Whernside Wander

Of the three Yorkshire Peaks, the one that I have walked the most is Ingleborough. I have not kept a record but I must have been up there close to twenty times, whereas, Penyghent I have scaled almost a dozen times and Whernside half a dozen.

I am not sure why this is so, perhaps because the first time I tried to walk Whernside I was caught in cloud that quickly descended as I went up from Chapel-Le-Dale. I had a scary moment when I thought I might end up in difficulty, before common sense kicked in and I cautiously retraced my steps.

Lynnie and I scaled it a couple of years ago, up the steep side from Winterscales Farm. The approach from the ladder stile just past the farm was initially very boggy and then became very steep, (clambering with feet and hands steep). Back then we walked all three peaks on consecutive days and Whernside proved our least favourite.

On that trip we encountered a party of young fell runners, they streamed past us on Penyghent one day just as we were descending and the following day they came running up through the boggy ground on our approach to Whernside, they were then going on to tackle Ingleborough. For me it is demanding enough to walk these peaks, the idea of running is totally out of the question!

I was never a keen runner and loathed school cross-country. This involved a run through the housing estate where the school was situated (always at risk of being chased by a pack of stray dogs), then down what was known as “Stink Pot Alley” before climbing to Old Sarum and running round the outer rings a couple of times before heading back to school the way we had come. I hated it!

Playing cricket, chasing the ball in the field or running between the wickets (I was never at the crease for long) was a different matter. I was as quick as anyone over short distances. I knew it was time to stop playing cricket when the younger lads could overtake me when I thought I was going at full pelt. But when do you forget how to run? I realised that I had lost the ability about ten years ago when I was suddenly running for a bus, I immediately knew I would not catch it and I had adopted a totally different running style from my younger days. Now only a real emergency could get me going faster than a gentle trot.

I digress. Today’s walk is up Whernside and we park close to Crosby’s favourite spot in the Dales, the tea and burger van in the car park at Batty Green, Ribblehead. We head off under the viaduct, this is a spot we have frequently visited but I still remain stunned by the engineering feet and the sheer scale of the viaduct.

We follow the path through Gunnerfleet Farm and then continue on the tarmac drive towards Winterscales Farm. On meeting the junction of paths we turn left towards Ivescar and ignoring the stile that would take us up the steep side of Whernside carry on through a couple of fields, one of which contained bears, which Lynnie bravely persuaded to move away from the gate so we could continue on our route.
After going through Broadrake we turn right to join the three peaks path that will take us up Whernside. This is initially a steady upward route, with the occasional steeper section. It is only after passing through a gate that the really steep bit is encountered. Crosby and I stride on and sit at the top waiting for Lynnie and Dexter to emerge, they finally do both looking a bit hot and bothered.


Once on the ridge we turn right and follow along it, still upwards until we finally reach the summit of Whernside.


At 2,415 feet the views are stunning particularly down to Deepdale and further onto Dentdale.


From the top we continue heading north along the ridge and are treated to a cracking view of the Whernside Tarns in front of us and Greensett Tarn below us. The heavy rain of the last few days means that our walking is accompanied by the constant sound of trickling water. We follow the three peaks path down, as we do we meet a party of about a dozen walkers, stretched out over a couple of mile. They are starting their ascent of Whernside, their second peak of the day, I am not sure the final group are going to be finishing the 26 miles before dark.

At the junction of paths we turn right to descend Slack Hill, passing through a gate we stop to admire the waterfall at Gill Force, the rainy weather means there is more water flowing here than we have previously seen.


Over the aqueduct at Blea Moor we follow the path with the railway on our right, passing Blea Moor signal box before walking alongside Ribblehead viaduct and finally back to the car. In total the walk is close to eight miles, it seems longer because of the climb, but definitely falls into the “good stroll” category.



A few years ago our visit to Settle coincided with the annual Story Telling Festival and we went along to a couple of events. Something I was glad to do once, but have vowed not to repeat. By chance this weekend it is again the Story Telling Festival, but rather than hear strange tales we head to the Victoria Hall to listen to Holy Moly and the Crackers. They are described as Indie Folk and I am not sure if Freddy’s like Indie Folk, but after the opening numbers I discover they do.

Victoria Hall is a splendid building, this is the first time I have been inside. It is a Grade II listed building built in 1852 and is said to the oldest surviving music hall in England. Restored in 2000 it now has a busy schedule of events. I like architecture and old buildings and this is a cracker. Over the years it will have hosted many lively nights, Holy Moly and the Crackers soon have the place rocking and to make things even better there is an extensive range of bottled beers available at the bar including my latest favourite Moorhouse’s Brewery Blond Witch. Happy days!

To view this walk on OS Maps Click Here

To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map OL2 – Yorkshire Dales – Western Area

10th October 2014

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2014)

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