About Me

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Way back in time before the onset of adulthood I enjoyed countless days heading into the hills of Yorkshire with nothing more than a squashed sandwich & youthful sense for adventure! Despite long past youthful and work commitments keeping me in the city, the sense of adventure and love for the outdoors never left me. After digging my boots out and returning to the hills I attended a number of courses to improve my hill knowledge and skill base, during one of these courses it was suggested I join the Mountain Leader Training scheme and was delighted go on to gain the MOUNTAIN LEADER Award in April 2012. As well as spending time on the hills and mountains of the UK I have also enjoyed trips to the Nepalese Himalaya, Swiss & French Alps, Mallorca’s Tramuntana, Andorran & French Pyrenees, Morocco’s High Atlas, Tanzania’s Mt Meru & Kilimanjaro, Argentinian & Chilean Patagonia and winter expeditions to Norway’s Hardangervidda. Since gaining the ML I have also gained the SINGLE PITCH AWARD, INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD and the WINTER MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD. I am now enjoying working in a freelance role whilst trying to get out climbing as much as possible.

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks - In Pieces!

 The route is a long, challenging but manageable and rewarding day that most people with a reasonable level of physical fitness, plus a helping of will power to overcome possibly sore feet & legs, will be able to complete.
 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 24mile/38km route of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks lies within the Yorkshire Dales National Park and takes in the 3 peaks of Pen-y-ghent (694 m/2,277 ft), Whernside (736 m/2,415 ft) & Ingleborough (723 m/2,372 ft). It is important (and a relief!) to note that the total height of these peaks is not the height needed to be climbed, the peaks are measured from sea level and as we start above sea level the actual height ascended is approx 1,600m/5,249ft.

 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.

 Pen-y-ghent to Ribblehead Viaduct- Descending from the summit of 'Pen-y-ghent' the route heads  North West towards 'Whernside' and the, sometimes visible, 'Ribblehead Viaduct' approx 11.5km away. This section takes the route through 'Horton Moor' & 'Tober Moss' where there can be very wet conditions underfoot at the best of times which can be very tiring to wade through or pick your way around. With no ascents of note the route winds its way through moor then grazing land before passing over a foot bridge at 'Nether Lodge' and joining a well surfaced track that leads to 'Lodge Hall'. Shortly after passing through the 'Lodge Hall' buildings the track meets the B6479 and heads North West for approx 1.5mile on the tarmac to 'Ribblehead Viaduct'.
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
  Ribblehead Viaduct to Whernside- Walking alongside the extremely impressive Victorian engineering of the 'Ribblehead Viaduct' the route follows the 'Settle-Carlisle' railway track until it crosses the aqueduct and starts to rise more steeply as it passes 'Force Gill'. The path to the summit of 'Whernside' crosses a stile on the left and is on a good surface with slabs of stone laid in sections to prevent soil erosion. The route continues to rise steadily before it then makes its way alongside the stone wall that runs along the 'whaleback' shape of 'Whernside', which standing at 736m above sea level is the highest point in 'Yorkshire'. The summit point is some 441m above and 6.5km from the section starting point.
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.
Low Sleights Road to Ingleborough - Turning right through the gate after 'The Old Hill Inn' the route leaves the last of the tarmac behind until the finishing point in 'Horton-In-Ribblesdale' and heads South winding its way through the limestone pavements which were scraped clean during the last ice age. The route rises gradually then passes through a gate where the track is now paved with large slabs of stone as on the ascent of 'Whernside', the slabs take you across a couple of streams and through 'Humphrey Bottom'. After approx 2.8km of gradually gaining height the route leads to what is known locally as 'The Devils Staircase', a rise of 100m over a distance of just 220m on a stone staircase.A the name implies the staircase it can be a bit of a devil on the now tired knees and legs!
 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'.
Ingleborough to Horton-In-Ribblesdale- The final section of the route leaves from the North Eastern point of the flat summit of Ingleborough, from this point, and with good weather, the track can be seen making its way down to 'Horton-In-Ribbledale' with 'Pen-y-ghent' in the distance. It is a long section at some 7.5km whilst descending 390m in height. As it leaves the flat summit the track again puts the tired knees to the test before descending more gently to make its way on a good surface which is boarded in some parts. The route passes through some sections of limestone which can be slippery in wet weather before entering some fields of pasture and finally crossing the railway lines and entering the village of 'Horton-In-Ribblesdale' and the finish!!!
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.
 Refreshments & Toilets- After leaving the village at 'Horton-In-Ribblesdale' chances for refreshment and to use a flushing toilet are limited! There is sometimes a tea van parked at the road junction prior to following the route next to 'Ribblehead Viaduct', it is usually there at weekends and week days when there is decent weather.
 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.


  1. Charlie, if you were to recommend one of the peaks for a day hike, which would it be. Ps, I'll be going with my mum (Sunday April 28th) and she won't want to do anything too painful...

    1. Hello Terry, hope you are well.
      There are a number of options around the 3 Yorkshire Peaks.
      1, Pen y ghent from Horton in Ribblesdale would take you 3hrs or so.
      2, Whernside from Ribblehead Viaduct would again take around 3 hrs.
      3, You could walk to the summit of Ingleborough from Clapham via Gaping Gill which would take 5-6hrs.

      If your mum wouldn't fancy too much pain then Whernside is a fairly steady ascent on a mainly good path, though can get soggy on the way to the summit.
      You can make it into a circuit by descending down to Bruntscar before heading through the fields back to the viaduct.