Classic Whernside.

Start. Ribblehead.

Route. Ribblehead - Ribblehead Viaduct - Gunnerfleet Farm - Lockdiddy Hill - Ivescar Farm - Broadrake Farm - High Pike - Whernside - Cable Rake Top - Grain Head - Force Gill Ridge - Low Force (Force Gill) - Smithy Hill - Aqueduct - Little Dale - Clue Clay Ridge - Ribblehead.

Notes. Whernside the highest of Yorkshire's Three Peaks, the others being Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough. It's long ridge dominates the view across Twisleton Dale as you drive along the B6255, the tarmac ribbon that links Ingleton and Hawes. Today I pointed the car towards the orange glow in the sky, the sun was over the Three Peaks area of Yorkshire, so there I was, with cloud bubbling all around who knew how long it would last. Let me tell you it lasted until I'd laced my boots, it didn't even have the courtesy to give me time to lock the car.

I'd parked across the road from the Station Inn at Ribblehead, dead handy to a stoney track cutting across Batty Green then ducking under the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct, this track guided me to Gunnerfleet Farm. Once passed the farm field paths ushered me through a small paddock then over Lockdiddy Hill to access Ivescar Farm, I turned left. With The Scar to my right and good field paths under foot I strolled west, gates allowed safe crossing of field boundaries, I soon reached Broadrake Farm, one more field to traverse then I'd be climbing the steep unforgiving slopes of Whernside.

Steep and unforgiving they were, most people walk the other way round, descending this way, but your walking with me, Mr Foolish. Leg burning, lung busting but bloody satisfying even if I had ascended into pea soup. I stepped onto the summit ridge knowing the torture of the day was over, fairly easy walking from now on. First I had to cross High Pike, with the wind and rain on my back I strolled over the summit ridge, on Whernside I ignored the top almost immediately starting a long easy descent. With a good path under foot I dropped into Little Dale, but just before stepping into the valley I paid homage to a waterfall, a stunning curtain where Low Force plunges over a limestone scarp into lower pastures, it's just off the beaten track so most Whernside walkers ignore it, their misfortune.

Visit over I descended crossing the railway at a fine aqueduct before entering Little Dale, with a good path under my boot soles I wandered along the valley, passed Blue Clay Ridge and the Bleamoor Sidings. After passing a number of shake holes I descended back to Ribblehead, as I'd parked opposite the Station Inn it would be rude not to go inside.

view route map.


Ingleborough, it's head in cloud seen over Gunner Fleet Moss.

Park Fell the northern end of the Ingleborough massif rises from the vast desolation of Ribblehead.

Under cloud my high point today, Whernside.

Reaching across Batty Green, an area of caves and shake holes a monumental feat of Victorian railway engineering, the Ribblehead Viaduct.

Seen from near Gunnerfleet Farm Simon Fell and mighty Ingleborough.

Wandering through sheep pastures near Ivescar, looking over The Scar to a cloud crowned Whernside.

Heading up Whernside with this view behind me, over Ribblehead the moors bordering the Ribble Valley.

Toiling up Whernside, stopping for a breather, looking to Raven Scar and White Scar, the massive limestone plinth that takes the weight of Ingleborough.

All that sweat and toil has got me here, the path over High Pike, beyond that is Whernside, just take my word for it.

The summit Whernside.

Looking back over Greensett Moss, up there in the cloud Whernside's summit ridge.

Hazy views to Blea Moor.

Low Force one of two spectacular falls in Force Gill.

Force Gill Aqueduct.

Striding through Little Dale looking to the Ingleborough massif, Park Fell, Simon Fell and Ingleborough head still in cloud.

back to top

back to list