Walking, Hiking & Trail Running

Taking On The Yorkshire Three Peaks In 12 Hours | Everything You Need To Know

12 hours of walking, 1500 metres of ascent over 38km. Got the Yorkshire grit to tackle this?

Yorkshire. Land of the Yorkshire Pudding and Terry’s Chocolate Orange, birthplace of many cultural icons – and home to the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, funnily enough.

Usually attempted in under 12 hours (although it has been run in 2 hours 29 minutes and 39 seconds), the challenge involves hillwalking up anddown three peaks in the Pennine Range. The peaks in this challenge are Pen-y-Ghent (694m), Whernside (736m) and Ingleborough (723m).

Of these three peaks, Whernside is the highest in Yorkshire, Ingleborough is the second highest whilst Pen-y-Ghent is down in ninth. Although these peaks may seem easy, with ‘only’ 1585 metres of ascent, you have to remember that you need to walk between each peak.

This gives you a whopping 38.6km of walking. Considering the National Three Peaks involves 37km of walking, this gives you an idea of the challenge faced in undertaking the Yorkshire Three Peaks! Unlike the National Three Peaks Challenge, the beauty of this challenge is that you can complete it without the use of a car between each peak.

You can either drive or fetch the train to start this challenge. Parking is available in either of the two different starting points and the local train stations to aim for are either Horton-in-Ribblesdale or Ribblehead, but the favoured start point is Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

The walk is made either clockwise or anti-clockwise, depending on your preference. Take a look at the below route we’ve outlined on the map for the full directions of the walk. You’ll find it best to start as early as possible, to ensure you’ve got enough daylight to complete this mission. A 6am start should be perfect for mid-summer trips.

Pen-y-ghent: 694m

If you do decide to follow the preferred option of walking in a counterclockwise direction from Horton-in-Ribblesdale, then Pen-y-ghent will be the first peak to tackle. Follow the road that heads towards Brackenbottom Farm from the carpark shown above. This road leads to the path that takes you to the summit of Pen-y-ghent via the south ridge.

Whernside: 736m

After following a mixture of walking paths in a westerly direction, pass through Ribblehead on the B6255 along the side of the viaduct where you’ll begin ascending steeply up to Whernside after you have crossed the Little Dale Beck. From the summit, head down the ridge in a southerly direction, aiming for the B6255.

Ingleborough: 723 m

Cross over the B6255 to catch the path that leads you in a southeast direction to the summit of Ingleborough. You’ve then got around 7km of walking across farmland left to do from the summit of Ingleborough to return back to Horton-in-Ribblesdale to complete the challenge.

Back at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, find somewhere you can get your feet up and get yourselves a truly well earned beer as you watch the sunset over Lancaster to your west – job done!


You’re going to need a map to see where you’re going. Although the trails are fairly well marked, you’ll want to know that you’re following the right ones and that you’re on the right road. We recommend this nice map specific to the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.


Goes along with the map really. Handy little devices that show you which direction you’re facing. Compasses can also point you in the direction of the safest way down, when paired with the map (as long as you know how to use them). Don’t go buying fancy compasses with mirrors, bells, whistles and a plasma screen on them; a Silva Type 4 is all you need.


There’s lots of fresh water on the way up, but sometimes you can’t always guarantee the source of this freshwater. Bring a couple of water bottles, two to three litres for each mountain will do. You might also want to consider packing items like the Lifestraw, and the LifeSaver Liberty water purifier.


A bit of kit that you hope you never have to use, but might well have to. That being said, these super nifty pads are actually best used as part of an avoidance tactic so pop them on your ankles before you set off to avoid that dreaded blister forming early doors.


Completing this trip in Britain means that odds are you’ll get caught out in poor weather at some point. A solid, lightweight and waterproof jacket and trousers could make or break the trip, so don’t plan to go without some.


You’re going to want to buy a pair of solid boots that’ll support your ankles throughout the trip. The top of all of these mountains are fairly loose and with that, the risk of twisting your ankle becomes higher. Get some boots that your ankles will thank you for buying; boots, in other words, that your ankles will want to take out for a three course dinner in order to show their appreciation

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