Category Archives: Hill



SD 74125 74587
Height: 724m (2375 feet)
Drop: 427m
Classification: Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall

Ingleborough is the second highest hill in the Yorkshire Dales, and one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. it has a distinctive appearance, consisting of horizontal layers of limestone, interspersed with gritstone.



These layers of limestone were laid down in the Carboniferous period (340 – 300 million years ago), when Yorkshire was covered with a warm and shallow sea. The limestone consists of the fossilised remains of tiny sea-creatures whose skeletal remains sank to the bottom of this sea. When the climate cooled, as happened a couple of times during the Carboniferous period, sea levels fell, and the area became delta-like, allowing rivers to cover the limestone with sandstone and gritstone. Erosion of the different types of stone has occurred at different speeds, giving the step-like appearance to the hill.


Ingleborough has an iconic profile, when viewed from nearby Whernside or from Ribblehead.


Walking routes

It is most usually climbed from Ingleton (4 miles), Clapham (5½ miles), or Chapel-le-Dale (3 miles).

Three notable circular walking routes are:

  1. Clapham to Ingleborough summit, descend to Ingleton, and return to Clapham along field paths via Greenwood Leghe and Newby (13 miles)
  2. Ingleton to summit of Ingleborough, descend to Chapel-le-Dale, and return via Scales Moor (12 miles)
  3. Ingleton to summit of Ingleborough, descend over Park Fell to Ribblehead Station, and return via Ribblehead viaduct and Scales Moor (15 miles)

Refreshments are available at all four villages of Clapham (New Inn), Ingleton (Wheatsheaf or Craven heifer), Ribblehead (Station Inn), and Chapel-le-Dale (Old Hill Inn).





SD 73849 81416
Height: 736m (2415 feet)
Drop: 408m
Classification: Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, County top

Whernside is the highest hill in North Yorkshire, and lies on the border with Cumbria. It is also one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks (usually the second to be walked).

It is most commonly ascended from Ribblehead Viaduct, which lies 2½ miles to the south-west.



In common with many limestone hills in this area, the summit of Whernside consists of a long plateau, running from north to south.


There are excellent views towards the Lakeland hills, and the west coast. On a clear day, with binoculars, Blackpool Tower can be seen. Nearby, there is an excellent view of Ingleborough.


Walking routes

The usual route of the Three Peaks would see Whernside ascended from Ribblehead, and descended south to Bruntscar and Chapel-le-Dale. The ascent from Ribblehead is about six miles, while from Chapel-le-Dale the ascent is about four miles. A circular route linking the two routes via Haws Gill Wheel would provide a splendid ten-mile walk, with refreshments available at the Station Inn at Ribblehead and the Old Hill Inn at Chapel-le-Dale.


As Whernside is situated within access land, it is possible to ascend and descend by numerous smaller paths.IMG_5518



SD 83854 73383
Height: 694m (2277 feet)
Drop: 306m
Classification: Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall

Pen-y-ghent is frequently walked for two reasons: it is one of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire (usually the first to be climbed), and it lies on the Pennine Way. It’s distinct profile makes it easily recognisable from a distance.



Pen-y-ghent is topped by a long plateau, running from north to south, which is reached by a satisfying-steep final climb.




The distinctive shape of pen-y-ghent derives from the two thick horizontal layers of limestone, which have eroded more slowly than the sandstone layers between them.

These beds of limestone were formed from the fossilised remains of small crustaceans. These creatures lived in a warm shallow sea that covered Yorkshire around 340 million years ago (during the Carboniferous period). The climate cooled around 320 million years ago, and again around 300 million years ago. During these two periods of cooling, the sea retreated and the area became more delta-like, and flowing rivers brought the gritstone and sandstone which form the intermediate layers in the hill today. The summit of Pen-y-ghent consists mainly of gritstone.

The name

The name of Pen-y-ghent probably derives from the Cambric language which was spoken in northern England and southern Scotland in the early Middle Ages, becoming extinct around the twelfth century. Pen means top, and ghent is thought to mean border. Thus Pen-y-ghent is the hill on the border. We do not know to what border this refers.

Getting there

Pen-y-ghent lies about 2½ miles west of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, and is most frequently walked from there. There are two main routes from the village. The first is by leaving the village to the south and taking a minor road to Brackenbottom, from where a footpath ascends the eastern face of the hill.


This route is the shortest, and the one usually followed when walking the Three Peaks. The second route is to leave Horton-in-Ribblesdale via a lane from the in the centre of the village. This is the route of the Pennine Way, and approaches the hill from the north.


