The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is a superb one-day challenge set in the heart of the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park. The Challenge route is a circular route that involves 40 kilometres of walking and over 1,500m of ascent, and the aim is to complete it within 12 hours.

Starting & finishing at the Ribblehead Viaduct car park on the B6255 to the southeast of Whernside, we walk anticlockwise to ascend Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent, the three highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, in one continuous push! The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is the perfect challenge for walkers who want to test themselves on a tough, long distance mountain walk.

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Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

With spectacular scenery, well-maintained paths, and the chance to refuel during the walk, this is a great way to spend a long day pushing your physical & mental boundaries in a beautiful part of the world.

Once you've booked, you’ll be sent joining instructions, a training plan and kit list. We can also provide advice on local accommodation and other activities.

Overview 

Distance 40 kilometres Location Yorkshire Dales National Park
Height Gain 1,570 metres Grade VERY HARD
Target Time 12 hours Price £90 p.p.
Group Size Minimum 4 Fundraise £120 p.p.

Where & when does it start?

Our meeting time is 06.30 am. The walk starts and finishes at Ribblehead Viaduct car park on the B6255.

Postcode:        LA6 3AS

What3words:  ///bucks.materials.adding

OS Grid Ref:    SD 7654579289

3D Route Video

Route Map & Altitude Profile

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'.

Is it suitable for me?

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is demanding and requires a good level of fitness & commitment and you must be able to walk for up to 12-hours over hilly terrain. It’s harder than the Edale Skyline Challenge but easier than the National Three Peaks Challenge. There are a few places where it’s possible to drop out safely & there are opportunities en-route to buy refreshments, including hot drinks, and to re-fill water.

Weather & terrain

The terrain of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge includes well-worn paths, with short road sections. There are a few short, steep ascents and descents. Poor weather makes the walk harder and it’s essential that participants have good footwear and adequate outdoor clothing to protect you from the elements. The weather can be unpredictable so be prepared for all conditions! You can check some local weather forecasts below.

Yorkshire Dales Mountain Forecast

Water on your walk

We recommend a 750 ml Water-to-Go filter water bottle for this event - it saves you carrying extra weight on this long hill day and you can fill up safely and drink water from the streams on the route, and we can refill water at Philpin Farm between Whernside & Ingleborough, and again at the famous Pen-y-ghent Café in Horton-in Ribblesdale between Ingleborough & Pen-y-ghent.

 What’s included?

  1. Mountain Leaders on a 1:10 ratio
  2. Inspirational Everest webinar with Everest Summiteer Ricky Munday
  3. Vamoos travel app with full event details offline
  4. Live GPS tracking & shareable links for family/friends
  5. BMC Safety on Mountains book (RRP £6.99)
  6. 20% discount for Montane
  7. 15% discount for Cotswold Outdoor
  8. 15% discount for Open Air
  9. 20% discount on Water-to-Go bottles
  10. 25% discount on Uphill Athlete training plans

What’s Excluded? 

  • Accommodation (but we can provide advice on options)
  • Transport to/from your accommodation to our event meet point
  • Personal Food & Drink
  • Parking Charges

Safety

Your safety is our top priority. Our activities are fully risk assessed and we hold Public Liability Insurance via Lockton LLP. Our leaders carry a mountain first aid kit, an emergency shelter, a fully charged mobile phone & spare battery, spare warm clothing & emergency food and we have two-way radio contact with all of our guides at all times during an event. We also hold a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) Operator Licence.

How to book

Book below by choosing your preferred event date below and you'll be taken to the event booking page where you can book & pay. There are a number of ticket types. You can choose:

  • Full payment by bank transfer: £90
  • Full payment online (1.5% fee added): £91.35
  • Deposit by bank transfer: £30
  • Deposit online (1.5% fee added): £30.45

If you choose deposit only (options 3 & 4), you'll also be asked if you'd like to pay your balance by raising funds for our social mission, which means you’ll have nothing else to pay!

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Fundraise for us

Rather than paying your balance, you can alternatively choose to raise funds to support our social mission - with this option, you pay your non-refundable registration fee of £30 when booking and pledge to raise a minimum amount of sponsorship (£120) for our own social projects with disadvantaged young people. We can host fundraising pages directly on our website and you can read some short case studies about our social impact. Read more about fundraising for Inspire Alpine®.

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What happens if the trip cannot run due to Covid-19?

Your safety is our top priority. Please rest assured that if your event cannot go ahead due to Government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions, we'll offer you a number of options including the chance to:

  • postpone your trip to a later departure of the same event (this year or next)
  • join any other UK event in our portfolio (this year or next)
  • receive a refund of monies paid for the challenge

What if there is no official advice against travel, but I want to cancel?

We respect that you may feel more comfortable staying at home, and not travelling regardless of the official advice. If you choose to cancel, we’ll action your request but where there is no Government advice against travel to at the time of cancellation, our standard cancellation terms will apply.

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