yorkshire countryside and a grand escape into nature.

Our neighbour, a lover of The Great Outdoors, recommended we pay a visit to Ilkley if we ever desired to get out into nature and escape Leeds, and in particular, stressed we should go to the Cow and Calf. We immediately assumed this was a pub with apparently spectacular views. After Googling it, however, we discovered the “disturbing” news that it was not a pub but a famous rock formation. Despite this, our interest was piqued so we chose a day and planned a trip. Fortunately for us, the British weather held off from raining and after a short train ride were in Ilkley. We immediately set off up the hill towards our goal, stopping along the way up to enjoy the views on either side.

The Cow and Calf came into sight. So named because of the larger rock’s defensive attitude regarding the smaller, it is a stunning piece of nature and quite a wonderful symbol of motherhood everywhere. They sit there weathering the elements together, never separating. Standing at the base and looking up to their tops, you feel so small. The thought that as far as rock formations around the world go they aren’t particularly large making this feeling even stronger!

Climbing up the rocks is a must, as the views to be had are breathtaking. If you felt small at the bottom just you wait until you are at the top! On a clear day, you can see for miles around.

Naturally, it is almost impossible in such grand scenery to not goof around on the rocks for a while. Many people have carved their names into the rocks with the date of their visit, some dating back (apparently) to 1852.

As said earlier, the surrounding countryside is just as beautiful, so we went for a stroll to earn the pub dinner we planned on having (It turns out the Cow and Calf is a pub too, just next to the rocks. What luck!). It is possible to get even higher than the peak of the Cow and Calf themselves, and the views certainly reward the adventure. A frolic in the heather is also a necessity!

After all this we retired to the pub. If anyone ever wants to become one with nature, I can fully recommend a visit to Ilkley and the Cow and Calf. Just make sure you take a camera to capture all the beauty that nature offers up for your eyes’ pleasure.

written by samwise_camus

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