Hundreds of people gathered at Malham Cove yesterday (December 6) to witness a spectacle that has not happened, according to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, in living memory.
The landmark was famously created by a giant waterfall of meltwater in the ice age, but has been dry since then. Water usually runs through caves in the limestone behind the cliff, but for a while Storm Desmond changed all that, sending a torrent 80m straight down the middle of the cove.
Alan Hulme, The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Head of Ranger Services, said: “I have lived here for 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this before. It was an amazing sight. Some people are saying there hasn’t been a waterfall over the top since the 1700s, which shows how rare a thing it is.”
The water flowed from Malham Tarn down Watlowes, which is known locally as Dry Valley, before pouring over the limestone pavement on the top of the Cove in what must, for a while, have been far and away England's highest free-falling waterfall above ground. News of the unique occurrence has made the national and international media.