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Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge: The Ultimate Guide 2022

Written by
Charli M

Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge: The Ultimate Guide 2022

Written by
Charli M
Already ready to book? Click here to see the full itinerary.
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Looking to lace up your boots for a real adventure in 2022?
We bring you the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge. This epic day out actually packs in more ascent than Ben Nevis.

01

What is it?

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks walk tackles the three peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in one 25-mile circular route.

Whernside is the highest point in Yorkshire, and the whole route is contained within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The challenge is to complete it in under 12 hours, and as they say in these parts, it’s a reet grand day out in one of the loveliest areas of North Yorkshire.

We’ll warn you though, it’s seriously tough. You’ll face 1585m (5200ft) of total climbing with an equivalent amount of often steep descent. This on top of the distance makes it a proper adventure challenge. Don't fancy going it alone or can't be bothered with all the route planning?

The Peaks

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Traditionally the starting point and endpoint of the route is the Pen-y-ghent café in the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The café offers a check-in system for Yorkshire Three Peaks challengers, with the option of posting a note with your start and finish times through the letterbox if it’s shut.

Walkers who’ve used the checking system and who complete the route in under 12 hours are invited to join the ‘Three Peaks of Yorkshire’ club. However, at the time of writing, the café has been closed for some time due to overcrowding and littering during the pandemic, so it’s worth checking before you go.

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02

The Route

The Yorkshire Three Peaks roughly form a triangle with a couple of roads and the river Ribble separating them. Traditionally the starting point is Horton-in-Ribblesdale, to tackle your first peak; the steep stepped profile of Pen-y-ghent.

After reaching the impressive many-arched Ribblehead Viaduct a long, steady climb will bring you onto Whernside summit ridge. After the trig point, there’s a steep, stepped descent to Philpin Farm.

If you’re lucky you’ll be able to grab a cuppa and maybe a cheeky cake here as they serve refreshments at weekends between April and October plus Bank Holidays.

03

Equipment

Most kit lists start with a good pair of boots, and while they’re ideal for this sort of terrain we know some experienced hikers find trail shoes comfiest for longer distances so we’re not going to preach.

Just make sure whatever footwear you use has a good grip and some support, okay?

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Nice to Have

  • A good set of waterproofs, hat and gloves. If the weather closes in, the temperature can drop like a stone; hypothermia isn’t fun
  • Warm layers like a fleece or down jacket, it's always chillier on the tops, even in summer
  • A map is essential; the OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales covers the whole route
  • A GPS is always useful but shouldn’t be relied on; take a compass too and know how to use it. This may sound like overkill but you can lose visibility in the blink of an eye on the tops
  • You’ll need to take enough water as you won’t pass many places to refill and you can’t rely on refreshment stops being open
  • Plenty of snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Emergency blanket. Again, this might sound like overkill but whenever we're out walking we should always have one of these, you never know what might happen
  • Headtorch in case you start or finish in the dark
  • A spare pair of socks wouldn’t go amiss in case you get soggy boggy feet
  • Trekking poles may help with the steep downhills if you suffer from joint issues