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Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead

By Dave Chick   

on June 13, 2019    5/5 (1)

Posted as a walk in – England, Europe, Yorkshire Dales National Park

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead

Further Details

Route Summary:

Follow the route of the Yorkshire Three Peaks on this Whernside circuit from Ribblehead

This walk includes the Hewitt of Whernside

This walk includes the Nuttall of Whernside

Route Start Location: Ribblehead

13.07 km 462 m 4 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


The Station Inn can be found 200m west of the B6255 road junction


No specific hazards

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : LA6 3AU

A layby can be found at the junction of B6479 and B6255 (Blea Moor Road). Further parking at the roadside can be found either side of this junction.

Public Transport:

Ribblehead is on the Settle-Carlisle railway line with trains available from Leeds or Carlisle.

The no. 830 bus from Preston runs on Sundays between May and October, stopping at Ribblehead Station.

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Weather Forecast:

Check out our Best Mountain Weather Forecast?

Recommended Maps


Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead

The highest point in North Yorkshire (or the West Riding if you’re still old school), Whernside is a worthy objective for any outing. It’s one of the trio of hills that make up the Yorkshire Three Peaks, though it is perhaps the only one which attracts the least amount of walkers. It lacks a certain amount of charm which Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent possess.

While not as dramatic as its neighbours, it is more characteristic of the high hills and expansive moors which make up the northern Yorkshire Dales which include Great Shunner Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead Route Description

1 – Opposite the road junction is a path which heads towards the Ribblehead Viaduct before it joins a wide track which runs parallel to the viaduct. Follow the track and then bear right as the track sweeps left. The bend is lined by large rocks and marked with a footpath sign bearing ‘Whernside 4 ½ miles’. The 24-arch Ribblehead viaduct is the crown jewel of the Settle-Carlisle railway line.

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead

2 – Follow this path which continues parallel to the viaduct to a set of rough steps. Climb these and continue, following the path for approximately 2km with the railway line on your left. You will need to cross both Hare Gill and Little Dale Beck via the ford or footbridge.

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead

3 – Shortly after crossing Little Dale Beck, the path sweeps across a bridge over the railway. You will notice some ingenious Victorian engineering here as Force Gill is carried over the railway using a series of cascades. To the right, the railway line disapperas into the Blea Moor tunnel, the longest tunnel on the Settle-Carlisle line. Once across the bridge, pass through a gate and keep following the path with the stream on your left until you reach a fork at SD 75710 82443.

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead

4 – Cross the stile to take the left fork (signed Whernside) and start along a steeper, narrower path which swings round in a wide arc while climbing all the way. Eventually, you will reach the main ridge of Whernside accompanied by a broken drystone wall. Follow the ridge to the summit. The trig point can be found through a narrow stile.

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead

5 – From the summit, continue along the ridge as it descends, gradually at first and then more steeply as it crosses High Pike. Just as the steepness begins to subside the path turns left and begins a very steep descent to Bruntscar Farm. The path may not be obvious as you approach but is well worn and paved with steps in a few places. You will cross a couple of stiles on your route downhill towards the farm.

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead

6 –  After crossing a stile by a farm outbuilding, turn left as the path meets a track, following a sign for Winterscales. This bridleway makes its way to Broadrake Farm and alongside the bottom of Whernside, crossing the farm fields so expect to negotiate several gates and stiles. Go over a small wooden footbridge by a next to a sign stating “Scar End 4 miles”, and then continue on.

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead

7 – Pass through the yard of the next farm at Ivescar and join a tarmac track. Continue past the large shed on the right and then bear right. Cross a cattle grid and follow the lane to Winterscales Farm. Bear right at the farm to keep Winterscales Beck on your left. Follow this path as it turns left and then swings around to the right towards the archway beneath the railway line. Pass through the tunnel and turn right back onto the path the Ribblehead viaduct back to the car park.

Walk up Whernside from Ribblehead


Dave is our Lake District local expert, often found in the depths of Cumbria he's the author of his own part on the web, All the Gear but no Idea.

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