After waking up and enjoying a full English breakfast, we set off for the last day on our road trip adventure.
We had been having a very lucky road trip thus far. We were getting along splendidly, we hadn’t encountered any major delays, and the weather had cooperated…until Day 6. It had rained for most of the evening, and unfortunately despite a clear radar, looked like it was going to rain most of the day. That was unfortunate, because we had an awesome few stops left to make, and they were all outside.
Our first stop of the day was the gorgeous Malham Cove, where Harry & Hermione camp in Deathly Hallows – Part One, after Ron leaves. This was also the morning I decided I was going to drive. Let me backpedal a little bit by saying that I left my US license at home, and even though I had my International Driver’s License, I wasn’t legally able to drive. Up until this point, Alex & Caleb had toughed it out and divided the driving between them – but I wasn’t going to NOT drive. I wanted the chance to do so, and this was the morning I was going to do it. Little did I know what we were in for.
According to the map, we were approximately one hour outside of Malham. The route, like most of our trip, looked to be mostly on windy back roads, so this didn’t phase us. We set out and very quickly discovered that this was not going to take one hour. The roads were more narrow than any others we had experienced. There was also this constant threat of falling off of the side of the road, down the mountain and to our death. So, needless to say, it wasn’t exactly the easy breezy drive we had planned – but it was worth it.
Before we left, I had a chat with Magical Tours front man Larry and he gave us a few tips on where to go at Malham. There are several spots you see, and it’s confusing as to which is the one they actually filmed on as they all look alike. We found the one that Larry told me about and made our way out onto the rocks. First, let me say that it was a wet, gross day. It was damp, humid, and there was sheep poop EVVVVVERYWHERE. I was not prepared for that. It was not a glorious walk out to the rocks, and was much further than it looked. The grass was tall, full of prickers, and even more sheep poop. Ascending the rocks was also not particularly fun, but would’ve been much easier if it wasn’t such a yucky day. Once you get on top though, it doesn’t get any easier, but it does get significantly more beautiful.
The rocks are not nearly as flat and perfect as they look on screen, quite the opposite in fact. Many of them are much lower than most, not sturdy enough to stand on (never mind with them being wet!), and few have flat surfaces. I am still shocked to this day that we made it out without falter. We spent a lot of time on the outlook, trying to find the exact spot Harry & Hermione sat, but it was futile. It had been years since filming took place there and most likely the rocks had changed, or at the very least, the grass growing between the rocks had.
Alexandra & I took an extra long walk to a few other rock clusters, while Caleb (the only one not in pants), took a break from the rain. From across a large chasm we saw the cliff that they filmed the wide shot of Harry & Hermione, and smiled to ourselves. I pretended for a moment that they were there, hidden behind Muggle repelling charms. Like only two of the other stops we made on our trip, Gloucester Cathedral & Freshwater West, Malham Cove was one of those places that felt special – magical even. In years I might not remember how I felt while walking through the castles or through the corridors, but I will always remember the majestic feel of Malham.
Next we had plans to make the four hour drive down to Cambridge. We were to have dinner there, then make an additional one hour drive to the town of Lavenham, where they filmed many of the exterior scenes in Deathly Hallows – Part One, including the Godric’s Hollow on Christmas Eve. However, with the rain getting heavier by the minute, we decided to forego those plans. We weren’t happy about it, as the graveyard was a place we were all looking forward to seeing, but how much fun would it be in the pouring rain? So, instead we made our way to Leeds. Leeds is a busy, confusing town with way too many roundabouts – FAR more than others we had visited – but happy surprise! There is a Neville Street. We walked around the busy streets, had a lovely lunch of noodles (yum), then headed back towards the car.
We found a hotel right off the M11, drudged our things inside. After a dinner of Papa John’s (the best option at this rest stop), we stocked up on the essentials: chocolate and chips, then had a relaxing night of FaceTime with friends and family, plus some reminiscing. Those six days flew by faster then we thought they would, but we were definitely looking forward to being in the same place for more than one evening. We had one more night to go before we landed in our hotel for our time in Central London, so it was off to bed for dreams of beaches, daleks, coves, and what had yet come to pass.