While there are a variety of ‘Three Peaks’ areas in the UK now, such as the National Three Peaks Challenge (Climbing Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike, the highest peaks in Scotland, Wales and England respectively), the North Yorkshire Three Peaks course is the original, and many would also say the best.
Less of a challenge than the National Three Peaks, the North Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge takes you over 3 of the highest hills in Yorkshire (Whernside’s trig point is just within the borders of Cumbria), within the picturesque Yorkshire Dales National Park, covering up to 42 km of hiking and walking trails. The route covers up to 1600m (5250 ft) of gentle ascents over the rough moorland of the Dales.
If you want to take the Three Peaks route with us, the starting point is the quiet village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where you’ll get your first peek at Pen-y-Ghent, an imposing hill not too far away from Horton. At 694m (2277 ft), it’s the shortest of the three peaks, but contains a number of fascinating sights along the route.
Starting at Brackenbottom Farm, the route to Pen-y-Ghent is at first a slow climb through fields typically filled with sheep (remember to keep any dogs on a leash during lambing season). While reaching the foot of Pen-y-Ghent, make sure to take a look behind you and admire the view of the Dales.
Once at the foot of Pen-y-Ghent, the climb truly begins. The undulating path leading to the peak of the hill may not be immediately obvious, but becomes clearer as you continue climbing. The path will become steeper, possibly requiring some scrambling depending on the exact route taken. Before you know it, you’re at the peak and can see your future challenges, Ingleborough and Whernside, to the west.
While climbing Pen-y-Ghent is its own reward for the stunning views and the thrill of hiking, there are other things to see. Key to any Three Peaks walk is getting a look at the many unique geological features around the Dales, including Hunt and Hull Pot. Millions of years of erosion have produced extensive cave systems around the area, with the magnificent Hull Pot Beck emptying into Hull Pot, the deepest natural hole in England at 18 metres. Hunt Pot, while less obvious than the magnificent Hull Pot, is also much deeper, and around 50 metres. Cave explorers frequently visit Hunt Pot for its challenge and impressive features within.
While Pen-y-Ghent is already an impressive undertaking by itself, it’s only one of the Three Peaks that’s part of the North Yorkshire Three Peaks route. Next up is Whernside.
NY3P is dedicated to giving both novice and experienced hikers a challenge through the North Yorkshire Three Peaks route: Taking you over 3 of the highest peaks in Yorkshire – Pen-Y-Ghent, Ingleborough & Whernside – in the space of a single day. 24 miles in 12 hours.