In fairness, the climb to the third of my Yorkshire Three Peaks was always going to struggle to meet the standards set by the wonderful hike to Ingleborough (see previous post). That said the not-always-favourable comparisons actually started on Ingleborough itself with a treacherous steep descent into the valley. One of those paths that are easier – and safer – to climb than descend. However, having survived, what followed was relatively straightforward. An amble between sheep and cows across the green lowlands, through the village of Chapel-le-Dale and some gradual contouring along the Dales High Way. The serious climbing started shortly after passing through the farm with the sheep – see photo below – and serious it was. Not quite as steep as the descent from Ingleborough but sufficiently vertiginous for one chap who was coming in the other direction to question the wisdom of a family in front of me carrying their youngest in a back pouch. Father and son survived (they were both alive when I saw them at the summit) but I could see where the guy was coming from.
The top of Whernside was long and flat. So too were Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough but Whernside had mastered the art of the blind summit. All three mountains should, I feel, be more accurately called the Three Sphinxes of Yorkshire, such are their profiles.
The long hike back into the valley was rewarded with a close up view of the Ribblehead Viaduct. A magnificent structure from the 19th century to which all who are protesting that their house is about to be flattened in the name of HS2 should be brought. However awful your predicament in the upcoming years, please bear in mind that the bridges that will replace your back bedroom (and, frankly, everything else you own) will be appreciated by the tourists of 2167. Perhaps.
It wasn’t just the viaduct that was a feat of Victorian engineering; have a look at this:
Shame on those who chose to leave all this at the summit of Whernside. Why would anyone walk to the top – to presumably appreciate the views and their own sense of achievement – yet leave their rubbish there? I struggle to understand such a mindset. There are special places for such people in hell…