The Dragoncharm Travel Guide – Malham Cove

Dragoncharm by Graham EdwardsThe Dragoncharm novels might be fantasy, but many of the locations in them are real. Welcome to part 6 of this handy travel guide to a mythical world that bears an uncanny resemblance to our own …

There are lots of cliffs in Dragoncharm. Some are sea cliffs, others parts of gorges or mountainsides. I make no apologies for littering the novel with dramatic rock formations: if you’re writing about dragons, crags and ravines are simply a must.

One cliff in particular is the location for a violent confrontation between Fortune and Cumber – our journeying heroes – and a group of formidable charmed dragons:

“The ridge flattened off before them into a large plateau, a black, dusty arena which ran up to the roots of the cliff standing square in their path. The cliff reached out over the plateau as it rose, creating a vast overhang of solid lava that erupted out of the ground in shocking defiance of its own immense mass.”

While the description strays somewhat from the reality that inspired it (trading limestone for lava, for example) nevertheless this is the place I was thinking about when I wrote it:

Geologically, the 80-metre cliff face of Malham Cove isn’t terribly old. It’s the result of ice-age meltwater cutting its way back through limestone raised by earlier activity in one of the major fault lines running across the north of England. In those early days the cliff face would have been veiled behind a spectacular waterfall.

If standing beneath the cliff isn’t enough of a thrill for you, try joining the many enthusiasts who climb it every weekend. If rock-climbing’s not your style, take a walk across the top, where erosion has formed an incredible limestone pavement, a deeply scored terrain whose only purpose in life is to break the ankles of unwary hikers.

Best of all, Malham Cove sits in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, just a couple of hours travel from where I live. As the dragon flies, of course.

In part 7 of this occasional series, we’re going so far north that even Google Maps is going to struggle. Now where in the world could that be …?

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