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Whernside and Ribblehead Viaduct.jpg
Whernside and the Ribblehead Viaduct
Range: Pennines
Summit: 2,415 feet SD738814
54°13’39"N, 2°24’12"W

Whernside is a high fell in the West Riding of Yorkshire, amongst the Yorkshire Dales. It is accounted one of the "Yorkshire Three Peaks", the other two being Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent, both in the West Riding. Whernside is the highest point in the West Riding.

In shape Whernside forms a long ridge, running roughly north–south.

Climbing routes

There is a footpath, a public right of way, running from the east at Ribblehead that heads north by way of Smithy Hill, Grain Ings before turning west to Knoutberry Haw and then south to Whernside itself. From the summit the path heads initially south then steeply south-west down a stepped path to the small village of Bruntscar. If climbed as part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge (which is normally done anti-clockwise) Whernside will be climbed following the route from up Ribblehead to descend to Bruntscar.

Other routes are know up and down the fell which are not rights of way but might be accessible over Access Land:

A path heads directly west from the triangulation pillar to reach the road that is Deepdale Lane near White Shaw Moss.

An alternative route heads directly north across Knoutberry Haw to pass Whernside Tarns and reaches the Craven Way at Boot of the Wold.

Following the southern descent for a mile, instead of turning steeply south-east towards Bruntscar a path continues south running adjacent the wall passing Combe Scar and West Fell to reach the limestone pavements at Ewe's Top.

Finally, about 250 yards south of the triangulation pillar an old route (partly fenced off) descends (initially very steeply) for a mile and a half to reach a road 250 yards south-west of Winterscales Farm; this is the old route of the Three Peaks Challenge. Walkers should select this route with care as it is no longer maintained, boggy, badly eroded and requires extreme care over the final steep ascent/descent. The current route of the Three Peaks fell race runs approximately 400 yards north of this old ascent along open moor.

All paths are on Access Land and make an interesting change from the right of way ascents and descents.

Views form the top

On a clear day the views from the summit to the west can be spectacular, with views of the Lake District and Morecambe Bay, including (with the aid of binoculars) Blackpool Tower, some 40 miles away.

Whernside lies 2 miles northwest of spectacular Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle–Carlisle Railway.

Whernside is sometimes confused with the lower peaks of Great Whernside 17 miles away and Little Whernside, which are both to the east of Whernside. The word "Whern" is believed to refer to querns whilst "side" is derived from the Norse "Saettr", meaning an area of summer pasture.


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