Circular routes

Combining the two routes above gives the possibility of an excellent six-mile circular route. A slightly longer circular route can be had by following the Pennine Way a little further to the south of the summit, as far as Churn Milk Hole.IMG_5430




NY 43521 08525

Height: 720m (2362 feet)

Drop: 75m

Classification: Hewitt, Nuttall, Wainwright, Birkett

In the photo above, Froswick is the nearest hill. Behind it lies Ill Bell which, at 757m, is nearly 40 metres taller. Behind Ill Bell, a little to the right, is Yoke (a little  shorter at 706m). All three of these fells are overshadowed by Thornthwaite Crag (from where the photo is taken) at 784m.

However, as so often in the hills, the sum is greater than the parts. Individual heights are less important than the cumulative effect that each summit makes to this splendid ridge – Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick, Ill Bell, and Yoke. Yet each fell also maintains its own distinctiveness, and deserves to be considered separately.

The similarity in shape between the two hills in the photograph is unmissable, and Wainwright notes that

Froswick takes its pattern from Ill Bell . . . almost humorously seeming to ape its bigger neighbour.

The summit plateau of Froswick is modest, although the final climb to it is satisfyingly steep.


The summit probably doesn’t get appreciated as much as it might, as walkers are invariably looking to Ill Bell or – if coming from Yoke – to the long path to Thornthwaite Crag. Descending directly from Froswick is rarely attempted, although would be feasible on the western side if care is taken to avoid the gully of Blue Gill.


Walks involving Froswick

Chances are, most people you meet crossing the summit of Froswick will be walking the Kentmere Horseshoe. This is a classic Lakeland walk, a twelve-mile circuit starting from the village of Kentmere. It encompasses the Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag ridge, returning along the eastern side of the Kentmere valley, and taking in Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike, and Shipman Knotts.

An alternative is to complete the initial ridge and then head west, returning via Stony Cove Pike, St Raven’s Edge, Red Screes, and Wansfell Pike. This is a slightly longer route, and not such a neat horseshoe as the Kentmere route. It does, though, include a great ascent of Red Screes from Kirkstone Pass, and allows a variety of starting points.

The fells surrounding Troutbeck are displayed in the photo below. From right to left, we have Caudale Moor, Stony Cove Pike, Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick, and Ill Bell. Yoke is just off to the right. The smaller hill in the middle is The Tongue.


A third alternative would be to start from the car park at Mardale Head, reaching Thonthwaite Crag and Froswick via High Street. The climb up Riggindale Crag to High Street is superb. Return via Shipman Knotts, Kentmere Pike, and Harter Fell.

Such is its location, any walk that includes the summit of Froswick is likely to be breathtaking.


Getting there

Froswick is most readily reached from Kentmere or Troutbeck, both villages in the Windermere area of the Lakes. The fell can also be reached from the car park at the southern end of Haweswater (Mardale Head), reachable from Shap or Penrith; and from the Kirkstone Inn on the A592.

Wansfell Pike


NY 39417 04172

Height: 482m (1581 feet)

Drop: 25m

Classification: Birkett

In many ways, Wansfell Pike is a more satisfactory summit than Wansfell (the true summit) which lies about a mile to the north-east along the summit ridge. Although it is 5m shorter, Wansfell Pike has much better views, which extend across Ambleside and the length of Windermere. The summit is a rocky outcrop adjacent to a fence.


Getting there

Wansfell Pike lies about 1½ miles to the east of Ambleside, and it is most commonly ascended from the town. This led to severe erosion problems by the 1990s, and much of the route is now laid with stone blocks. The fell can also be climbed from Troutbeck in the east, following Nanny Lane, an old drovers trail.

Wansfell Pike is one of the most straightforward fells to climb from the centre of any southern Lakeland town.

Circular routes

An excellent circular walk from Ambleside is to ascend Red Screes, cross Kirkstone Pass near the inn, and ascend Stony Cove Pike and Thornthwaite Crag. Troutbeck could be reached either by descending High Street alongside Higg Gill, or more profitably by the upland route across Froswick, Ill Bell, and Yoke. From Troutbeck, the return over Wansfell Pike would complete a fine day’s walk of around 16 miles.

A shorter circular walk from Ambleside would involve ascending Wansfell Pike from Ambleside, and descending into Troutbeck. Turning south to Town End, the return to Ambleside would be via High Skelghyll and Waterhead. This walk is about 6½ miles long, and would be suitable for those less confident in their fellwalking abilities.