Ribblehead Viaduct sign

The Three Peaks of Yorkshire

Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough


Ordnance Survey Explorer 1:25 000 Map Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas

Don't forget to clock in!

Three Peaks of Yorkshire membership

Leaving the Pen-y-Ghent Cafe in Horton in Ribblesdale cross the road and turn right. Just beyond the bend and the church take the minor road to Brackenbottom. From here its left and up following a very distinct path and, if the visibility is good, a very distinct target can be seen, the southern end of Pen-y-Ghent. The route follows a classic limestone climb, plateau, climb, plateau series through the stages of collapse of the valley through the ages. The path comes out at the bottom of a steep scramble and is joined from the left by the Pennine Way from Malham.

A successful climb brings you to a wall on the left that is followed up to the trig point at 694m and the first peak is completed. Almost over!

pen y ghent

Over the wall the path now starts a gentle descent before turning along the western edge and descending further along another very distinct track. At the bottom of the edge the Pennine Way and Three Peaks depart, the Pennine Way to the left and the Three Peaks to the right towards Horton Moor. This can be very boggy!

cross Hull Pot Beck by way of the stepping stones. Another exclamation mark! and go up over Todber Moss. Through the wall takes you onto Black Dubb Moss and Red Moss before passing through another stone wall onto Burnrigg. One more wall and the path descends to cross the Pennine Way again. This time its the section from Horton in Ribblesdale towards Hawes.

gods bridgeunder gods bridge
Follow the wall heading north north west taking you by way of yet another stone wall down to a well defined stone track close to Birkwith Cave. This is the Ribble Way which is now going to be followed via God's Bridge and the waterfalls to Nether Lodge Rigg and Nether Lodge.

fasen all gatessignpost for whernside
From Nether Lodge take the farm track to and through Lodge Hall and up to the main road. Turn right and follow the road upto the T junction.

three peaks signriver ribble and pen-y-ghent

bridge over the river ribblelodge hall

If you require refreshments before the ascent of Whernside try the snack van that's invariably parked here. Oh and by the way you should be able to see the famous Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle Railway

ribblehead refreshments 

From the T junction head for the viaduct but don't go under it. Keep to the east side and climb up the side of the embankment at the northern end joining a track from the right that will take you past Bleamoor Sidings and on to Blue Clay Ridge.

ribblehead viaduct

The Three Peaks leaves the track to cross over the Settle Carlisle railway and start the ascent of Whernside. The path initially goes north north west up Slack Hill before going off to the left to follow a stone wall towards Knoutbury Hill.

Ribblehead Whernside signpostRibblehead Viaduct sign

After the steep climb there is a gradual slope up to the trig point on Whernside at 736m the highest point in North Yorkshire. Nearly finished now only one to go!! You can also look west across Kingsdale and see Gragareth at 627m its the highest point in Lancashire.

Continue down the spine of Whernside for just over 1km before turning left to steeply descend into the valley below again along a well defined path that turns into a farm track and then at the cattle sheds at Bruntscar becomes a tarmac road leading all the way up to the B6255 Low Sleights Road.

Turn left and just beyond the pub turn right taking the path onto and through the limestone pavements of Highwood Pasture. This is a gentle introduction to Ingleborough and with the help of army surplus even the once heavy slog over Humphrey Bottom has become easy with the laying of a single wooden tank track.

At the end of Humphrey Bottom is a short, steep and in wet conditions slippy and exposed section up to a delightful spring at the top before turning right for a more gradual climb onto the Ingleborough plateau. Head for the western end and the last trig of all Ingleborough at 723m. You've almost made it!

From the trig point return back whence you came ignoring the first track off to the right, this would take you to Clapham! The second more gradual right fork will lead on to a wide track traversing the south western flank of Simon Fell. Simon Fell is a popular launching pad for parragliders so you may if you're lucky be able to take in the specticle. It will take away the pain?

From the wide open Allotment moors the route enters more exposed limestone crags for its final leg of the journey back to Horton in Ribblesdale. Go straight across at the footpath crossroads, through Sulber and passing Sulber Nick to the right before a descent into open grassland and a final hillock to the railway station.

limstone pavement path cairn and post and Pen y Ghent 

gate with a view of Pen y Ghent wide grass track 

gate into last field last hillock 

open grassland nearing Horton in Ribblesdale gateway to Horton in Ribblesdale 

Horton in Ribblesdale Station footbridge over the River Ribble at the end of the walk

Down to the main road and heading straight on take the path over the footbridge to head past the car park and back to the Pen-y-Ghent Cafe.

Don't forget to clockout! and very well done

One of our team's membership number is 7027. Is yours less than that?

To become a member of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club you need to have completed the route in under 12 hours!!!

External Links

Friends of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire