Walking Ingleborough in the Cloud

Yesterday was a moving day, after ten days at Scar Close CL in Hudswell we headed a few miles further south. It was a pleasant drive through Wensleydale and then down from Hawes to reach our current site, Brigholme Farm CL, Giggleswick.  This is a CL we visit annually and most years more than once so the area and walks are familiar to us, but as it is one of our favourite locations in the Country there will be plenty to keep us occupied.

During this trip I plan to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.  A walk I have done twice before, but I do not underestimate how difficult it can be.  I have been preparing for the walk for months, clocking up miles and seeking out steep ascents to tone up the calf muscles. Before I undertake the challenge I want to take a walk up Ingleborough.  This is a peak I have walked many times and one I never tire of. As I head towards Clapham to start the walk the summit is shrouded in low cloud and I decide if it gets too risky I will abandon my plans.

I park in the Dales National Park car park in the centre of Clapham.  There is free parking around the village but the car parking charges support the upkeep of the Dales.  Leaving the car park I turn right to walk to the church and then right again up a lane that heads through tunnels and then continues to climb gradually.

At a junction of tracks I turn left to follow Long Lane, a wall lined stony track, heading north.  I have walked this track many times over the years and have always been able to see Thwaite Scar, but today it is hidden by low cloud.

After a mile I see the entrance to Ingleborough Cave to my left.  This show cave was first opened up in 1837 and is said to be spectacular inside, I have walked past it many times but never ventured in.  Going underground is not for me; I prefer to be able to see the sky.

On reaching a gate there are three grassy tracks I take the one to the left which heads to Clapham Bottoms.  The path is well walked and easy to follow as it swings to the left and rises to follow a route above Trow Gill.  The cloud appears to be lifting ahead of me so I press on.

On reaching gates in the wall I go through, years ago when I first walked this route there were a couple of ladder stiles here and they were difficult to cross with the dogs.  The introduction of the gates makes it far easier and is a prime example of why paying for the car park is a good idea.


I have walked this section on numerous occasions and follow the well-worn path.  I meet a couple of chaps coming from the opposite direction collecting litter, I comment that they are doing a good job but it is a pity that they need to do it. They explain that they have just held the annual event when people are lowered into Gaping Gill pothole and cleaning up after them is part of the agreement.  I have watched people being lowered into Gapping Gill; it made me weak at the knees and is not something I would contemplate doing.

When the path divides I keep on the left hand route, the right hand path leads to Gaping Gill.  I start to ascend gradually up Little Ingleborough. It is not too long before the path becomes flagstones so it is easy to follow despite the decreasing visibility. I know there are stunning views from here but I just have to imagine them because I can see no more than thirty yards ahead.

Reaching the steep section of Little Ingleborough I realise I have not see anyone for a while and start to wonder if I am the only person out today.  Then as I near the summit someone appears out of the cloud, it makes us both jump because we almost bump into each other.

Had I not walked Ingleborough previously I would have turned around at this point.  However I know the route is clear and if I do decide to turn around I can easily retrace my steps back downhill.

As I make the final ascent the visibility decreases to less than ten yards.  As soon as I am on the plateau summit I meet a couple who tell me they are totally lost and struggling to find their route off towards Horton. I explain I will be heading the same way but first want to visit the trig point.  They have been looking for the trig but can’t find that either.  With the aid of my OS Maps app we go across the plateau collecting others along the way.  It is a bit eerie there are people calling to each other but it is impossible to see anyone.

After visiting the trig I make my customary wave to my mother and her best friend Phyl.  In the past Phyl lived locally and would always instruct me to wave to them when I reached the top.  Sadly both have now long departed but I still make the wave!

Now the tricky bit is to find the route off.  I have the added responsibility of a couple of others relying on my navigational skills. Using the OS Map App I head away from the trig confident that it will take me to the right point.  After walking for a few minutes we are back at the trig point; a frightening reminder that it is foolhardy to rely solely on technology. The second attempt with a compass is far more successful!

Heading off the summit we pass groups of Three Peaks walkers, I would not want to do the walk on a day like today with no chance of seeing the glorious views.  As soon as we are on the path to Horton in Ribblesdale I bid the young couple well with their walking and encourage them to repeat the walk on a clear day.

The route is now easy to follow and as I descend the visibility improves, slightly!  At Nick Pot the path divides and I turn right to leave the main route to follow a grassy track through the edge of limestone pavement.

I have been here with clear visibility and it is stunning, today shrouded in low cloud it is mystical.

At a junction of paths I turn right and then right again to follow the way marked grassy track around Long Scar. After going through a gate I head towards Long Lane.  On reaching the gate to the lane I follow the wall to the right to reach the path at the foot of Trow Gill.  Going through the gate I join the track as it heads towards the Ingleborough Cave.

Passing the cave entrance I continue on the track as it goes through the Ingleborough Estate.  There is a charge for this path, Clapdale Drive, but it is a pleasant walk above Clapham Beck.  The wild garlic is in flower and looks resplendent.

Soon I reach the lake above Ingleborough Hall the Farrer family who owned the Hall created this lake in the early 1800’s as a water feature.  Apparently the tunnels I passed through at the start of my walk gave the family direct access from the house.

I descend into Clapham through the entrance to Ingleborough Estate, paying my dues at the kiosk on the way. From here it is a stroll through the village back to the car park. My walk has covered ten miles and I now feel ready to tackle the Three Peaks in a couple of days time.

To view this 10 Mile Walk on OS Maps Click Here

To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map 2 – Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western Areas

2nd June 2018



© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)


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