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Ribblehead Viaduct And A Grand Yorkshire Walk

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It was time for another walk. The second of a fantastic HF Holidays weekend, walking many miles in the Yorkshire Dales. The variety was to be so apparent and a wonderful day in the wintry fresh air it was going to be. An area I know and love very well from previous walks, but a route that does not mean hard slogs over the Yorkshire 3 peaks for a change. Today was going to be a 7 mile circular walk around the Ribblehead Viaduct, walking along the slopes of the Three Peaks, getting some stunning different views of the area.

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A hearty breakfast was had at our wonderful accommodation at Newfield Hall, before getting into a minibus for a 45 minute, extremely scenic journey to our start point. The start point for the walk was beneath Ingleborough on the B6479, near Selside. Of course not to head straight up the hill but to enjoy walking the lower slopes and traversing with the views around. Quite different to the Malhamdale walk the day before, variety, I enjoy that.

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Looking back over the valley was a familiar sight indeed. Pen-y-ghent shrouded in cloud and snow. It is always refreshing to wander these parts in differing weather. You can never ever tire of walking in the area. Aswe got onto higher ground we hit the snowline ourselves. The sun made an appearance too making the valley full of light and colour.

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It wasn’t long either before we came to the first natural landmark. We are deep in limestone country here and the Yorkshire Dales, as well as having large limestone pavements, the hills, like Ingleborough is surrounded by exposed rock walls that make an impressive sight first hand for sure. You could follow these walls for miles and in parts it was used for quarrying the stone.

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As we made our way around into the valley of Chapel-le-Dale, Ingleborough came more into sight on our left. Venturing around on this path was more unique for me too. I must admit I had been up Ingleborough many many times in the past, taking groups around the Yorkshire Three Peaks etc. It was a joy to experience a new way of seeing the area on a different route. That is a big thing with these guided trips with HF Holidays, you see a lot, a lot of variety and in great company and wonderfully knowledgeable guides.

We stopped for a warm drink break right upon a limestone paving. The cloud lifted partially on Ingleborough before us and gave a spectacular sight.

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The clouds came back with a vengeance soon after though. The snow was falling, but spirits were high, and the group marched happily on. With all the differing characters on the walk you soon forget about the colder conditions and enjoy the chatter and miles.

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Plus, we knew that a warm and great lunch stop was ahead. Today we were going to have a warm soup and sandwiches at the Old Hill Inn. A perfect break in a perfect spot, between the hills of Ingleborough and Whernside.

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After a hearty meal it was time to get back on the path. The other side of the valley this time and skirting around the bottom of Whernside, taking a right where the path up Whernside proper begins. The views stay spectacular as ever that is for sure!

Ahead you get the view of Ribblehead Viaduct from the other side to normal, plus behind you see across the valley to Ingleborough, now showing more out of the clouds.

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Plus, we met some happy passers by. A flock of Herdwick Sheep heading in the other direction. Gotta love the looks on this breeds faces.

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Ribblehead Viaduct got closer and closer from now on and we passed up and to the left of it. Heading straight towards Blea Moor Signal Box along a lovely stream.

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From here the end was in sight, but, not before wandering down beside and under the viaduct itself. Ribblehead Viaduct is an iconic and spectacular sight, no matter the weather, no matter the season.

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Ribblehead Viaduct is a remarkable structure. One of the iconic crossings on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. A Grade II listed piece of architecture. Built between 1870 and 1874 by over 1000 navvies and at a cost of many lives. approximately 100 navvies died in the construction, that is a high percentage indeed! The area under and around the viaduct is a scheduled ancient monument.  It is hard to believe but at the time of building there were shanty towns around these moors to accommodate the navvies and their families, called Batty Wife Hole, Sebastopol, and Belgravia (after Crimean War battles). In the local graveyard at Chapel-le-dale you can find graves over over 200 from the period. If this all sounds and looks familiar then the TV series Jericho was inspired by the Ribblehead story.

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Another great day and another great walk in the Yorkshire Dales! It had been a fantastic weekend. Two great walks and wonderful hosting, accommodation, food, guiding and company. This was my first trip with HF Holidays and can say it is remarkable the lengths that are gone to, to ensure everyone enjoys a walking holiday that is seamlessly filled with miles and joy. If you wish to find out more for yourself they cover the whole of Britain and beyond, not just the Yorkshire Dales

Written by Paul Steele

Founder of BaldHiker.com and avid hiker, climber and trekker. Never liking to sit still and always seeking new adventures around the world. Sharing personal views here and tweeting live via @paul_steele

2 Comments

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  1. Hi Paul,

    Seriously beautiful photos here: moody and cold. I think there’s not much finer sight than Ingleborough with a fresh coat of snow. And lookee at those Herdwick faces! Absolutely gorgeous.

    Speak to you soon.

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