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Whernside and Ribblehead Viaduct
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Whernside Yorkshire 3 Peaks

We follow the route from Ribblehead to the Hill Inn (near Chapel-le-Dale) on the B6255, via Whernside.

This section is approximately 12 kms long, and involves a steep climb up Whernside, but mostly paths and tracks are well defined and easy underfoot.

At Ribblehead, we turn left onto the B6255 for a short distance and cross the road just after the Inn following the path up the eastern side of the viaduct, without passing underneath it, before Continuing north on the track, which runs alongside the Settle to Carlisle railway.

Passing Blea Moor sidings and signal box our path crosses the railway and although obvious on the ground, it does not follow the right of way as marked on maps.

  Whernside and cairn
     

After meeting a stone wall we then climb, steeply at first, along the ridge for about a mile to the summit of Whernside and continue along the ridge for about 1km where we bear left onto the well defined footpath.

The walk up isn't too difficult just monotonous and if the weather is clear you can look over to Ingleborough.

Leaving Whernside in our wake after a little walk along its ridge we descend down a steep path to Ivescar Farm where they now have a welcome refreshment caravan at an appropriate quick break spot.

The refuelling will do you good for Ingleborough is a good climb once you have passed the Hill Inn at Chapel-Le-Dale and you will take alcoholic beverages at your peril...

 

  Whernside ridge
     

At 2,414 ft, Whernside is the highest of the Yorkshire Dales' famous 'Three Peaks'...

Although many think Whernside to be visually less interesting than its distinctive neighbours Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent, the summit of this fell offers some spectacular views.

Like its neighbours, Whernside is capped by millstone grit on top of limestone - a geological profile which gives rise to a network of caves and potholes formed by waters draining off the upper slopes.

It is often termed the 'roof' of Yorkshire and its long shallower slopes host a number of tributaries of Little Dale Beck and Winterscales Beck which in turn runs in parallel with West Fell southwards and eventually into the River Doe.

  Whernside ridge in winter
     

Both Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough can easily be seen to the east and south, whilst towards the north above Dentdale are Baugh Fell and the prominently undulating Howgill Fells further behind.

Whernside is the ideal vantage point not only for the other peaks but for the odd locomotive that passes down below.

Trains can be seen from nearby Horton-in-Ribblesdale crossing the viaduct at Ribblehead to disappear into Blea Moor.

Once on the summit of Whernside, barring any pitfalls along the way you will have a clear indication of your timings at this mid-way point - whatever the weather you will want to finish with a flourish picking up the pace for the final leg to Ingleborough when you can look forward to your celebration meal and a few pints of ale before you leave the Dales!

  Twistleton Scar and Whernside
     

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