The Three Peaks of the Yorkshire Dales; Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, together rise a combined total of 2153m above the Dales and are some of the most visited mountains in the UK.
Our idea (not an original one!) was to tackle these three majestic hills in one epic 25 mile hike, but owing to a slight altercation with a Lake District mountain some weeks before we made some slight amendments and decided to do each mountain on three separate weekends.
Ingleborough (723 metres)
First up was Ingleborough. The day was overcast as we began but the weather never really matters: put on your boots, take your waterproofs and you’re good to go! We started in the pretty Dales village of Clapham and headed north. The scenery on the way up to the peak is spectacular; passing by Ingleborough Cave, Trow Gill Gorge and Gaping Gill (at 98m, the highest unbroken waterfall in England).
We reached the trig point and handily placed shelter and stopped for lunch looking out towards Whernside in the north.
We descended through the limestone pavement for which the Dales are famous with Pen-y-Ghent constantly in view promising of another adventure for another day.
Whernside (736 metres)
The next week we set our sights on Whernside, traditionally the second peak of the Three Peaks to be tackled on a Challenge Walk. Our start point this time was the Ribblehead Viaduct. This Victorian structure although manmade almost seems a natural part of the landscape.
As the day began, the top of the mountain was shrouded in cloud but as we made our way up the clouds parted and gave us fantastic views of Ingleborough to the south!
We continued on our merry way down the rather steep descent and made it back the car with just enough time to stop off in Hawes for a cuppa.
Pen-y-Ghent (694 metres)
Last, but by no means least, was Pen-y-Ghent. Lying to the east of Ingleborough and Whernside it is the smallest of the three at 694m but offers a bit more of a challenge in that there is a small amount of scrambling involved!
Pen-y-Ghent’s distinctive profile is unmistakable and as the path from Horton-in-Ribblesdale takes you ‘round the back’ the scramble comes into view. With this challenge surmounted, lunch once again beckoned at the top!
On the way down we made a small detour to Hull Pot, once a huge cavern but now a huge hole (the ceiling fell in)! The pot is 18m deep and 91m long so made for quite an impressive end to the walk.
So, there we have it. Three peaks ‘ticked off’ but for us it is not about ticking boxes on a list. The most important thing about being in any environment is the experiences we have and the memories we create. The outdoors is one of the most restorative places you can find so get yourselves out there, be sensible, but above all, have fun! To quote Sir Edmund Hillary “it is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves”.
Interested in getting outdoors and visiting the Yorkshire Dales? Click here to find out more about the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
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