The Route

2024 Challenge 5

The Yorkshire Three Peaks walk  

Distance: 39km (24 miles)  

Parking: Horton car park (BD24 0HH)

Other transport: Horton train station on the Settle to Carlisle line is close to the start  Toilets: Horton Car Park  

Refreshments: pubs and café in Horton, Station Inn at Ribblehead and the Old Hill Inn in Chapel-le-dale  

This is a major challenge walk which is long and involves over 1600m (5000 feet) of climbing over the Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. There is one section on road, but the paths are good. You do need to be able to navigate and cope with conditions in the high fells.  

Route description  

  1. Walk south out of the village passing the Golden Lion pub and church and cross a  small stream. Then turn left up a minor tarmac road. Follow this up towards  Brackenbottom and just before reaching some buildings take a footpath on your left signed to Pen-y-ghent.  
  2. Climb steadily up through fields with Pen-y-ghent ahead of you. The final section of the route to the summit is steeper for a while before reaching the trig point and shelter.  
  3. Cross the wall at the summit and follow the clear path heading roughly north. This zig-zags down, passing the gash of Hunt Pot, to reach the head of a walled lane.  
  4. Carry straight on to follow the new path over Whitber Hill to reach a clear track. Turn right and follow this for 1.5km (1 mile) and then take the path on the left towards  Birkwith cave. This emerges onto a rough tarmac track, turn left and then right onto an  unsurfaced track towards Nether Lodge.  
  5. After Nether Lodge follow the long access track up to the B6479. Turn right and follow this to Ribblehead – the road can be busy and you need to take care.  
  6. From the road take one of the paths that head towards Ribblehead viaduct. Keep the viaduct on your left and follow an obvious path which runs alongside the railway.  
  7. After 2.5km (1.5 miles) the path crosses over the railway besides an aqueduct. The path now starts to climb towards Grain Head. Leave this path by taking the signed  route to the left which climbs slowly on to the ridge, which is then followed up to the summit.  
  8. To descend continue to follow the ridge path southwards for 1.5km (1 mile) and then  turn left on the signed path down to Bruntscar. Follow the lane towards the valley to  reach the B6255. Turn left, go past the Old Hill Inn, and then right on to a level grassy  path. Take care as this road can be busy and traffic fast moving.  
  9. This goes through a number of fields and then through an area of limestone pavement and past the shakehole known as Braithwaite Wife Hole. The obvious path continues towards Ingleborough climbing gently at first and then steeply to reach the summit plateau.
  10. In poor weather it is easy to leave the plateau in the wrong direction. If needed from the trig point use a bearing of 070’ until the ground starts to steepen, then follow a bearing of 100’.  
  11. From the summit plateau follow the path east heading towards Horton-in-Ribblesdale. This drops slowly towards the valley. Continue past a ruined cottage and keep on the main path. This crosses another major path and continues along the obvious feature of Sulber Nick – a small straight valley. There are then only a few fields to go before the  path reaches Horton train station with the car park – and pub – a short distance further  on.  

 Find out more about the Three Peaks Project at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/threepeaks  

The Route