Pen-y-ghent and Plover Hill return via the Foxup Road.

Start. Horton in Ribblesdale.

Route. Horton in Ribblesdale - Brackenbottom - Brackenbottom Scar - Gavel Rigg - Pen-y-ghent - Plover Hill - Foxup Moor - Foxup Road - Swarth Gill Gate - Horton Moor - Horton Scar Lane - Horton in Ribblesdale.

Notes.Seen from any direction except maybe the north Pen-y-ghent is an attractive shapely mountain, unfortunately unless you're attempting the three peaks the climb up and down is short, hardly a day out or even a half day. So why not follow in my foot steps, traverse the wide grassy ridge to Plover Hill then descend to Foxup Moor, a vast tract of lonely wetland, a Pennine watershed with the waters draining to the Wharf and eventually the North Sea, and to the other direction feeding the Ribble before flowing into the Irish Sea. Why follow the crowds trudging the Three Peaks path and Pennine Way, follow me, once you leave the summit of Pen-y-ghent the hills will be yours, yours alone, just you a few sheep and the mountain birds.

I thought it best to have an early start today, the weather forecast was depressing, rain for the afternoon and lots of it. Feeling sorry for the Three Peaks walkers that left the car park with me, whichever way you cut it they were going to get very wet. With cloud bubbling around the hills I made my way to Brackenbottom, at the top of a short rise next to the first building a finger-post invited me to Pen-y-ghent, I obliged. Through sheep pastures I climbed, over limestone scars passed sink holes. Gates have replaced stiles that aided walkers for donkeys years, the gates looked new but were already falling to bits. The final gate deposited me on the Pennine Way right under the nose of Pen-y-ghent, the steep hands on climb that followed soon got me up the hill. After a quick brew I headed north, a dry stone wall to guide me, a green trod under foot.

Lets be honest this wide grassy ridge can be wet under foot, today it was squelchy but not a boot hugging mire, a few wet spots were easily avoided. As I ascended Plover Hill the ground dried out, a ladder stile allowed access to the next field, a steep descent then followed depositing me on Foxup Moor. Traversing the moor the Foxup Road, road in name only, it may have once been the main route to Littondale but today is only used by walkers and men and women on cycles with knobbly tyres.

With the Foxup Road under foot I wandered back through stunning but lonely moorland scenery, I stopped at one point for another brew. The path terminated at Hull Pot, if you've never seen this massive hole pay it a visit, even more so if the weather is bad and Hull Pot Beck is spilling over the lip of the crater. On leaving Hull Pot I stepped between the dry stone walls of Horton Scar Lane, this stoney track ushered me through stunning limestone scenery back to my starting point well in time for lunch.

view route map.


Dappled light on Ingleborough seen from the fields above Brackenbottom.

Ascending through an extraordinary landscape, viewing Horton Scar with Whitber Hill to the right.

Blue/grey on the far horizon, isolated from all others the spectre of Pendle Hill.

It's no spectre, I'll be on the summit shortly, Pen-y-ghent over Brackenbottom Scar.

Spectacular panorama over the Ribble valley.

From high on Pen-y-ghent views under a moody sky.

Over seven miles to the northwest as the crow flies, Grey under a threatening sky Whernside.

Ascending Plover Hill looking back to Pen-y-ghent.

From Plover Hill views to Horse Head above Foxup at the head of Littondale.

The great sweep of the Ingleborough massif seen from the Foxup Road.

Cosh Outside with the dark escarpment of Whernside rising behind.

In name only, the Foxup Road.

From Horton Moor views to the cliffs of Pen-y-ghent Side.

Hull Pot seen from Horton Moor.

Horton Scar Lane my companion for the final mile and a half, and a stunning mile and a half it was.

Dark clouds are building, a spot of rain has just fallen, I may just get back dry, walkers on Whernside will be enjoying the last of the sunlight and anybody on Park Fell will be getting wet.

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