A Walk up Whernside
Monday 1st January
Car Parking: On the roadside around the Station Inn or the large lay-bys just up the road (free)
Start / Finish: Outside the Station Inn, Ribblehead (grid ref SD 764 792, postcode LA6 3AS)
Meet time: 10 am for 10.15 start
Description: This is a circular walk that takes in Whernside, one of the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks. The terrain covered is on public footpaths and bridleways and is a straightforward ascent to the top with return down the opposite side.
Route: We meet at the Station Inn, Ribblehead, and set off along the footpath crossing Batty Moss that takes us parallel to Ribblehead Viaduct. Limestone scars are in sight as well as remains of the old shanty towns that housed hundreds of navvies when constructing the viaduct in the 1870s. The viaduct itself is 400 metres long and made up of 24 arches.
The footpath begins to rise as we continue parallel to the railway and pass Blea Moor signal box, one of the most isolated ’boxes in the UK. Continuing along the path towards Blea Moor tunnel, we branch left to cross the railway, walking alongside the unique aqueduct that carries Force Gill as it runs off the slopes of Whernside, where we are now heading.
For a short time we walk on the Dales High Way that continues towards Dentdale, soon branching left onto the path that takes us on a direct ascent up the slopes of Whernside. Views of Dentdale valley begin to open up as we continue climbing, and the final steeper section takes us to the top of the hill, demarcated by a trig point at 736 metres, and, on a clear day, views towards the Howgills, the other two Yorkshire peaks Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent, and the west coast.
After taking in the views and perhaps following a bite to eat, we begin the descent, this time down ‘A Pennine Journey’ long distance bridleway as it runs along the upper ridge and turns to descend next to Combe Scar. We are now on the relatively steep descent down the face of the hill which affords views towards the viaduct and, opposite, to Ingleborough and Park Fell. On reaching the valley floor we turn left, skirting the base of Whernside towards Ivescar and Winterscales Farm, and pass underneath the railway via an underpass or through the viaduct, returning to the Station Inn along the original footpath with opportunity for a rest and a welcome drink.
Distance: 8½ miles
Total ascent: 436 metres
Walk time: 4-5 hours
Leader: Mark tel 07967 193749 Please text by the night before to say you are coming.
Photos by Mark Fielding