Former Ermysted’s Grammar School pupil, Mason Boycott-Owen, who wrote this piece, has been carrying out work experience with the press team at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. He is studying Classics at Durham University
EXPLORING the incredible nature of the Yorkshire Dales on a 'Wild Wednesday' at Malham has become an annual event for one young family from Mexico.
For the past five years, Camilo, 11, and his sister Valentina, 13, have visited their grandparents in Settle every summer. And the whole family makes a point of coming along to the drop-in nature activity days run throughout the school holidays by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
It was the second visit this year to the riverbank opposite the Malham centre for their three year old cousin, Ollie, and he was thrilled with the fox he had made out of a paper bag with help from Dales volunteers.
Grandmother, Linda, said: “We’ve been coming every year. We stay for the whole day and always get so much out of it. One year, the kids flew kites with loads of others who had come over from big cities like Bradford and never been to the countryside before – it’s such an inclusive event."
She added: “Last year, Camilo got the world record of 27 bullheads ( a freshwater fish) caught in the river at Malham in one day.
“We’ll definitely be coming again. Ollie has a little brother who’s only six months old, so we’d love to bring him at some point – passing it onto the next generation.”
The free event featured a range of craft and nature activities, such as stream-dipping, badge-making, animal bag making and woolcraft.
Josie Wilson, one of the volunteer support officers, said:“It’s amazing to see the children getting so much out of something so simple in a really digital age.
“Working alongside the volunteers has been brilliant. They give up so much of their time, without them we wouldn’t be able to put on great free events like this”.
Finlay, six, said: “We had a picnic and I’ve been looking for fish in the river. I fell in”.
His mum added: “One of the volunteers told us that the source of the river Aire is Malham Tarn so that’s where Finlay wants to go now. He loves rivers – he even brought his own net.”
Five young bothers and sisters from California, in the United States, were visiting Malham with their parents as part of a trip of a lifetime. The family’s six-month motor home tour of Europe included stops in Devon, Cornwall, Scotland and London. They said their day in the Dales had been “amazing”.
Wild Wednesday was part of a series of events taking place in the national park throughout the summer holidays. Tomorrow (Friday) will see the last of the events, woodland weaving on the outdoor loom at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes. To find out more, go to the website yorkshiredales.org.uk/events