Walking in the Yorkshire Dales

Walk 3:
Dentdale, Whernside and Ingleborough

(With some help from the train)

Route overview:

  • Eurospeleo (140m)
  • Helwith Bridge (by road)
  • Horton-in-Ribblesdale
  • Train to Dent Station - train times for tomorrow
  • Blea Moor Tunnel
  • Whernside
  • Bruntscar
  • Chapel-le-Dale
  • Ingleborough (724m)
  • Gaping Gill
  • Clapham
  • Austwick
  • Eurospeleo

To reach Whernside, the third of the famous Ingleborough three peaks, and get back to Eurospeleo in a day, it is helpful to use the train. An easy 2.5 hr walk to Horton in Ribblehead station should be timed for arrival to catch an early train (ideally around 10am) towards Carlisle getting off after two stops at Dent station. A walk back over the Blea Moor railway tunnel reaches the route up to the summit of Whernside. A descent to the village of Chapel-le-Dale provides a brief rest, before the next ascent of Ingleborough commences. The final section of the walk is down from Ingleborough to Gaping Gill to see the winchmeet, and then down to Austwick and back to Eurospeleo. This is an outstanding walk!

Approximate time:
Eurospeleo to Settle train station: 2.5 hrs
Dent station to Eurospeleo (via Whernside and Ingleborough): 8.5 hrs
Total duration: 11 hrs

Approximate distance:
Eurospeleo to Horton-in-Ribblesdale station: 10 km
Dent station to Eurospeleo (via Whernside and Ingleborough): 31 km
Total length: 41 km

Difficulty: 5 / 5

Navigation Overview:
Aim to get a train around 10am from Horton-in-Ribblesdale (and allow 2.5hr to walk to the station)

From Eurospeleo, cross over the main road and walk into Austwick and then follow the road all the way to Helwith Bridge. Just before the pub, take the Ribble Way footpath on the left, which passes under the railway line after 1km and then follows the river north for 3km to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The railway station is on the west side of the village.

Travel towards Carlisle for two stops and get off at Dent station.

From the station, walk down the very steep road to the junction at the bottom in the very beautiful valley of Dentdale. Follow the road south along the river (passing a pub, the Sportsman’s Arms). The road crosses the river soon after the pub. Keep following the road until Bridge End, where a footpath leads off the road towards Dent Head Farm. The path then leads up and directly over the top of the Blea Moor railway tunnel, before descending back down to meet the southern entrance of the tunnel and the route leading towards Whernside.

Follow the Dales High Way north-west towards the northern slopes of Whernside. After less than 1km the route to Whernside goes left (west) and commences the main ascent. The path then turns south and follows all the way along Whernside passing the summit.

From the summit of Whernside, follow the path south down to Bruntscar, and then via the track (Philpin Lane) to the Old Hill Inn pub about 0.5km north east of Chapel-le-Dale village on the main road.

Walk north east up the main road from the pub and after about 150m take the footpath on the right towards Ingleborough. Follow this footpath all the way to the summit of Ingleborough (passing near Great Douk Cave and Meregill Hole, both caves available to Eurospeleo delegates).

As soon as the plateau at the summit of Ingleborough is reached, the way onwards is to turn left onto the southbound footpath down towards Little Ingleborough and Gaping Gill (although you may wish to walk around the Ingleborough summit before descending). Once down at Gaping Gill there will be an encampment of cavers operating the winch to greet you.

Follow the footpath beyond Gaping Gill down to Trow Gill (a steep limestone gorge). A few hundred metres after descending Trow Gill, where the path turns right, go up the grassy embankment on the left to reach the higher level footpath (Long Lane). Follow this south to a junction near Clapham, and turn left towards Austwick on Thwaite Lane. On reaching the road (Crummack Lane) turn right into Austwick and then a quick return to Eurospeleo completes the adventure.