Whernside Circular Walk – Yorkshire Three Peaks with Kids
We’d set ourselves a challenge of completing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks with our little girl this year. If you are looking at whether to take on any of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks with kids, here’s our Whernside circular route, taking in Force Gill waterfall too.
Earlier in the year we walked Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough with Holly, who’s 9. After our soaking wet, freezing cold, hailstone drenched Ingleborough walk Holly said she didn’t want to climb any more mountains this year but the thought of not completing the set began to eat away at me a bit. Did I mention before I’m a bit of a collector?
Checking the weather for the New Year, it seemed New Years Day would be the best bet so we decided to go then. After all, that wasn’t the same year as Ingleborough so Hols was happy. The weather changed though, and New Years Eve seemed way better. After a bit of bribery (thank you Haribo) she agreed to us going up on New Years Eve. Wahoo!
We parked up at The Old Hill Inn (sadly this is closed) and headed out along Philpin Lane, past Philpin Farm where they have an honesty shop and customer toilets.
Follow the lane along, past the woods. The footpath heads next to a farmyard, and you’ll see signposts showing the way to Whernside. You can get lovely views over to the Ribblehead Viaduct from here – to be fair, this was all we saw of the viaduct as we had zero views at the top of Whernside!
The footpath becomes “The Pennine Journey” and starts to climb steadily up the hillside. This part is quite steep but gets steeper as you get nearer the top, passing through the gate. It was really windy when we climbed up as well, making it even more difficult.
The path turns to the north and the climb becomes slightly more gentle as you walk along the ridge to the summit. The summit of Whernside is marked by a curved stone shelter and a trig point (which looks like it has seen better days!). The views from here are meant to be spectacular but we didn’t see anything (other than Blackpool Tower)!
After we’d taken the trig photos and had a quick snack in the shelter, we carried on along the ridge of Whernside. The paved path starts to descend down the hillside and you’ll come to a stile. Over the stile the path becomes the Dales High Way, next to Force Gill Ridge.
Following this path for about 600-700m, if you look behind you, you can see the stunning waterfall of Force Gill. We were lucky to see it after heavy rains and it was really spectacular. You can access the waterfall by passing over the stile and turning back on yourself to follow a faint path to the waterfall. It’s quite steep sided to take care when visiting.
Heading back onto the main path, you pass over the Aqueduct and alongside the railway line to Blea Moor signal box and railway sidings.
Head under the railway bridge, and follow the path through the farmyard and over the little bridge. The footpath heads through another farmyard and it’s quite tricky to see! You’ll pass through the fields near the Broadrake Bunkhouse and then back to the spot where the climb up Whernside started.
Retrace your steps back to the main road and the car. As the pub was shut we headed into Ingleton for a late lunch.
As with all hikes with kids, it’s definitely a good idea to be prepared and take plenty of snacks, layers, waterproofs, first aid kit and water. I’d definitely recommend getting proper walking boots – Holly has The North Face Chilkat ones and they’re brilliant. They keep her feet warm and dry, and offer her feet plenty of support over rocky terrain. It would be a miserable walk in wet boots or wellies.
People often ask which of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks is easiest, and in our view it’s Whernside. Whilst it’s the biggest, it’s more of a gentle climb without the scrambly sections of Ingleborough or Pen-y-ghent.
Will you be trying the Yorkshire 3 Peaks with kids or this Whernside circular hike? Let me know in the comments!
Here’s the route for this Whernside circular walk:
Parking: Limited parking in the lay-by near The Old Hill Inn.
Facilities: There is an honesty shop with customer toilets at Philpin Farm. They also sell dry socks, which is good to know if you tackle this on a wet day!
Walk Time: 3-4 hours
Terrain: Road, rocky paved paths and fords to cross. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear.
Distance: 9 miles (14.5km) approximately
Route Map: Click the map to download the gpx file to your device.