Thursday, 26 April 2012

Whernside, Three Peaks Completed!

Well, it took a little longer than twelve hours. I didn't clock out and in at Horton-in-Ribblesdale. I didn't even experience the bogs between Pen-Y-Ghent and Whernside! In fact it took me roughly six weeks to complete the Three Peaks of Yorkshire this time around!

The starting point of our ascent

What happened was a failed attempt in February saw me soaked through, and beaten by the weather following the ascent of Pen-Y-Ghent. However circumstance meant I was passing through the area on a couple more occasions recently and so after a recent Ingleborough walk I was able to complete the Three Peaks of Yorkshire - in my own time, on my own terms.

snow piled along the wall on Whernside summit

And what a liberating experience it was! I could choose my routes, decide when and where to stop, take in the amazing surroundings without keeping an eye on the watch, and basically enjoy some exploration of Yorkshire's limestone country.

neighbouring Ingleborough

For the Whernside leg, bog hoppin' Dave and I parked up at Ribblehead. Our original plan was a simple Whernside circular following the crowds, but as we reached the viaduct we decided to head off along another path in order to do a clockwise circuit, against the flow as it were. This path followed the contours at the foot of Whernside, crossing a couple of farms, before heading up the fell.

looking up to Whernside summit

If the approach along the Three Peaks route is a long drawn out affair this path is anything but, and goes fairly steep up along the side of the fell. Having said that there is no scrambling involved, just a steady climb, which has the advantage of gaining altitude quickly.

Whernside ridge footpath

As it happens, we gained the ridge footpath in no time, and soon were reunited with the Three Peakers. We were trying to figure out at what time they will have started and it must have been pretty early in order for them to have done Pen-Y-Ghent and Whernside before midday!

looking over the fells beyond Dent viaduct

With clouds threatening to engulf us we wasted no time going up the ridge and reaching the crowded trig point. From here there are fantastic views all around, over to Ingleborough, down to the ever-present Ribblehead Viaduct and beyond to the Dent viaduct, and the countless fells of the Dales beyond.

the distant Howgill fells

Over the other side of the ridge wall was a great view of the Howgill Fells which remains territory unexplored for me!

tarns on Whernside overlooking Three Peaks country

Coming down we debated on making a detour to Dent but decided this would be a bit of a long detour and with band rehearsals and dj'ing scheduled for later in the day it made sense to head back along the railway to Ribblehead.

Whernside waterfall on Force Gill

We made a detour to go and view the really spectacular waterfalls on Force Gill. This was such a quiet spot, too far off the beaten track for the challenge walkers to visit - another one to add to the list of perfect picnic spots!

Blea Moor with a cloudy Whernside beyond

As we reached Blea Moor a train rolled past, enabling us to see Ribblehead carrying out what it was designed to do, carryiong trains, instead of being merely the target of countless photos, postcards, and Harry Potter pilgrims! From here it was a short walk back to the busy car park at Ribblehead and smiles all round for another great day out in the Dales.

Ribblehead viaduct


  1. Hi

    I'd like to use your photo of Ribblehead Viaduct above as the basis for a painting I'm doing if that's okay? I'd be happy to send you a copy when it's finished.



  2. Hi Richard

    It would be an honour!



  3. Great! If you let me know your email address I'll send you a copy when I've finished.

    Thanks again


  4. Hey Richard, please send me your email address using the link box below and I'll email back with my email address. If you put it in the body of the email that would be great. Thanks again!