Yorkshire's Three Peaks.

Start. Horton in Ribblesdale.

Route. Horton in Ribblesdale - Brackenbottom - Brackenbottom Scar - Pen-y-ghent - Whitbar Hill - Sell Gill Hill - Red Moss Pot - High Pasture - Birkwith Cave - Gods Bridge - Nether Lodge - Ingman Lodge - B6479 - Ribblehead - Bleamoor Sidings - Blue Clay Ridge - Little Dale - Slack Hill - Force Gill Ridge - Grain Ings - Whernside - High Pike - Bruntscar - Philpin - B6255 - Hill Inn - Philpin Slights - Southerscales- Braithwaite Wife Hole - Humphrey Bottom - The Arks - Swine Tail - Ingleborough - Swine Tail - Simon Fell Breast - Sulber - Sulber Nick - Horton in Ribblesdale.

Notes. There's a certain satisfaction to be had from completing a long walk, especially in the company of family. At my darling daughter Kirsten's request I found myself wandering through Yorkshire's Three Peaks landscape. Her constant chatter accompanying every step, that was until around the sixteen mile mark when she shut up, I guess the miles were starting to take their toll. Never having done a long walk before she unwittingly volunteered to do a thirty mile charity walk, a section of the South West Coastal Path, she tells me she needs to get the miles in, so I guess this may not be a one off, watch this space.

We started at Horton in Ribblesdale, after all this has been the traditional starting point since two school masters from Giggleswick School conceived and completed the walk in 1887. We walked South from the car park passed the Pen-y-ghent café and St Oswald's Church to access the lane leading to Brackenbottom. Once at the head of said lane, a friendly finger-post invited us to climb the hill. Through fields we ascended, over limestone scars, gates and stiles aided our passage, after stepping onto the Pennine Way we scrambled up the nose of the hill to be welcomed by drizzle and Yorkshire's grey emulsion.

Over the wall and down the hill we walked our mission, to complete the walk in less than twelve hours. In front of us better weather and a seven mile trudge through Upper Ribblesdale to gain access to the slopes of Whernside. With the aid of many finger-posts we wandered on, over Whitbar Hill then Sell Gill Hill, above High Birkwith across Gods Bridge then on to Nether Lodge, the access drive to this most Yorkshire of farmsteads then guided us to the fine facade of Ingman Lodge and the main road. A short stretch of tarmac walking followed before a brew stop in the shadow of the famous viaduct at Ribblehead.

Re-fueled and ready to go it was the Little Dale path that ushered us onto the lower slopes of Whernside, a lengthy walk through the dale followed before attacking Whernside's eastern slopes. With fourteen miles plus under our boot soles fatigue was beginning to set in, another fuel stop was required, the summit of this fine hill was the perfect spot. Re-invigorated we made the short walk over High Pike followed by a steep loose ankle breaker of a descent to the valley floor. Easy walking followed along the tarmac of Philpin Lane to access the main valley road and the lower slopes of Ingleborough.

The start of the ascent was easy, over grass through cow pastures shadowed by limestone scars, through the unique limestone scenery of Southerscales we traversed before passing through a gate in the final intake wall. A long energy sapping ascent across Humphrey Bottom followed before a final leg burning climb up The Arks to access the Swine Tail for the final pull onto Ingleborough's stony summit plateau. By this time we'd given up admiring the views, all we could see was the fine silver ribbon cutting across the slopes of Simon Fell Breast, our route home.

We quickly (as quick as we could) re-traced our steps over Swine Tail to join the path that would guide us back to Horton in Ribblesdale. We may have ascended 7,000ft plus over the coarse of this walk but I can honestly say the four miles between Ingleborough and Horton was the hardest. Aching muscles, stiff joints and uneven terrain made for slow progress, we stumbled into the car park after 11hrs.45min thoroughly knackered, I'm not ashamed to admit it.

My darling daughter says "she'll never do it again". I've done it four times now and each time was the last, my record being 9hrs15min, I suppose I'll never break that age catches up with every man. A small side note, I nipped into Kirsten's place of work before writing this account, she was bouncing, no aches and pains eager for the next big walk, bloody hell.

view route map.


Pen-y-ghent as seen from Brackenbottom Scar.

Looking to Simon Fell above Ribblesdale with Ingleborough under cloud.

The summit Pen-y-ghent under low cloud and fine drizzle.

Park Fell as viewed over Whitbar Hill.

Limestone scars in Over Ground Pasture with views across Ribblesdale to Simon Fell and Park Fell.

This limestone shelf in Over Ground proved to be a fine view point, in sunlight, shade and low cloud Whernside.

Seen from the banks of the infant River Ribble, in dappled light Whernside next on the list.

Grey on the horizon, free of cloud Pen-y-ghent on view from near Ingman Lodge.

Iconic Ribblehead Viaduct.

Wandering through Little Dale looking to the flat top of Ingleborough.

Nestled in a hollow, guarded by the steep upper slopes of Whernside, Greensett Tarn captures the early afternoon sun.

Looking down on Greensett Tarn backed by Blea Moor with Yorkshire's broad acres rolling to the horizon.

Testament to the hills popularity, a deep cut path over the summit ridge.

It's been a long time coming but we're here, the summit Whernside, what on earth has she got on her feet? I hear you shout, she tells me they're the best invention since the wheel.

The wonderful view over Twisleton Dale, next on the tick list mighty Ingleborough.

Viewing Ribblehead Viaduct from the stoney descent from Whernside.

Dropping into Twisleton Dale with this stunning view to Ingleborough for company.

Philpin Lane with views back to Whernside.

Ingleborough one of the grandest objects in the Yorkshire Dales, seen over the edge of Southerscales Scar.

Dramatic, dark against the sky. Whernside seen from Southerscales.

Seen from Humphrey Bottom the long summit ridge of Gragareth reaching across the horizon.

Above The Arks looking across the northern slopes of Simon Fell to Park Fell.

Kirsten graces the summit of Ingleborough.

We've been there, Pen-y-ghent seen across Ribblesdale from the descent of Ingleborough.

Pen-y-ghent under the blue sky of early evening, a completely different contrast from this morning.

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