View Route in OS Maps

Peak 1: Whernside route

At 736 metres, the highest peak in Yorkshire offers fine views down Dentdale and Kingsdale and across to Morecambe Bay. Whernside is formed of Millstone Grit and is thought to be named after ‘quern’ stones used for grinding corn. Whernside’s 'whale-back' shape was formed by land slippage, and the natural bowl on the north-east slope is believed to be the site of one of the last glaciers in the Yorkshire Dales. When the glacier receded, it left behind a small tarn and the boggy area known as Greensett Moss.

We cross the B6255 keeping the viaduct on our left and follow an obvious path which runs alongside the railway. After 2.5km the path crosses over the railway besides an aqueduct, and we have excellent views back to Ingleborough being framed between the railway arches.

The path now starts to climb towards Grain Head. We leave this path by taking a sign-posted route to the left which climbs slowly on to the ridge, following the line of a wall for a few hundred yards, before heading off diagonally left onto a man-made path constructed of large stone slabs to try to prevent erosion. The path turns back to the wall to continue all the way up to the summit of Whernside (736m), the highest point in Yorkshire.

Peak 2: Ingleborough route

On a clear day we have views to Morecambe Bay far off to the west. Ingleborough's recognisable stepped profile is due to the alternating layers of limestone, sandstone and shale which form the bulk of the mountain beneath its gritstone cap.

Ingleborough is interesting for its archaeology - the rocks laid out on the top were part of an Iron Age (or even earlier) ritual site. Aerial photography shows that the summit plateau once had a stone wall around it, and there are also the remains of circular stone structures. These have been identified as Iron Age huts, part of a defensive hillfort belonging to the Brigantes, a northern tribe who fought the Roman invaders in the second century AD.

We descend from the summit of & continue to follow the ridge path southwards for 1.5km and then turn left on the signed path down to Bruntscar. We follow a lane towards the valley to reach the B6255, where we turn left, go past the Old Hill Inn, and then right on to a level grassy path.

This path takes us through farmland and past the shakehole known as Braithwaite Wife Hole. An obvious path continues towards Ingleborough climbing, gently at first, but steepening sharply to reach the summit plateau, which can be challenging to navigate in low visibility.

Peak 3: Pen-y-ghent route

Pen-y-ghent's stepped, domed outline dominates the surrounding landscape. The steep southern side has great stepped ‘rakes’ and a grit stone cap resting on a band of limestone. The rakes were formed in 1881 when a tremendous storm washed away the topsoil leaving the Millstone Grit and limestone exposed.

The summit ridge divides streams flowing east to the North Sea from those that flow west into the Irish Sea. Remains of a Neolithic chambered tomb can be seen at Round Barrow within the shadow of Pen-y-ghent.

From the summit plateau of Ingleborough, we follow a path east heading towards Horton-in-Ribblesdale, which loses height slowly towards the valley. The main path continues along Sulber Nick, a small straight valley. The path continues through a number of fields before reaching Horton train station. We can resupply at the famous Pen-y-ghent Café.

After refreshments, we walk south out of the village and turn left up a minor road towards

Brackenbottom. Just before reaching some farm buildings, we take a footpath on our left signed to Pen-y-ghent, which runs alongside along a dry stonewall. We climb steadily up through fields with Pen-y-ghent ahead of us. The final section of the route to the summit steepens for a while and you may want to use hands at certain points as we step up some large boulders, before reaching the trig point and shelter.

We cross the wall at the summit to follow the path heading roughly north, which zig zags down to reach the head of a walled lane, where we carry straight on following a good path over Whitber Hill to reach a clear track. We follow this track for 1.5km then veer left towards Birkwith cave and follow a series of tracks towards Nether Lodge. Beyond Nether Lodge we emerge on to the B6479, where we turn right and follow the road back to the start at Ribblehead.

Note: In the map below, it's best to view the route by selecting 'OSM Outdoor' from the dropdown on the top right-hand corner of the map, which defaults to 'RWGPS'.