Yorkshire 3 Peaks Route
Wondering where to start the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge, or want to see the Yorkshire 3 Peaks route? Read on!
Last week I put myself totally out of my comfort zone and went on a group hike with some ladies I didn’t know. I was so scared beforehand – I’m quite socially awkward – but I didn’t need to be. The ladies were amazing! We had a brilliant day tackling the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge in the Yorkshire Dales. We had a gloriously sunny day in March (you remember, the fake Spring we had just before winter came back).
The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge is a circular walking challenge which involves climbing three of the highest peaks in Yorkshire (Whernside 736m, Ingleborough 723m and Pen-Y-Ghent 694m high) and walking the distance in between them. The total distance for the Y3P is 24.5 miles. To complete the Challenge you need to finish the walk in 12 hours.
Where to Start the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge
There is no official starting point for the Y3P (unless you’re on an organised tour). As it’s a circular walking challenge, you could start anywhere along the route. I think the best place to start the Yorkshire 3 Peaks route is at Ribblehead viaduct (LA6 3AS). There is some free parking in a small lay-by here, and you’re only a few miles from climbing Whernside if you decide to go anti clockwise (getting the biggest peak ticked off first is always a great motivator!). Also, by the time you get to Horton in Ribblesdale the cafe and pub should be open (depending on the season).
You can also start the Yorkshire 3 Peaks walk from Horton-in-Ribblesdale car park (BD24 0HE). There is lots of parking and a public toilet here but it can get very busy at weekends so get there early.
Some people like to start the walk from Chapel le Dale (we did our Whernside circular walk from here). There is a small lay-by near the Old Hill Inn (which is sadly closed) at LA6 3AR.
We started our Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge at Ribblehead viaduct and tackled Whernside first, before heading to Ingleborough then Pen-y-Ghent. Doing the route this way round meant we avoided coming down the steep scramble of Ingleborough and the Red Route of Pen-y-Ghent – I much prefer going up a scramble than coming down one! It also meant that we got the climbing out of the way sooner rather than later, and had a long walk back to the cars after Pen-y-Ghent rather than having to climb again when we’d already walked 20 miles! You can do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks route whichever way round you like though.
Yorkshire Three Peaks Route:
You can click the map and download the gpx file to use with your own GPS device, or upload the file to the OS Maps app. You can also use Komoot to guide you. The route itself is very well signposted so is relatively easy to navigate.
Yorkshire 3 Peaks Training Plan
As training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks I gradually built up the lengths of walk I did each week. This is a very rough training plan I followed. I tried to get in one long walk and a few smaller 2-3 mile walks each week too.
8 weeks to go – a walk of 6+ miles eg Chrome Hill, Parkhouse Hill, High Edge and Hollins Hill 4 Peaks
7 weeks to go – a walk of 8+ miles eg Whernside Circular Walk
6 weeks to go – a walk of 10+ miles eg Langsett to Margery Hill, High Stones and Outer Edge
5 weeks to go – a walk of 12+ miles eg Alport Castles and Westend Moor Trig Point
4 weeks to go – a walk of 15+ miles eg Mini Edale Skyline Circular Walk
3 weeks to go – a walk of 17+ miles eg Holme to Black Hill to Crowden Circular Walk
2 weeks to go – a long walk of 20+ miles eg Dove Stone Reservoir Skyline Walk
1 week to go – Rest all week, maybe some yoga. Nothing too strenuous!
By gradually increasing the distance you can walk, you’re preparing yourself for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks distance and should hopefully avoid injury and recover quickly from the Challenge. Adding in lots of hill climbs will really help as well as you have to climb 3 mountains for the Challenge!
Yorkshire 3 Peaks Kit List
I would recommend the following:
- sturdy walking boots – the route is very rocky in places, with scrambles up Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent. Sturdy boots will help support your feet. I love my Scarpa Terra GTX walking boots and would definitely recommend them.
- suitable walking clothes – don’t wear jeans for this. If they get wet, they’ll take forever to dry and be really heavy to walk in. I wore hiking leggings to allow freedom of movement.
- rucksack – you’ll need your hands free for some scrambles.
- layers – the weather at the top of each peak is very different to that at ground level! Take layers so you can add them at the top and take them off on the climbs up (if you’re like me).
- waterproofs – it’s Yorkshire, so it rains a lot here. It would be a miserable walk if you had wet clothes! I took my Rab Downpour Eco jacket and waterproof trousers.
- plenty of healthy snacks – you’ll burn a lot of calories on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge so take plenty of food.
- plenty of water – I use a Water To Go water filter bottle so I could top my water up from various streams along the route, as well as from the Philpin Farm Barn.
- first aid kit – just in case
- walking poles – the route is quite tough on the knees, so if your knees get sore bring your poles. I have the Catbells poles from Harrier Trail Running which are lightweight and fold up really small.
- sun cream – you’re very exposed and will be out all day.
- OL2 OS map and compass – whilst gps devices are great and the route is well signposted, it is still a good idea to bring a paper map and compass (or have someone in your group who has, and who knows how to use them)
- mobile phone – in case of emergency and for taking photos if you are lucky enough to get the views!
- portable power bank for phone – just in case! Don’t forget your charger wire too.
Can you do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks on your own?
Of course you can do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks route on your own! We met people out walking the route solo and also running the route! You can tackle the Y3P as part of a group for free or on an organised walk where you pay for a guide and challenge support, but you definitely don’t need to pay if you want to do it. The route is well signposted and you can use the map above if you download it to your gps device or phone.
How far is Yorkshire 3 Peaks?
The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge is 24 miles of walking to be completed in 12 hours.
Are there toilets on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Route?
Yes! You can stop off at Philpin Farm Barn on the way down from Whernside, as well as using the facilities in Horton-in-Ribblesdale car park. At Philpin Farm Barn you can also get a drink and a snack, dry socks and top up your water supplies.
The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge is definitely a challenge, but you get a brilliant sense of achievement from completing the route within 12 hours. Will you take on the Challenge this year? I’m doing it again later in the year with my husband and some friends – wish us luck! (Edited to add – I did it again, and started from Horton in Ribblesdale. It wasn’t as good a route, but we did it in 9 hours 15).