Where is this walk?

Great Whernside

September 18, 2017

Great Whernside is one of three ‘Dales 30‘ mountains that circle the head of Upper Wharfedale. The climb is steep and some of the countryside is rough but the summit ridge is a spectacular place.

The Walk

Upper Whernside has three excellent mountains. Not only are they comparable with their more famous neighbours, the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, but they have the added advantage there are very few people on them. Great Whernside is the largest of the Wharfedale 3. It is neither particularly craggy or dramatic but is a superb walking mountain. It is a place to explore, in fact it needs many visits to really appreciate it.

I normally climb Great Whernside via the steep climb to Hag Dyke scout hut. This is direct and full of interest whereas any approach from further south is fraught with trackless, rough ground. In addition in arrives directly at the boulder strewn summit, always satisfying. The long summit ridge is a pleasure to walk along, in particular the views north and west full of interest. To the east over Nidderdale is some of the roughest ground in England. The descent is improved by crossing the road which leads to Coverdale and descending back to Kettlewell only on reaching 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.

Great Whernside is one of the Dales 30 Mountains


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

Navigation Tips on Great Whernside

On leaving the summit in clear weather stick to the ridge to where a boundary heads downhill. It is a lovely mile to enjoy the views. If the weather is not good there is a path leaving the ridge after 1/2 a mile. It is sheltered.

  • Tracy says:

    A good route. Extraordinary how the bridleway abruptly ends 500 feet from the summit. Negotiated this pathless section with care. Did this yesterday but dropped down into Starbotton and walked along the river back to Kettlewell instead of directly back as suggested. Will extend it to take in Buckden Pike next time too – great little coffee shop in Buckden to encourage the additional walk 🙂 Having walked quite a lot on the Arncliffe side, it was great to see the valley from a completely different angle. Thank you for sharing.

  • 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.

  • 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 .

  • 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?

    • 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.

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