This article has been written for Visiting North Yorkshire by Sue Knowles.
Tucked in the West corner of North Yorkshire, the area known as ‘The 3 Peaks’ awaits you. The Yorkshire 3 Peaks are Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside. History shows that, due to the proximity and height of the peaks, it is considered a challenge to hike all 3 in one go and that this was done originally using Chapel-le-Dale as the start/finish.
Given that it’s a circular route, you could start at any point, and in the 1960s, a café at Horton in Ribblesdale set up a clocking-in machine for hikers to take on the challenge from there. Those who have done the route from Horton, at 24 miles, may be looking for the next challenge, which could mean starting/finishing in Ingleton village, making the route nearer 30 miles and a longer ascent up Ingleborough out of the village.
The website www.yorkshirepeakschallenge.co.uk has some very useful advice about the route, what you will need, and preparation for your time in the Yorkshire 3 Peaks area. You may want to consider booking a guide, who can ensure you make the most of the day and provide support and encouragement - details on the above website.
If taking on the hiking challenge isn’t for you, there’s plenty more to occupy you in this corner of the Yorkshire Dales. Enjoy the views towards The Peaks from nearby villages and Ribblehead Viaduct, from where you can see all 3. There’s a disclaimer here, because if there’s low cloud, you probably won’t be able to see the tops!
It’s still an atmospheric place to visit, to admire the viaduct and you may see a steam train (run once or twice weekly over summer, advance booking required for charter journeys), which adds to the romance of the location.
The villages of Ingleton, Clapham and Horton-in-Ribblesdale are the closest to starting points for the 3 Peaks, or to climb individual Peaks. Maybe doing one a day is more your speed, taking in the views and scenery. You will find a wide range of places to stay, so that you can make a holiday of it, including campsites, bunk barns, bed and breakfasts or traditional inns.
There are show caves near Ingleton (White Scar) and Clapham (Ingleborough Cave) which can be visited most days and provide scenery of the underground
kind. There are professional guides in the area who can also take you underground to the cave and potholing systems, the largest in the Country being the ‘3 Counties system’, with passages of just under 54 miles.
Twice a year, for just over a week in May and August, there’s the opportunity to really get underground, by taking the winch chair decent down in to Gaping Ghyll (or Gill). The area volume is just larger than the nave of York Minster. You cannot book in advance, so take a look at the websites for the Craven and Bradford Potholing clubs who set up these winch meets and divert the river especially for the event.
The Waterfalls Trail at Ingleton is also a very good hike, with many ‘ups and downs’ as you follow the paths along the rivers and waterfalls. Whichever walk or scenic drive you have enjoyed during the day, there’s a selection of places to eat and have a friendly chat with a celebratory drink or two in the villages. Ingleton has pubs and restaurants, whilst there’s a pub in Clapham and 2 in Horton. If you’re visiting in Spring, the woodland above the hamlet of Feizor (home of the infamous Elaine’s Tea Room) is bursting with bluebells and the trail path has views towards Pen-y-Ghent.
While you’re in the area, make sure you visit the market town of Settle (market day on Tuesday) with its House Of Mystery, ‘The Folly’, which has exhibitions, café and galleries. Call to The Courtyard Dairy for artisan cheese tasting and café. Also check out the shops, pottery and heated outdoor
swimming pool at Ingleton too!
Sue and her husband Steve are the owners of Harling House, in Ingleton.
Harling House: Raber Top Lane, Ingleton, North Yorkshire LA6 3DN
Landline: 01524 242 113
Mobile: 07765 224 721
Listing on VNY: www.visitingnorthyorkshire.com
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