Great Whernside

  • One of the best mountains in the Dales
  • Extensive views down Wharfedale
  • Easy walking on good tracks

Great Whernside and its neighbour Buckden Pike are , in my humble opinion, the two best mountains to climb in the Yorkshire Dales. Ingleborough is great but too many visits guiding the 3 Peaks challenge has reduced its appeal for me. There is nothing particularly craggy or dramatic about them but they are superb walking mountains best appreciated by taking in as much of the main ridges as possible.

In the case of Great Whernside I enhanced the pleasure by crossing the road which leads to Coverdale and only descended back to Kettlewell when I reached the Top Mere bridleway. The views from Top Mere, which is actually a track, reveal much of the secrets of Upper Wharfedale and its network of fields and side valleys. There is a direct descent to Kettlewell from the summit of Great Whernside but this misses so much of the pleasure on the walk. The long ridge is on lovely grassy paths, as is the first 1/2 of the ascent which helps make the walk one of the best.

Great Whernside is one of the Dales 30 Mountains

Recommend: Combine Great Whernside and Buckden Pike for a magnificent traverse with views of all that is good about the Yorkshire Dales

Download GPX file

Great Whernside from Kettlewell map


All maps are copyright of Where2Walk ©2018

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL30 Yorkshire Dales North & Central. Buy Map
Start Point: SD 969723. Kettlewell. The NP car park is just over the bridge although I parked opposite in a field leased by the local garage - it was cheaper. Head up the southern hillside first leaving Top Mere Road for the descent.
Height to Climb: 539 ms (1,768 feet)
Terrain: The walking is superb throughout except for the trackless last 500 foot to the summit ridge. Much is on grass paths
Eating & Drinking: Kettlewell is excellent with a choice of pubs and tea shops - the choice is all good
Similar Walks Nearby: Buckden Pike & Upper Wharfedale
An Arncliffe Kettlewell Circular
Limestone Scenery from Conistone
Places to Stay:


  1. allan hartley says:

    Why not get an annual parking permit from the Dales Park Centres then you can park on any of their car parks throughout the park and not have to keep an eye on the time plus more security for your vehicle, they benefit and you do.

  2. joyce jackson says:

    we walk many paths/tracks in all parts of the dales, why cant all walkers contribute to maintanence of footpaths/stiles/gates via yearly prepaid card it does not have to cost a lot per person and I know this is imposible to police, but all walkers are good people and if they want to walk all these lovely places surely conscious walkers would do this , I know I would .

  3. Jonathan says:

    Not as simple as that I am afraid. There comes a point when price drives people away from the area or worse still gets them to park in non designated area, off road, in front of gates etc: The National Park do a wonderful job in protecting the footpaths but with all the government cuts raising prices on car parks is not the answer. If you want to help protect footpaths give to something like the excellent 3 Peaks project.

  4. K says:

    Yes the garage’s field might be cheaper that the National Park’s. But is the garage ploughing the money back into maintaining the footpaths, stiles and gates that you are using?

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