Pen-y-ghent via Whitbar Hill.

Start. Horton in Ribblesdale.

Route. Horton in Ribblesdale - The Crown Inn - Sell Gill Holes - Whitbar Hill - Hull Pot - Horton Moor - Pen-y-ghent Cliffs - Pen-y-ghent - Pen-y-ghent Cliffs - Hunt Pot - Horton Scar Lane - Horton in Ribblesdale.

Notes. Pen-y-ghent rising starkly to the east of Horton in Ribblesdale, a shapely mountain carved and sculptured by wind and rain, water and ice, borne on the seabed of a warm tropical ocean over 300 million years ago, dare I say my favourite of Yorkshire’s three peaks. It maybe the lowest of the triptych but with towering limestone cliffs, a stunning grit-stone ridge with vast tracts of peat bog guarding it's lower slopes it shouldn't be underestimated. Having said that every year over 250 thousand pair of boots tramp these slopes, their owners on a quest to bag all three peaks in less than twelve hours, this has a detrimental effect on certain sections of path, one in particular leading from Pen-y-ghent over Black Dubb Moss, Red Moss and Long Mires, I'll be sampling a small slice of this path later. One thing you won't find yourself doing is getting lost, even on the roundabout route I took.

My day started in the main car park just down the road from the Pen-y-ghent Cafe, in the other direction The Crown Inn marks the start of a green lane rising between dry stone walls, this carries the Pennine Way and Ribble Way north, it also carried me as far as Sell Gill Holes, here I got the distinct impression the land owner wanted walkers to keep off his property. The route I've followed from my early outings on these slopes is up Sell Gill Beck to follow a green path along the edge of the wall before ascending Whitbar Hill, I found new fencing blocking my access, after picking my way around via a metal gate spanning the gill I found a new wooden gate wired shut, I vaulted this to gain access to a wonderful path across the moors. If you don't want to risk the wrath of the land owner carry on ascending the Pennine Way, after a third of a mile a path leads over Jackdaw and Sell Gill Hills joining the path I followed just before the summit of Whitbar Hill.

A well trod path descended Whitbar Hill ending at the head of Horton Scar Lane, here I turned my back on the main path, wandering up the dry valley to reach the massive scar of Hull Pot. On a good path I wandered on, winding my way over Horton Moor passing High Hull Cave en route. On reaching a wall corner a muddy path rose up the fell side to my right, this is the route followed by three peaks traffic, subsequently the path's in a shocking state, nobody with any sense comes this way out of choice. I started my ascent, slow and methodical, in places three steps forward two back, deep mud hampered my progress, in the shadow of Pen-y-ghent Cliffs I stepped onto the main path to breathe a sigh of relief. With a hard surface under foot the rest of my ascent was easy, my reward the summit to myself which is rare. My descent re-traced my steps to Pen-y-ghent Cliffs, then down the main path to reach the head of Horton Scar Lane for the second time, I passed through the gate this time to start a two mile saunter back, guided by dry stone walls with stunning views over the Ribble Valley I made these final miles last.

view route map.


Wandering over the surface of a wintery Pennine Way, looking back over Horton in Ribblesdale with Smearsett and Pot Scars across the skyline.

The weather sculptured features of Pen-y-ghent rise above Brants Gill Head.

Gain a little height and the Ingleborough massif tilts into view, Simon Fell across the Ribble Valley with Ingleborough under a blanket of ominous looking cloud.

Volcano like, Whernside lit by the morning sun.

Seen from Sell Gill Hole a cloud capped Ingleborough.

Above Sell Gill Beck looking to Simon Fell with Park Fell to the the right just visible over Sell Gill Hill.

This is what walking in the vast moors of Yorkshire is all about, not a footprint in sight, magic.

Solitude, just me, the lone cry's of a few mountain birds and the wind for company.

Winter conditions over the Ribble Valley.

Wandering through the scene from a christmas card, ascending Whitbar Hill.

Stunning conditions on Whitbar Hill, viewing Pen-y-ghent.

From the vast scar of Hull Pot views over Horton Moor to a cloud soaked Pen-y-ghent.

Toiling up the Three Peaks Path, I'm afraid that bank of snow filled cloud is heading my way.

Looking over the desolate drama of Horton Moor.

The Three Peaks Path disappears over, or is it into Black Dubb Moss, never fear talks are in progress to divert the route over Whitbar, Jackdaw and Sell Gill Hills, if the land owner agrees will this just be another scar across the face of beautiful Yorkshire, or will it be sensibly managed, time will tell.

In sunlight Whitbar Hill.

About to be swallowed up in a blanket of cloud, viewing the steep slopes of Pen-y-ghent side.

Wonderful views over Horton Moor, taking centre stage Hull Pot and Whitbar Hill, across the skyline in front of that approaching bank of cloud, Sell Gill Hill and Jackdaw Hill with Burnrigg far right.

A winter wonderland on the summit.

It's freezing cold, bloody windy with the occasional snow flurry up here, but at least there's a finger-post to guide me down.

Near Hunt Pot looking to Smearsett Scar.

The parallel lines of the Horton Quarry seen across Horton Scar.

Sauntering between the dry stone walls in Horton Scar Lane, drinking in the views and taking my time.

Sunburst over Ribblesdale, the farming fraternity call this "sucking water", a sure sign there'll be rain tomorrow.... pause for dramatic affect, and there was.

Seen from the main road through Horton in Ribblesdale the unmistakable nose of Pen-y-ghent.

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