Pen-y-ghent over Plover Hill.

Start. Horton in Ribblesdale.

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

Notes. The conversation went something like,”you needn't think your moping round the house all day, I've got things to do even if you haven't”, she loves me really, “go for a bloody walk”.That's how I come to be in Horton in Ribblesdale fighting for a parking space, there was a three peaks challenge on, the day didn't start well.

Our Norse forefathers christened Pen-y-ghent “The Hill of Winds”, a shapely mountain born at the bottom of a warm tropical ocean 300million years ago, cut by glaciers, sculptured by wind and rain. All this prehistoric jig gary pockery makes for an exciting hill, it's popularity just deserved. I was going to have to find a quiet route up, hopefully the multitudes will have moved on to an unsuspecting Whernside by the time I grace the summit.

I wandered toe to heel with the crowds through Horton in Ribblesdale, drawing some strange looks when I turned into Horton Scar Lane, not everyone's on a 24 mile yomp. A finger post announced this was the route of the Dales Way. Between dry stone walls this stoney track guided me into some stunning limestone scenery, scenery that was mine to enjoy alone, I had the lane to myself. On reaching the head of the lane I accessed the bridleway over lonely Horton Moor. This is a big landscape, it makes you feel small even vulnerable, a tiny insignificant traveler through vast tracts of bog and tussock grass, caves, sink-holes and limestone scars, the path was mostly dry under foot, mostly! I continued until reaching the edge of Foxup Moor, a weather beaten finger-post announced Plover Hill ¾ mile.

The ascent was easier than it looked, first over grass and soft ground before a pitch path took over, this well made trod guided me above limestone cliffs and on to the summit of Plover Hill, I drank coffee, soaked up the views and mused over how easy the ascent had been. Break over I crossed the ladder stile, a vast tract of moorland greeted me, a wide grassy ridge adorned with peat hags, tussock grass and a lot of sphagnum moss. With a dry stone wall to guide me I wandered on, keeping away from the wall avoided most of the wet stuff, I was soon ascending Pen-y-ghent to be greeted by half the walkers in the north of England, standing room only, no hill should ever get this busy, I quickly left heading south over a nice new path constructed of paving slabs. The steep hands on descent that followed deposited me on the edge of Gavel Rigg next to a gate, I passed through said gate to continue my descent. Over Brackenbottom Scar I descended, stiles and handy gates aided my crossing of field boundaries, I stepped onto tarmac at Brackenbottom, turned right and let the narrow lane guide me back to Horton in Ribblesdale.

view route map.


Simon Fell and the flat top of Ingleborough seen from Horton Scar Lane.

Shapely Pen-y-ghent as seen from Horton Scar Lane.

Horton Scar Lane, my guide into the promised land.

The rolling uplands of Cosh Outside seen from the lonely track over Horton Moor.

Horton Moor with views into Ribblesdale.

I've got a few sheep and the lonely cry of the mountain birds for company, and this view, reaching across the horizon Whernside.

Heading through the wild emptiness of Horton Moor, looking to the flat top of Ingleborough.

Follow the leader, no farmer, no sheep dog just an orderly procession, I watched them for ages. Fell sheep are heathed or hefted ewes, each animal recognises it's own territory on the vast moor, the place it was born, individual ewes left the parade as they do every year, as their mothers did before them to graze their own heath.

Clinging to a reassuring path, pausing for breath looking to the Ingleborough massif, Ingleborough, Simon Fell and to the far right Park Fell.

Views over Foxup to Horse Head.

Pen-y-ghent viewed from the slopes of Plover Hill.

Blue/grey on the horizon, Pendle Hill.

Yorkshires broad acres, there's an awful lot of lonely moorland between Pen-y-ghent and Whernside.

Plover Hill as viewed from the slopes of Pen-y-ghent.

Looking to Fountains Fell from the summit of Pen-y-ghent.

Drinking in views over Overdale, Ribblesdale and industrial Lancashire.

Descending Pen-y-ghent nose through a landscape of shattered granite boulders.

Ingleborough seen over Ribblesdale.

Pausing for a rest on Brackenbottom Scar soaking up views to a shapely Pen-y-ghent.

Pen-y-ghent seen over limestone pastures.

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