I actually love the Yorkshire Dales. I could happily walk the rolling countryside from dawn till dusk and I wouldn’t get bored at all. All the interesting geology, wildlife, peaks, valleys and gorgeous country lanes could keep me going for a lifetime. It is a beautiful attack on the senses that keeps me returning to this area time and again.
Pen-Y-Ghent was the walk of choice on this day. We travelled by car to Horton in Ribblesdale and parked in the main car park, got kitted out in our gear and set off out of the car park, right, across the road and towards the signposted path.
At the junction before joining the path, you are confronted with a sign (pictured below) and you can choose the blue or red route. The red route takes you via Bracken Bottom, which is steeper and has amazing scrambling towards the summit which must feel like a fabulous adventure for any kids. The blue route takes you along Horton Scar Lane. I have been along the red route before but this time we chose the blue route.
This route is not as steep on the ascent and feels more leisurely which was nice as it allowed us to take in the scenery. It’s between 3 and 4 miles up this way and so straightforward which makes it an excellent choice if you are new to hill walking. There are also several interesting features. Before cutting across, you can carry on and visit Hull Pot Beck just to the north of the main footpath. It is a collapsed cavern and impressive, especially after a rainfall, where the stream runs right over the edge to create a spectacular waterfall.
We saw only two people on the way to the summit, but on top, it was like a party! There was a group in a tent, a badminton club, a school trip and occasional walkers like us. The clouds and mist cleared a little bit at the summit for obligatory photos! It was windy at the summit, but there is shelter so we ate lunch and headed down the path ready for the scramble.
Yes – I went on my backside and banged my leg, but the scramble was fun. It feels a bit steep and risky in places so if you have children with you and you are going down this way, make sure they maintain three points of contact with the rock and they move only one limb at a time. Decent footwear with good ankle support is also essential. All great fun!
Coming down through Bracken Bottoms was a joy as the sun came out and afforded us some great views back up towards the magnificent Pen-Y-Ghent. Pendle could be seen in the distance and we saw some dramatic views across to Ingleborough.
This circular walk took us about 3 hrs and 15 minutes, including stopping for lunch. We walked for 10.6 kilometres and there is approximately 600m of ascent. There are some rugged bits and a great scramble either up or down depending on which route you follow.
There are plenty of eateries, like the Pen-Y-Ghent café, The Golden Lion Hotel and The Crown with public toilets being available at the car park.
A great day out and ever-changing scenery whichever route you choose to follow. Just don’t forget to stop and look backwards for breathtaking and imposing views! I’m still smiling.