The River Aire begins its life just south of Malham at a spring known as Aire Head. As it flows downstream below Airton, the River Aire crosses the southernmost of the Craven Fault lines. Here the narrow valley known as Malhamdale widens to become Airedale.
The River Aire then flows through Gargrave, a great place to stay or grab a bite to eat. The Dalesman Café has long been the haunt of cyclists and walkers. The Pennine Way and Pennine Cycleway pass through Gargrave before continuing on up Malhamdale.
Canals and drumlins
At Gargrave, the Leeds to Liverpool canal also makes an appearance. It continues to run close by the river as they both journey east to Skipton and then on south to Leeds. The canal winds its way through the landscape here on a near flat route between 'drumlins'. These are mounds of material deposited by an ice sheet as it melted, around 15,000 years ago.