Hill: Whernside
Date: Monday 4th April 2016
Company: Myself and Becky
Distance: 13km, Ascent: 485m
Time: 4Hrs 15Mins

Having ascended Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent previously, I set out today to ascend Whernside, the third of the Yorkshire "Three Peaks". I decided to start from Ribblehead in order to get up close to the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct.

On arrival at Ribblehead, Whernside was pretty-much hidden under a blanket of cloud.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

After getting our boots and gaiters on, we set off along a path signposted "Bleamoor Sidings".

Becky at the start of the track:

After a short distance, the path merged with a wider track leading to the Ribblehead Viaduct. I took a number of photos of the viaduct.

The viaduct was built between 1870 and 1874. It was built by 1000 navvies who established shanty towns on the moors for themselves and their families. The shanty towns were named after Crimean War victories. Circa 100 of these navvies were killed during the construction of the viaduct. The line was opened to goods traffic in 1875 and to passengers in 1876. There were plans to close the line in the 1980s owing to the viaduct becoming unsafe and requiring repair. In 1985, the line was singled to prevent two trains from crossing the viaduct simultaneously. Due to tremendous protest, the decision to close the line was retracted and extensive repairs were carried out.

Ribblehead Viaduct:

Becky at Ribblehead Viaduct:

Looking back to Ribblehead Viaduct:

Beyond the viaduct, we followed the excellent track leading towards the Blea Moor signal box.

Approaching Blea Moor signal box:

We continued to follow the track as far as the bridge over the railway line which we crossed and then followed the Dales High Way leading uphill towards Force Gill waterfall.

Bridge over a stream:

Little Dale Beck:

Onto the Dales High Way:

On reaching Force Gill waterfall, I stopped to take several photos and Becky stopped for a wee rest.

Force Gill waterfall:

Becky wanted a photo taken of herself with the waterfall in the background.

Becky and Force Gill waterfall:

Force Gill waterfall:

Beyond Force Gill waterfall, we reached a stile with a waymarking post indicating that we had a further one and three-quarter miles to go before reaching the summit.

Climbing over the stile:

The pathwork on Whernside is mostly excellent. A significant number of large flagstones have been laid to prevent extensive erosion. These are great to walk on.

Onto the flagstones

Once into the cloud, views were minimal.

Greensett Moss:

The flagstones took us up onto the NNE ridge which we followed to the summit of Whernside.

Heading onto the NNE ridge of Whernside:

We stopped at the summit long enough to take a few photos before continuing on along the ridge with a view to descending via one of two paths marked on the map.

Becky at the summit of Whernside:

Becky at the trig point on Whernside:

Path maintenance donation plaque on the summit trig point:

The descent towards Bruntscar was not pleasant. Unlike the excellent flagstones used earlier in the day, some of the stonework placement on the descent track is fairly awful. As this stonework was also wet, I held Becky's hand during the descent and guided her advising where to place her feet.

Steep descent towards Bruntscar:

Looking back at steep descent:

It was a relief to us both to get our feet back onto reasonably level ground and to begin the walk out back towards Ribblehead.

Long walk out back to beyond the viaduct:

Instead of walking out to the road, we opted to follow a track leading from Bruntscar to Broadrake and Ivescar.

Walk out past Broadrake and Ivescar:

Walk out past Broadrake and Ivescar:

After passing Gunnerfleet Farm, we soon arrived back at the Ribblehead Viaduct which we crossed underneath.

Ribblehead Viaduct restoration information:

From the viaduct, we followed our initial in-bound route back out to the car.

I had hoped to see limestone pavement during this walk but saw none. Despite Whernside being the highest of the Three Peaks, it is definitely not the best. Ingleborough is superior, in my humble opinion. The ascent of Whernside was however still an enjoyable day out.