On the 6th 7th and 8th of October this year Jackie, Sandra, Dave and Rog  trekked Ingleborough, Pen-Y-Ghent and Whernside, collectively known as the Yorkshire Three Peaks. Each day consisted of a round trip taking in one of the three hills. On day one the target was Ingleborough, at 11.5 miles the longest of the three walks. On day two the weather forecast promised heavy rain so Pen-Y-Ghent was chosen, as being the shortest route it would hopefully mean less time spent in the rain. The final day saw the group take on Whernside before travelling home the next day.

Day 1 - Ingleborough

The first day’s walking saw the group depart the pretty village of Clapham, (that’s the Yorkshire Clapham as opposed to the other pretty village of Clapham in SW London), for the summit of Ingleborough.  Leaving the car park, the route immediately started to gain height and got progressively steeper culminating in the impressive Trow Gill gorge. The track levelled out slightly and led to Gaping Gill, where the Fell Beck disappeared underground. This relatively small hole gave no  indication of the huge cavern that lay beneath the feet of the walkers.  From here the route became really steep with a short respite on Little Ingleborough before the final steep climb to the top. The summit of Ingleborough is a flat featurless plain with the trig point and shelter the only things of note. Nevertheless it was good to get to the top and lunch was very welcome.  The descent took in a route across the slopes of the adjacent  Simon’s Fell and on a circuitous walk around the head of  a valley, taking in  some interesting areas of lime stone pavement before returning down the valley for a final descent into the village.

Jackie exits Trow Gill Atop Ingleborough Pen-Y-Ghent

Jackie exits Trow Gill

Gaping Gill

Atop Ingleborough

Somewhat damp on Pen-Y-Ghent

Gaping Gill

Day 2 - Pen-Y-Ghent

The day dawned as forecast with heavy rain which lasted until mid day. So swaddled in wet weather gear the group set out from the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale to ascend Pen-Y-Ghent, the Yorkshire hill with the Welsh sounding name. Unfortunatey Jackie was unable to take part in the last two walks, so the remaining three headed for the first way point, Brackenbottom Farm.  Despite the rain, the early part of the climb was quite pleasant given that the bulk of the hill provided shelter from the worst of the weather. However after passing through the farmyard and out onto the hill proper, the more height gained the worst the affect of the wind and rain, until on reaching the ridge leading to the summit, the wind made it difficult to maintain balance. The remaining steep climb to the summit continued in a similar vein, with the group being battered by wind and rain, and making the final barrier a scramble up a band of rocks particularly interesting. A short walk then led to the trig point where the weather eased and lunch was taken in the relative comfort of the shelter. The descent was fairly straight forward with a steep section leading to the valley floor and a walk on a well appointed track back to the village.

Day 3 - Whernside

After the previous day’s rain, day 3 dawned bright and dry. The three walkers set off from the car park adjacent to the iconic Ribble Head Viaduct with the route initially following the valley through which ran the Settle to Carlisle railway line. The line eventually disappeared into a tunnel, whilst the path crossed a bridge and headed up to Grain Head.  From Grain Head the group made its way up the eastern flank of Whernside on an increasingly steep path, to meet the long ridge that makes up the summit of the hill. Traversing the ridge saw the trig point finally come into view, a great excuse for some much needed refreshment. The descent from Whernside involved first traversing further along the ridge with its view of the Ribble Head Viaduct far below, then taking the path to the valley floor. This path can only be described as akin to a near vertical descent straight down the side of a cliff.  Whilst slowly making their way down this nightmare of a descent in full walking gear including poles, the group were amazed to be passed by a runner moving at full tilt dressed only in a pair of shorts and a singlet.  On finally reaching the valley floor the route crossed some farm land eventually leading  back to the viaduct and some very welcome refreshment from the ice cream van parked in the car park.

Rail Tunnel below Grain Head Whernside

Rail Tunnel below Grain Head

Blue skies on Whernside


Blue skies on Whernside OSOC takes to the Hills

With thanks to Roger Ninnis


Not only was the trip to the Yorkshire Three Peaks a great walking experience and hopefully raised some money for OSOC, it was also enormous fun. From a visit to Jackie on her narrow boat moored at Skipton, to a meal in the local hostelry close to Austwick , to the saga of “The Sacred String”

The visit to Skipton was particularly memorable. Jackie treated Dave Sandra and Rog to a meal by candlelight, as the electric lights on the boat weren’t working. The lights had become the victims of an amateur electrician.

Rog Dave and Sandra visited the Game Cock Inn in Austwick for a very nice meal on the last night in Yorkshire. However three days of walking and the thought of a long drive home finally caught up with them, leading to a fairly early night.

Sandra was particularly proud of an electronic gizmo she wore which she claimed among other things could accurately indicate how far she had walked on any particular day. Much to the amusement of Dave and Sandra, Rog declared that he had a much more reliable and accurate method of measuring distances ie a piece of string. This revelation was the start of a running joke which ran and ran through out the trip. Rog insisted it was no ordinary piece of string, it had the miles marked on it with a pen, it had an almost mystical accuracy when measuring distances and it was now to be to be known as “The Sacred String.” Whenever distances walked were mentioned, so the sacred string came into play with Rog imbuing it with more and more fantastical powers. Finally he appointed himself High Priest of the Sacred String and intoned “all hail the sacred string” every time it was mentioned.

All in all a great time was had by all. Wonderful walking, superb countryside and great company and a good laugh. Who could ask for anything more?


[Three Peaks in 24 hours] [Pen-y-ghent] [Whernside] [Ingleborough] [Trekking in the UK]

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 Yorkshire Three Peaks Trek Report