Whernside from Ribblehead

  • Highest mountain in Yorkshire
  • Beautiful Ribblehead viaduct
  • Good tracks on Whernside

Whernside can be climbed from a number of different directions but for the Whernside virgin the classic 3 peaks ascent from Ribblehead is the most straightforward. The path from the half way stile has been completely relaid and fortunately avoids the horrific peak hags that populate the upper slopes. It is a circular route and what I like best is that it starts and finishes at the magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct. One of those massive Victorian age construction projects, the Ribblehead Viaduct was completed in 1870. The bare facts of 24 arches, up to 104 foot high barely disguises the dangers of such a construction; workers died to such an extent that the project paid for an expansion of the local graveyard to accommodate those who had died.

The walk itself is just the right length for a good challenge; the paths are well constructed and the summit views befit the largest mountain in the area. As part of the 3 peaks challenge Whernside can become extremely busy, particularly from 12 to 2 on a Saturday, but there are no satisfactory alternative routes from Ribblehead.  For those staying over towards Dent and Hawes the northern ridge is a good alternative. I have been up with a group on New Year’s Eve in the snow, retreating from the summit by the valley of Deepdale which was highly enjoyable.

Whernside is one of the Dales 30 Mountains

Recommend: The best initial climb for mountain virgins who want to enjoy the higher fells of the Dales. It includes the highest point, an iconic structure and a good track that it is impossible to get lost on!

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Whernside map

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OS Map: O/S 1.25.000. OL2 Yorkshire Dales South & West. Buy Map
Start Point: SD 767794. There is plenty of roadside parking at Ribblehead. The best route is anticlockwise, following the rail track on the east side past Bleamoor Sidings.
Height to Climb: 428 ms (1,404 feet)
Terrain: Thank goodness for footpath erosion controlled paths! Just picture yourself off the track on the climb up and how pleasant it is on it.
Eating & Drinking: The Station Inn at Ribblehead correctly describes itself as a traditional Yorkshire pub, bleak in winter but always least to me!
Similar Walks Nearby: Pen y Ghent from Horton in Ribblesdale
Twisleton Scars from Chapel le Dale
Heart of 3 Peaks Country
Places to Stay: