Whernside from Kingsdale
Whernside is the highest of the famed Three Peaks of Yorkshire and is often climbed as part of the famed challenge. Most people’s experience of climbing it will be from Ribblehead – a fine route taking you on a great sweep from Blea Moor tunnel across Greensett Moss and onto the long ridge leading to the summit. Here is a road less taken joining the ridge from the Kingsdale side and apart from the final ¾ mile to the top one in which you are unlikely to meet anyone at all.

Start. Kingsdale Head LA6 3PH There is a small car park just beyond the gate on the right of the road.(If arriving from the south)



Distance: 10miles 16k

Time: 4- 6 hours

Grade: Strenuous.


Map: OS OL2 The Yorkshire Dales


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 

1. From the car park head back towards Ingleton passing Kingsdale Head on the right. After 700yds there is a diversion well worth taking. A wooded cleft to the right marks the entrance to Yordas Cave.


Noting that it would be entirely at your own risk and providing you have a torch to may wish to give yourself 15 minutes to examine this once former show cave. It houses an impressive waterfall. (These observations should not be construed as encouragement - I merely point out its existence!) Back on Thornton Lane continue for another 950yds (approx. 15mins.)to a footpath on the left. Cross a ladder stile, cross a footbridge


 and bear right to the farmstead of Braida Garth. As you near the complex cross a wall by a stone stile and then join the farm drive following it past the farmhouse


to a waymarked footpath on the far side. The path crosses a number of fields


below steep rising George's Scar on the left.

2. After passing between the scar and the rounded top of Wackenburgh Hill the path reaches a wall. Over this and take the left fork of the bridleway which climbs steeply up Twiston Scar End.


In 200yds this turns left and continues to thread its way through an area of limestone paving to reach the ridge signalled by a prominent cairn. From here bear left to the wall and follow it as it climbs towards the distant summit - 4 ½ miles distant.


Thus route finding becomes unproblematic - even in mist - so you can relax and enjoy the wonderful views (providing there is no mist). To the south east the great bulk of Ingleborough rises - another of the Three Peaks.


As you gain height look out for the Ribblehead Viaduct below to the right. After 3 ½ miles the path joins the route of the three Peaks Walk - WARNING: HERE BE CROWDS especially on summer weekends! The majority of folk will be walking towards you since through custom and practice the Three Peaks is done clockwise. The trig point is on the other side of the wall through a squeeze next to the summit shelter.


3. Returning to Kingsdale Head is now relatively quick. Joining the throng and retrace your steps for 300yds to a small gate in the wall now to your right. Through this and after contouring to a wall corner


begin to descend the flank of Whernside with a wall to your right. There is no defined path on this section but the walking is not arduous.


About 1000yds from the ridge this course will intercept a grassy Landover track.


Turn left onto it and follow it as it sweeps left before Long Gill Bank. Keep onto it until you reach the beck close to Kingsdale Head. Here you may can ford the stream or work round to the flat bridge close to the car park.


POI The Three Peaks Challenge/Race. A route linking the Three Peaks of Yorkshire, Pen y ghent, (694m 2,278ft) Whernside (736m 2416ft) and Ingleborough (723m 2,376ft) in a continuous walk of 24 miles was first recorded in 1887 when two teachers from Giggleswick School completed the round in less than ten hours. The first race was held in 1954 from Chapel-le-Dale when Fred Bagley of Preston Harriers won it in a time of 3hours48mins. The record for this course is held by Jeff Norman who in 1974 (the year he became British Fellrunning Champion) completed the round in a blistering 2hours 29 mins. Rerouting the course from Horton-in-Ribblesdale lengthened it. The current record holder is Andy Peace of Bingley Harriers who ran the race in a time of 2 hours 46 mins in 1996.