Whernside – A Winter Walk To The Top Of The Yorkshire Dales

Whernside, the highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales and thus the highest point of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, standing at 736 m (2,415 ft) in height. It is a walk up that I enjoy at all times of the year.

In fact over the last couple of years I have been enjoying climbing some favourite peaks on snowy and icy winter days. This one completed my hat-trick of Winter Yorkshire 3 Peaks after Inglebourough and Pen-y-ghent snowy ascents.

The dogs were ready for it too!

dogs-running-at-top-798x443 Whernside - A Winter Walk To The Top Of The Yorkshire Dales

Parking

The route I took up was the usual 3 peaks one starting at Ribblehead Viaduct. Easier for parking too as if there early enough you can park where the B6479 meets the B6255 north of Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

From the parking spot you can see the ridge of Whernside framed behind the famous viaduct.

ribblehead-798x499 Whernside - A Winter Walk To The Top Of The Yorkshire Dales

How Long Does It Take

For the circular up and down Whernside I would normally allow at least 4 hours (if not rushing on the Yorkshire 3 peaks of course). But today would of course be icy and snowy so I started early and allowed myself as much daylight as possible to enjoy, complete and take photos.

dachsund-snow-754x559 Whernside - A Winter Walk To The Top Of The Yorkshire Dales

I will be adding route maps and GPX files to this and many of the previous walks real soon to help with keeping on track

Enjoying The Climb

I love walking in this part of the Yorkshire Dales. One of the reasons I love doing the 3 peaks so much, a great excuse to see the whole area time and time again. This winter day it looked even more magical. The fresh cold air in my lungs and blue skies appearing between the odd clouds. I just truly enjoy walking the winter time.

Whernside is not as steep as the other two of the 3 peaks but it is the longer climb up. It is more of a gradual yet longer winding path upwards than a steep climb. But as you climb you can look back and see views all over. The viaduct below and Inglebourough across the valley.

looking-to-ingleborough-798x438 Whernside - A Winter Walk To The Top Of The Yorkshire Dales

You can see it is fairly green and clear of snow at the bottom. This can sometimes give people a false sense of security in heading up thinking this is just a snow filled walk. Believe me, especially on the top bits of the climb the wind and temperature has turned that snow to sheer ice, especially on the stone paths where previous people have walked. Please always be careful and have enough layers for temperature drops and good well gripped footwear or accessories.

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As always when you reach the top it gives a sense of accomplishment to many as well as that feeling of being away from it all. A good couple of hours effort is so rewarding I find. Every time.

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From the top you get another great and unique view of Ingleborough. The unmistakable shape of it, rising up from the valley floor. If you look right and north you can see the Lake District of Cumbria and perhaps with binoculars on a clear day you can see Blackpool Tower way over on the coast to the west.

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At the top it is a time to stand on the highest point in Yorkshire and take in the views. Not too long though, it was getting cold, mightily cold. even Gladys had a coat on bless her. The dogs love running in the snow and ice.

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Heading down the snow we gradually made our way down from the snowline and once again onto the feel of green grass beneath our feet. Taking time to look back at the mountain we had just climbed and shall meet again some day soon for sure.

The sheep serenaded us along the final stretch back to the car.

cold-sheep-798x480 Whernside - A Winter Walk To The Top Of The Yorkshire Dales

All in all, it was absolutely worth getting up early, getting out and getting on a favourite climb. A day well spent indeed.

Map and Route Details

Distance 7.5 Miles

whernside-798x524 Whernside - A Winter Walk To The Top Of The Yorkshire Dales

Download GPX of this walk – click here

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Parking: Postcode LA6 3AU

Free parking at Ribblehead Viaduct

Written by Paul Steele

Paul is the founder and Editor of the site. An avid hiker and trekker. Travel, adventure and photography are passions that he combines to make his articles here. Likes to see the positive in everything.

2 Comments

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  1. Really enjoy reading about your walks in the snow. Being an ex Aberdonian and living now on the balmy south coast it makes me miss the snow even more. Hopefully in the warmer months, and when this evil virus has passed I will plan some walks and as you mentioned if you start including GPx files it will really help. Keep up the great work and stay safe.

    • Hi Ian, hope you get north soon. and we can all go further afield again. Yes. we are going to start putting GPX files on walks going forward plus adding them to previous posts

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