Anyone who enjoys walking in Yorkshire sooner or later winds up on Ingleborough’s flat summit.
At 2,372 feet it is the second highest fell in the Dales, a mere 43 feet shorter than Yorkshire’s Everest, Whernside. Long before the Ordnance Survey’s trig points, Ingleborough was even thought to be the highest mountain in England. Thousands slog up here every year on the final stretch of the famous 26-mile Three Peaks walk. Our route makes Ingleborough the climax of a shorter and less ardous outing, setting off on the old Roman road north from Ingleton to Chapel-le-Dale, the original start of the Three Peaks walk before it changed to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. Here, the Three Peaks route is joined to the summit. Look for golden plover on the northern shoulder and, if you are lucky, its rare sibling the dotterel.
1. From the car park take the west exit and turn right. Very soon, turn downhill towards the famous Ingleton Waterfalls walk. Immediately over the River Doe turn right on a usually quiet road known as Oddie’s Lane, which leads away from the village to eventually arrive at St. Leonard’s Church, Chapel-le-Dale.
2. Continue past the church to the B6255 Ingleton-Ribblehead road. Cross with care to a footpath signposted to Ingleborough. Cross the field to another stile and from here the path winds up to the right, passing farm buildings and an old barn. Entering Southerscales Nature Reserve, stick to a left wall and before a ladder stile the path bends right to reach the Three Peaks route.
3. Turn right to follow the path towards Ingleborough’s summit. A cave, Braithwaite Wife Hole, is passed on the left before a wall gate. Pass to the other side and follow the infallible path, steep in places, to reach a kissing gate. Bear right from here, aiming for a wall shelter on the summit.
4. After enjoying the view (in clear weather) continue on the same course as before across the summit, aiming in a south-west direction to a large cairn and an obvious path which decends steeply through limestone cliffs to the isolated farm of Crina Bottom. Fell Lane leads back down to the B6255. Turn left and walk down to Ingleton with care. Swing left before Seed Hill, along Back Gate, and at the Ambulance Station turn right into the car park.
Difficulty rating: 4 stars
Distance: 10 miles
Hours: 5 hours
Map: OS Landranger (1:50,000) 98, Wensleydale & Upper Wharfedale; or OS Explorer (1:25,000) OL2, Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas
Parking: Ingleton Community Centre & Library (pay & display)
Public transport: Ingleton is served by the 580 & 581 bus services between Skipton & Kirkby Lonsdale. Tel. 01524 733831 for details. Skipton is on the Airedale train line from Leeds and Bradford. Details on 0845 600 1159.
Refreshments: Ingleton & Chapel-le-Dale (off route)