Yorkshire Three Peaks Part 1: Pen-Y-Ghent

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The Yorkshire Three Peaks is a well-known challenge walk. The official challenge is to walk the 24-mile route in twelve hours, no mean feat when you consider the length, the terrain and the 1,600m of ascent as you cross Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside (Yorkshire's highest summit) and Ingleborough.

However, we have split the whole walk into two parts (second half Walk 4229), using the Settle - Carlisle railway line which bisects the circular route, crossing it at Ribblehead and Horton-in-Ribblesdale. You can walk this walk and return via rail, then go out via rail another day to return by Walk 4229.

This part starts at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where accommodation, camping, pubs and the famous Pen-Y-Ghent Café can be found. If you're planning on doing the full challenge, leave your details at the café - they will raise the alarm if you don't check back in by the end of the day.

From Horton, there's a long climb to the first peak, Pen-Y-Ghent. Note two distinctly visible sills (the lower of limestone and the upper of gritstone), especially as we move further towards the southern edge. We scramble up them to reach our first summit. Have a rest (you deserve it) and take in the views. Weather permitting, you will be able to spot the rolling bulk of Whernside to the north and the rocky hill-fort of Ingleborough to the west. For this section though, the bulk of the climbing is over and done with.

There's still a lot of walking to do however, as we drop steeply off Pen-Y-Ghent on the Pennine Way and then more gradually down into Ribbledale. The first part of this stretch can be very boggy and the path indistinct. If you're just doing this part, the Station Inn at Ribblehead is just the place to refresh yourself while you wait for your train.

Dog-walkers, please note the presence of sheep, some dog-unfriendly stiles, the boggy bits and the rocky scramble up to Pen-Y-Ghent. There's also a short distance of road-walking at the end.

England - North England - Yorkshire - Yorkshire Dales


Birds, Cafe, Church, Food Shop, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Moor, Mountains, Pub, Public Transport, Toilets, Wildlife
10/19/2015 - Jude Paterson

Completed the full Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge this weekend (this walk, and it's partner 4229). Great walk, but as per previous comments it is a challenge. There have been improvements to the paths, and a slight change in route on this first part. At waymark 10 the official route now turns left (signposted) then later turns right to re-join this route. This alternative is all on good paths, avoiding the bog. It is still possible to follow the route given in this walk.

7/22/2009 - Rose Procter

We completed the 3 peaks walk last Sunday in just over 11 hours and really recommend it for a challenge. Beautiful scenery and a great sense of achievement at the end so go on and do it!

6/4/2007 - Sam Roebuck

If you read John Crace's write up of the 3 Peaks in the Guardian (2nd June 2007), he used the words 'leisurely' and 'amble' to describe his 10 hour walk of the Three Peaks. I know his tongue may have been slightly in his cheek, but believe me, even if you take 12 hours, neither word would spring to mind. This is a tough walk whichever way you slice it!

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