Wharfedale 3 Peaks

  • The Wharfedale 3 Peaks challenge
  • Centred around pretty Kettlewell
  • Rough going in places and some route finding challenges

Yes there are 3 mountains to climb in the Wharfedale 3 Peaks and yes they are all in the Yorkshire Dales but that is where the similarities between the famous Yorkshire 3 Peaks and the embryonic Wharfedale 3 Peaks ends. Whereas the Yorkshire 3 Peaks is popular (overcrowded at weekends) it is rare to see more than a few stray people strewn across the slopes of the Wharfedale 3 Peaks. The Yorkshire 3 have a well made and obvious track, almost a road in places, the Wharfedale 3 is on sheep tracks, marshy tracks, farm tracks and sometimes barely a track at all. Finally nobody, aside from a select few, have ever heard of the Wharfedale 3 Peaks. Maybe it is how the original 3 Peaks was 40 years ago!

A circuit of Great Whernside, Buckden Pike and Birks is an excellent panorama of 3 distinct fells nestled around Upper Wharfedale and the attractive village of Kettlewell (another great advantage), the first 2 are excellent fells in their own right whilst Birks, although featureless, has some interesting views.  All 3 have their own descriptions if you want to climb them separately (see below).

The circuit itself is best taken in an anti clockwise direction reserving for the slog over Birks to be done when the mind and body are tiring and nothing is much missed. It is also easy to navigate in the mist, a wall heading along its broad, peaty ridge straightforward to follow and even if you miss the indistinct path to Kettlewell it does not matter, there will be another shortly.

Great Whernside, Buckden Pike and Birks are all Dales 30 Mountains


Give it a go, it is a splendid alternative to the Yorkshire 3 Peaks and just as hard, not quite as long but the nature of the terrain that much more challenging.

PS: Do not be confused by the O/S Pillar on Birks, sadly the summit is 3ms higher and a mile further north.

Download GPX file

Wharfedale 3 Peaks


All maps are copyright of Where2Walk © 2020

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL30 Yorkshire Dales North Buy Map
Start Point: SD971723. Kettlewell car park, head through the village and where the road bends left, crossthe stream and follow signs for Hag Dyke (scout centre)
Height to Climb: 1205ms (3,800 feet)
Terrain: Some good tracks, particularly on Buckden Pike but generally can be peaty and rough particularly after the rain.
Eating & Drinking: Kettlewell has 3 good pubs to finish the walk in but try and avoid the temptation of the Buck Inn after Peak 2!
Similar Walks Nearby: Great Whernside from Kettlewell
Buckden Pike & Upper Wharfedale
Birks from Starbotton
Places to Stay: