Pen-y-ghent

This walk mixes sections of the Pennine way and the route used for the 3 peaks challenge to offer walkers extensive views of the North Yorkshire moors.  The route traverses Whitber Hill then climbs Pen-y-ghent before returning to Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

Circular  |  10.2km (6.3 miles)  |  Difficulty: Medium

Please note that the route given is a rough guide and should not be relied upon solely when planning a walk. Remember to plan ahead, get a proper map and ensure you have the right equipment.

This walk starts in Horton-in-Ribblesdale.  Since this is the place which walkers, cyclists and runners start from for the 3-peaks challenge, parking is ample.  There is a train station in the village in addition to a number of bus links.  Horton also has a number of B&Bs, pubs and tea rooms.

1:  This route is best traversed clockwise, otherwise walkers face a much steeper ascent.  The Pennine Way, which the route follows, passes through Horton-in-Ribblesdale.  To traverse the route clockwise walkers will need to follow the section of the Pennine way which begins at the North of the village.  Walkers could cut this section out of the route by following the more Southern route of the Pennine Way which leaves the village, this however will result in a much shorter walk.  This first section of the route offers some great views of the Ribblesdale valley.

2: The route follows the Pennine Way until it reaches Sell Gill Beck.  Here the path heads uphill, on the right of the path here there is a gate.  Here the route diverges from the Pennine Way and instead follows the path used by many for the 3-peaks challenge.  The path along this section can be incredibly boggy so beware.  The path crosses back over the Beck, through another gate and uphill to the top of Whitber Hill.  From here looking north the Ribblehead viaduct can be seen, as passed under by the Wernside Walk.  From here the route heads downhill, following the path which eventually joins up with another section of the Pennine Way.

3: The route now follows the Pennine Way up the side of Pen-y-ghent.  This is a fairly steep ascent.  Beware that due to the popularity of this section of the route walkers will need to allow others, such as fell-runners to pass every so often.  The ascent can take walkers breath away, both through exhaustion and through the terrific views of Ingleborough and Wernside.

4: Eventually the path will reach a wall at the summit.  The route crosses the wall at the stiles and gives walkers yet another amazing view, this time of Fountain’s Fell, before heading South.  This section of the route heads downhill.  The descent at first isn’t too steep but soon reaches Pen-y-ghent’s stone steps.

5: This is where the route may potentially become quite difficult.  In icy and wet conditions walkers will need to take their time.  The path on the south side of Pen-y-ghent is mostly rock which can become very slippery.  This, coupled with the steepness of the hillside can make the route rather precarious.  However, this is only a short section of the route and on dry days it isn’t too hard to traverse.  Again, due to the popularity of the route, walkers will occasionally need to stop on their descent to allow those heading the other way to get past.

6: At the bottom of the descent walkers will find a path which leaves the Pennine way and heads back towards Horton-in-Ribblehead.  The route leaves the Pennine way for the last time now and follows this offshoot.  This section of the route is a leisurely descent back down the Ribblesdale valley side towards the River Ribble.

7: Eventually the route passes through a gate and onto a small road which it follows  downhill.  This leads along side Horton Beck and back into the village.  In the village there’s a small foot bridge across the beck.  The route crosses it and allows walkers to choose how to return to the start.

This route does have a steep ascent but the most dangerous part is the descent over Pen-y-ghent’s rocky steps.  If following this route on a wet or slippery day take care and pace yourself accordingly.

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