Walking in the Yorkshire Dales

Walk 4:
The Yorkshire Three Peaks from Eurospeleo

(With some help from the train)

Route overview:

  • Eurospeleo (140m)
  • Helwith Bridge (by road)
  • Horton-in-Ribblesdale
  • Hull Pot
  • Penyghent summit (694m)
  • Brackenbottom
  • Horton-in-Ribblesdale
  • Train to Ribblehead - train times for tomorrow
  • Blea Moor Tunnel
  • Whernside (736m)
  • Bruntscar
  • Chapel-le-Dale
  • Ingleborough (724m)
  • Gaping Gill
  • Austwick
  • Eurospeleo

The Yorkshire Three Peaks is a classic and famous challenge, covering the three highest peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Penyghent in a single day. We have adapted this traditional route to be possible from Eurospeleo with help from the train. This is a very long, tiring walk and an early (i.e. around 7am) start is recommended, as it careful planning regarding the train times.

Approximate time: 13 hours

Approximate distance: 48 km

Difficulty: 5+ / 5

Navigation Overview:
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.

Walk south down the road in Horton-in-Ribblesdale past the Penyghent Café. About 100m after the café, take the Pennine Way footpath on the left to Penyghent. Follow this path for about 2.5km until a gate with a junction. Little Hull Pot is found only a few hundred metres from here, and 300m straight ahead is a huge depression called Hull Pot which is worth looking at while passing.

The way on is the Pennine Way path on the right towards Penyghent. This passes Hunt Pot on the right after a few hundred metres (which is worth seeing), and then commences the steep ascent up Penyghent. From the summit of Penyghent, take southern path downhill. The first section of the descent off Penyghent via this route is steep and involves a small amount of scrambling.

Soon after the steep descent is a junction, with a path on the right signed to Brackenbottom and/or Horton-in-Ribblesdale. Follow this footpath to the road at the small village of Brackenbottom. Turn right and follow the road down to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. Follow the road north, past the Penyghent Café again (a good time for some food if you have a wait for your train) and continue through the village to the train station.

Catch a train towards Carlisle and travel only one stop to Ribblehead.

From Ribblehead station, walk to the Station Inn pub on the main road. Turn right and only 50-100m down the road is a footpath on the left towards the viaduct. Follow this footpath. Near the middle of the viaduct the path splits – take the route that does NOT pass underneath the viaduct. This route follows next to the railway line for 3km. The railway line is then crossed next to the southern entrance of the famous Blea Moor railway tunnel (opened in 1876).

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.