Whernside (from Ribblehead)

Yorkshire Dales – West

Route: Ribblehead junction – under Ribblehead viaduct – join the main path at Bruntscar.

Distance: 8.4 miles Ascent: 467m Time: 3h 45m

OS Maps: OL2 Yorkshire Dales, Southern & Western areas

Parking / Start Point: There is plenty of off-road parking either side of the junction at Ribblehead; and its all free!

Whernside is the mountain I have climbed the most – I’m guessing, in excess of 50 times since the early 80’s. Many of these climbs have been as part of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge, but also many just as one-off walks. I can be at Ribblehead in under an hour, so its location made it a useful place to do much of my training before a recent Himalayan expedition. After work, I would drive to Ribblehead, get to the summit as fast as possible and be home by 9.30.

Now, you won’t hear this very often, if at all – Whernside is my favourite mountain. It may lack the dramatic features of its close sisters, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent, but the views from the summit are, in my opinion, the finest in the Country. To the west, Morecambe Bay, the Howgills and the Lake District. To the east, majestic views down Ribblesdale, flanked by Pen-y-Ghent to the left and Ingleborough to the right.

This walk starts by avoiding the hordes of 3 peak walkers and heading under Ribblehead viaduct. Pass the farm on the right and cross the bridge over Winterscales Beck. Keep following the lane for just over 1 km before turning right shortly before a gate. There is no signpost, and the path is poorly defined. (See below.) Eventually, after a muddy crossing of the beck you will come out at the foot of Whernside and join the 3 Peaks path. From here on, the route is against the flow of 3-peakers, up the steep (and newly re-pitched) climb onto the summit ridge.

Make the most of the views from the summit! And then descend, still against the flow of 3-peak traffic.

Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside
Ingleborough behind the arches
For this walk I followed the Public Bridleway
Turn left after the bridge
Winterscales Beck with Ingleborough. Clouds slowly rolling in from the Irish Sea
Ribblehead Viaduct with Pen-y-ghent in the distance
Turn right here (see description above)
The path is not immediately obvious, and is not signposted
The way ahead
Joining the 3 peaks path in reverse
Bruntscar with Ingleborough
Halfway up Whernside, a view to the south-east
The path steepens
The final push onto the summit ridge
Now on the summit ridge and looking back to the south, with clouds still slowly rolling in from the west
The first false summit
Looking across the valley to Ingleborough
The summit ridge
The Ingleborough ‘massif’ – Park Fell, Simon Fell and Ingleborough
Ingleborough – you can make out the ascent path – like a silver ribbon
Summit trig point. To the left of the wall is North Yorkshire and to the right Cumbria
Starting the descent along the summit ridge
The steep ‘east face’ of Whernside
Looking back towards the summit, starting to mist over
Dramatic skies over Ingleborough. Greensett Moss tarn to the left
Force Gill
House by Bleamoor Sidings
Viaduct with Park Fell behind

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