To complete 'The 3 Peaks Challenge' a finishing time of under 12 hours is needed though most people aim for around 10 hours.
“Some people have chosen to regard the walk as a race, and this is to be greatly regretted, walking is a pleasure to be enjoyed in comfort” - Alfred Wainwright
|The flat summit Ingleborough in the distance.|
The route is usually followed in an anti clockwise direction heading out from 'Horton-In-Ribblesdale' and ascending 'Pen-y-ghent' first.
When explaining the route to others I have often found it easier for them to understand when broken down into easily identifiable sections and so i will do here too -
Horton-In-Ribblsdale over Pen-y-ghent - Leaving 'Horton-In-Ribblesdale' from the 'Pen-y-ghent' cafe the track passes through a gate before it splits to the left and right. Taking the turning to the right the track heads to thru a farm yard, over a small wooden bridge before joining the road to 'Brackenbottom'. Reaching the farm buildings at 'Brackenbottom' after approx 800m the route leaves the tarmac and the ascent begins! Through grazing pasture and some limestone formations the route makes it way to the junction with the 'Pennine Way' where it turns left and begins to rise steeply following stone steps to the summit.The total ascent to the 694m summit of Pen-y-ghent is 454m and a distance of just under 4km from 'Horton-In-Ribblesdale'
This section takes approx 1-1.5hr*
|The road to 'Brackenbottom'|
|The track to Pen-y-ghent which a steep turn to the left in the distance.|
|The steep 'steps' section to the summit.|
This section takes approx 2.5-3hrs depending on speed and fitness of those walking and the condition of the wet ground!
|Some sections can be a 'little bit soft' in wet conditions!|
|Leaving Pen-y-ghent behind|
This section takes 1.5-2hrs*
|Ribblehead Viaduct below Whernside.|
|The route to the right of Ribblehead Viaduct.|
Whernside to Low Sleights Road - From the summit of 'Whernside' the route follows the 'whaleback' for approx 1.2km before taking a turn to the left and down steeply. This is where the knees start to feel the stress of the 20km already done and the strain of stepping down over a large stones formed into a rocky stair case. The path drops quickly until it reaches 'Bruntscar' where it again becomes tarmac and passes through pasture on either side reaching 'Philpin Farm' where there may be an opportunity to purchase a snack or drink and take a toilet break at weekends. Another 300m sees the route turn left onto 'Low Sleights Road' and a total distance of 4.5km from the summit of 'Whernside'.
This section takes approx 1.5hr*
|From Whernside to Ingleborough (on a clear day!)|
|Whernside towards the Howgill Fells.|
After reaching the top of the 'Devils Stair Case' there is chance for a quick deep breath in before the route leads up a further 100m over a distance of 650m and arrival at the summit, a total of 3.7km ascending 406m.
This section takes approx 2-2.5hrs*
|The 'Devils Stair Case'|
|A lonesome figure makes his way up the final few steps of the 'Devils Stair Case'.|
This section takes approx 1.5-2hrs.
|On the flat summit of Ingleborough.|
|The track makes its way to 'Horton-In-Ribblesdale' with 'Pen-y-ghent' in the distance.|
|On towards the limestone section.|
There is also a pub,'The Station', at the 'Ribblehead Viaduct' which serves good food, drinks and snacks when open.
On weekends from May to September the 'Philpin Farm' operates a tea van in one of their barns serving tea, coffee, cold drinks & snacks & toilets.
A further 300m on from 'Philpin Farm' is the 'Old Hill Inn' pub though as yet I've never been in here as I don't think I'd get started again so can't tell you very much about it!
*walking at an average speed of 3-4km/hr.