Location: YDNP car park in Horton in Ribblesdale, BD24 0HE
Distance: 6 miles. Took 3 hours including rest stops
The first in the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge, Pen-y-Ghent is a fine little mountain at 694m high. It may be the smallest of the peaks but it’s the steepest.
Some practical advice before you start climbing mountains
We have completed this Pen-y-Ghent walk numerous times and each time get very different, ever changing weather so be prepared for it all. The last ascent up to the summit is steep and requires a degree of climbing so good visibility is advisable.
The final photos below are from our second attempt at walking up Pen-y-Ghent, having aborted the first time due to excessive cloud cover. That day we walked the Settle highlights circular walk instead which turned out to be an amazing walk! But we did regularly turn back to check on the cloud cover over Pen-y-Ghent to find that it came and went all day…. So from that theory if it is a blue sky day with some cloud it is worth having a pit stop before the final ascent to see if it clears.
The Pen-y-Ghent walk – on the way up
The walk starts in the village of Horton in Ribblesdale. Parking is either on the roadside or in the YDNP car park. There are a few different footpaths you can take from the village to get on to Brackenbottom Road, but ultimately walk up this road past the Church and school. At the top of this road you will pick up the Yorkshire 3 Peaks sign as it enters the field on the left at Brackenbottom Farm. From here just walk straight up, you can’t get lost!
The Pen-y-Ghent walk starts it’s ascent almost immediately, not letting you ease in. It’s very enjoyable though. Once the summit comes into focus it’s a whole other ball game! This section offers glorious views back down the valley towards Settle. The path will change from field to limestone path leading you up to a gated wall. Once through the gate at this point the path turns left.
This section is the steepest by far and in parts you have to use your hands to scramble up. As I mentioned the first time we did it the top was covered in cloud. You could see your hand in front of your face and probably for around 5m but it was daunting climbing up. I would advise at this point to turn around with kids or try wait it out. If you have a clear day then this climb is doable with kids (mine was 4 when we did it) but certainly a challenge.
Once on the path at the top the trig point comes into view. Although there is a little false summit so just keep going! Once that trig point is in sight then it is all worthwhile. The views are incredible and the sense of achievement second to none.
When walking with my little man I always like to make a huge song and dance, literally, when we reach a peak. Take those photos, get a thumbs up and then more importantly have the picnic and the chocolate as you deserve it. They certainly do!
The Pen-y-Ghent walk descent…
The path on the way down is on the other side of the wall. It zigzags down the hillside on a gentle decline before heading off across the moor on a very very obvious path. Once the path flattens out it will come to a ‘crossroads’ which is where you take a left. Follow the stone track all the way back to the village.
The descent on this Pen-y-Ghent walk, for me, is not the most enjoyable so you will need to be armed with snacks, games and positivity to get the kids back without moaning!