As can be seen from last weekend's post, last week we conquered the tallest hill in the whole of Yorkshire, Whernside... and this week it was Ingleborough's turn. As I also mentioned last week, Ingleborough is my favourite hill/mountain for so many reasons - from the impressive profile, panoramic views and limestone scenery to the variations from steep climbs to gentle slopes, it has a bit of everything stuffed into about 10 miles of walking. The start point of our walk, Clapham, is a perfectly picturesque dales village with a stream down the middle, numerous little bridges and even it's own waterfall - so certainly not a bad place to spend a little time wandering around also - although there was no time for that this time after quite a late early afternoon start.
|My favourite shot of the day, taken on the way back, past Ribblehead, in the low evening sunlight|
So, setting off from Clapham you have 2 choices - either follow the stream straight up out of the village (and pay a fee for using the footpath) or keep to the left and take a slight detour up a parallel - and much steeper - footpath. Being from Yorkshire I took the second option. A mile further on these two tracks join again and you can follow a very well trodden path up to Ingleborough caves where there is also a small shop for some early-walk ice creams.
Soon after this, you come to the somewhat impressive Trow Gill, which on this occasion (as, I'm sure, plenty of others) was full of rock climbers... at the top end of this gorge is an interesting but very easy scramble out, where a number of the rocks have been worn down by the numerous hands gripping them to become amazingly smooth and shiny.
|Looking back down the scramble at the top|
Upon emerging from the top of Trow Gill, it is only a short walk along the still well-trodden path through the moorland until you come across the unmissable Gaping Gill - a hole in the ground which (I have been led to believe) you could fit the whole of York Minster in. However, on this occasion it seems something was going on there so access to it was somewhat limited...
|An endless campsite above Gaping Gill|
It is from here that the real climb starts, with the first of two steep uphill sections. Interestingly, the total climb of this walk (~780m) is actually larger than the hill itself (723m) due to the number of ups and downs - this is also a considerably harder walk than Whernside last week, which only involves ~400m (a very, very, very rough estimate - just by looking) of climbing due to starting higher up.
|Top of the first steep climb, and time for some food!|
It was at the top of this steep, paved, uphill section that we stopped for the first half of our dinner before continuing towards the summit - which we reached not long after...
So now for a few photos of the views... which the sheep seem to enjoy too...
|More interested in the vegetation than the views.|
|Sunlit views back over to Whernside|
|Another view back over Whernside|
The last time I was up there, I couldn't see more than a few metres ahead, so it was nice to make the most of these views and spend a little while on the peak this time - although the air wasn't as clear as last week up Whernside, so Lake District and Howgill views were a bit more limited. Anyway, from this point on, it is pretty much all downhill. There is quite a steep section off the summit of Ingleborough to the east, with cliffs sweeping down below you to the left - but nothing too scary or difficult. After this it is quite a gentle, but long slope down the back of Simon Fell, towards Horton in Ribblesdale with stunning views across to Pen-y-ghent, the third of the 3 peaks.
|View across Ribblesdale to Pen-y-ghent - with a side profile almost as impressive as Ingleborough.|
After what seems like forever walking in seemingly the wrong direction, away from the car parked back at Clapham, you eventually come to some right turns and for me, I had to guess which was the correct one to take us back based on my vague memories of last time. Fortunately, I'm quite (very) good with directions when lacking maps and from this vague recollection of what should come later and the type of rock now under our feet - I took us, possibly via a shortcut, onto the correct path! After 5 minutes on the path, I was certain of the correctness in my decision making by this spectacular limestone valley, just over the wall to the south...
|Limestone valley to the south of Ingleborough.|
From here you follow a very well trodden (possibly the Pennine way/bridleway?) path all the way back to Clapham - with only a few more guessed decisions to make based on roughly knowing where Clapham is. Although this looks like a lovely track to walk on, the loose stones underfoot on tired legs actually make this a somewhat challenging end to the walk.
|A lovely Dales scene looking back up toward Ingleborough, on the left|
Finally, as the last descent is a little bit steeper - and darker, as you pass through some unlit tunnels - you end up back in Clapham and get a warm welcome from the local wildlife, lounging around on the table in front of the car...
|Awwwww... was a very nice end to the walk, rolling around and enjoying the attention, which I'm sure it gets plenty of!|
Unfortunately, that was the end of my week back up in Richmond, so no time to do the third peak, Pen-y-ghent - but next year I will, hopefully, be attempting the three peak challenge in full - so I'll complete the set then at least!
On the way back, we made a couple of stops for me to enjoy the beautiful light that the low evening sun bathed the valley in - although I only had a couple of minutes each time and you've seen one shot at the start of this post, and here is the other... see you all next week!