Where is this walk?

Ingleborough from Clapham

November 12, 2019

The climb of Ingleborough from Clapham one of the finest walks in the Yorkshire Dales. The ascent is full of interest and the descent takes you through some of the finest limestone pavements around.

The Walk

I believe that the climb of Ingleborough from Clapham via Trow Gill and Gaping Gill is by far the best way up the mountain. The descent through the limestone pavements turns this walk in a classic. There are two other popular routes up Ingleborough from Ingleton and Ribblehead. However neither are as satisfying as this one.

The underlying geology of Ingleborough makes the mountain unique. The limestone bedrock offers a variety of caves, dry rivers, pavements and scars, all of which can be seen on this walk. The millstone grit cap of hard impermeable rock creates the distinctive summit shape. Gaping Gill offers a perfect example of this unique landscape. In one example a mountain stream disappears in to Gaping Gill, drops through a myriad of of caves before reappearing at Ingleborough Cave. A second example shows the perfect limestone pavement of the Ingleborough Nature Reserve which will leave indelible memories for all. In addition Trow Gill on the lower slopes is a cleft between the rock formed when melted ice forced its way down thousands of years ago.

Away from the rock the highway from Little Ingleborough to the summit plateau is really enjoyable. It is a relaxed place and perfect to enjoy views across the River Lune to the West and Pen y Ghent, to the East. The first part of the descent is via the tradition Yorkshire 3 Peaks path to Horton. It is quite rough. However when leaving the track on the return the walking becomes a delight. The paths are grassy and pleasant.

Ingleborough is one of the Dales 30 Mountains and this walk is one of my favourite 25 in the Dales.


The safest and only way to make the descent and ascent of Gaping Gill is to visit during May and August bank holidays. In 2019 two of the local potholing clubs set up a winch and pulley system. I was fortunate enough to be lowered in a few years ago. It is an extraordinary place, the size of a cathedral, and well worth it.

Navigation Tips

From Clapham do pay the £1 voluntary fee to pass through Clapham woods to start the walk rather than take the bridlepath. The summit of Ingleborough can be a confusing place. On emerging on the summit plateau it is 250 metres to the main cairn just south of west.

On leaving the 3 Peaks descent make sure you do not miss the path which returns to Clapham. It is at Nick Pot, 769737, and is signposted.

  • Walshy says:

    I’m taking this route in a few hours. This is going to be accomplished as a 30kg loaded tab, against the clock.

    I’ll repost to let you know how this went.

  • Roy tattersfield says:

    We were a party of fairly elderly walkers completing a walk through the norber erratic s and returning down the gorge past gaping ghyll and continued past Ingleborough cave down to clapham.on reaching the exit we were confronted by a fairly aggressive youngish man asking us all to pay £2.50 each for walking through the trail ,he informed us that we had walked past a notice stating the charges,which we hadn’t noticed.apparently this used to be a voluntary £1 fee and is still mentioned on line .think you should sort yourselves out and not have this beautiful place ruined by over aggressive staff

    • Jonathan says:

      Yes there is now a £2.50 cost pp to walk through the wood. Personally I think that is a shame and preferred the previous arrangement where I was happy to contribute the £1 voluntary fee as I think the woods are lovely.
      Technically the landowner can do this as it is a permissive path not a Right of Way. To avoid paying there is a Right of Way a few metres up the road which parallels the woods but sadly does not go in.
      Similar to Ingleton Waterfalls it is a cash grab and I strongly believe all walks should be free (there is already a shop near the waterfalls and a cafe now at the start). I hope it does not become a trend in other places.

  • Alan Mair says:

    I ran this route today and included Simons Fell before descending via the Dales High Way to Gaping Gill and back to Clapham. The entrance fee was £2.50 and there was certainly nothing voluntary about it. I further had to produce my ticket again to get out.

    • Jonathan says:

      If this is the case and the estate gets more difficult then there is a right of way to the west of the estate re-joining at Ingleborough Cave.
      I havent encountered an issue…yet.

  • B Ross says:

    I’ve walked from Horton in Ribbledale whist staying there. A straight forward walk. Shame the summit was in cloud!

  • Aaron says:

    Followed this route today, it was very enjoyable. So many different things to see, along with a nice change of scenery as you progress. The only downside was it was incredibly misty, still a fantastic walk. Thanks.

  • Anne Brierley says:

    Clapham bunkhouse and cafebar is the one to go for in the village. Nice Ales at the right price.

  • Susan Barnes says:

    Try the Ingleton Falls walk. 4.5 miles. Fairly steep climb. Easier descent.

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