A quieter path Ribblehead Viaduct Walk across Ingleborough making use of the scenic Settle-Carlisle railway on a linear walk across a fabulous Yorkshire peak, and it’s as fine a section of ridge walking you’ll find anywhere in the county.
Ingleborough is among the most climbed summits in the Yorkshire Dales and one of the iconic Yorkshire Three Peaks, so especially on busy weekends, school holidays and bank holidays, when it can be teeming with walkers setting off from Horton, Clapham or Ingleton.
If you prefer to be away from the madding crowds for a while, there is a quieter, less used side to be enjoyed by exploring this Ribblehead Viaduct walk.
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk – How to get there on the Settle to Carlisle Line
Trains can be caught anywhere along the Settle-Carlise line, getting off at Ribblehead Station at the foot of the magnificent 23-arched Batty Moss viaduct. For instance, you can drive to Horton-in Ribblesdale and then take the train to Ribblehead.
Please use the table below for a list of train stations on the Settle to Carlise Line.
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk – Railway Stations on the Settle-Carlisle line, listed starting at Settle, north to south
|Settle-Carlisle Railway Station:||SatNav Postcode:|
|Settle Railway Station||Settle BD24 9BN|
|Horton-in Ribblesdale Railway Station||Settle BD24 0HL (off B6479)|
|RIBBLEHEAD Railway Station||Ribblehead LA6 3JF|
|Dent Railway Station||Sedbergh LA10 5RF|
|Garsdale Railway Station||Sedbergh LA10 5PP|
|Kirby Stephen Railway Station||Kirkby Stephen CA17 4LE (The Blackpool Express B66 bus also stops here)|
|Appleby Railway Station||Appleby-in-Westmorland CA16 6TT|
|Langwathby Railway Station||Langwathby, Penrith CA10 1NA|
|Lazonby & Kirkoswald Railway Station||Lazonby, Penrith CA10 1BW|
|Armathrwaite Railway Station||Armathwaite, Carlisle CA4 9PW|
e Railway Station
|Court Square, Carlisle CA1 1QZ|
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk – Ingleborough – using a quieter Path Route
From Ribblehead Railway Station walk down to the Station Inn pub and then downhill to the junction with Horton Road. Follow this to the left for half a mile to a row of cottages on the right-hand side and a footpath signed to Sleights.
This leads behind the cottages to cross the railway line by a bridge and then past an old lime kiln. The track meanders on through scrubby woodland and boulders, with the hump of Park Fell ahead.
At a farmhouse go through the gate directly ahead to pass behind the buildings and continue up the track following the line of the wall towards the summit.
The next section is an unremitting climb but you are rewarded by the expanding views across to the other two members of the Yorkshire Three Peaks – Penyghent to the southeast and the ridge of Whernside to the northwest.
At the top of the slope continue following the wall until the trig point comes into view – and beyond it the flat summit of Ingleborough.
From the trig point, Ingleborough and the intermediate summit of Simon Fell are seen ahead – the path is marked by small green-painted posts.
This is Yorkshire Dales walking at its very best – the surrounding views are as fine as anyone could wish for.
However, depending on the season and weather conditions, care is needed to pick a dry way across a boggy pass, before the climb to the top of the intermediate summit of Simon Fell.
After crossing a secondary summit of Simon Fell, the track turns round to the left. Watch out for a gate and stile on the right which leads to a climb beside a wall on the left.
Crossing this intermediate summit, Ingleborough fills your forward view, encouraging you to climb this one last challenge.
The path at the side of the wall goes to a gate at the bottom of a stone staircase so climb this to the summit plateau, where the large cross-shaped shelter provides a great place to stop for refreshments and to admire the amazing panorama – which now includes Pendle Hill. It’s also a great shelter in windy, rainy or snowy conditions., as you can move to any leeward side depending on the day’s wind direction.
On the summit, worn tracks are hard to follow from the cross-shaped shelter, so retrace your steps to the edge aiming for the shape of Penyghent to the east. From a cairn on the lip, is then easy to pick out the clear path snaking across the fellside.
Drop down the ridge until it is possible to take a fork on the right which leads to the broad well-trodden Penyghent-bound track.
It’s simple on a clear day but demands a degree of competence with a map and compass or GPS in mist or poor visibility. However, once located, the path is difficult to lose.
In contrast to the first half of this Ribblehead Viaduct walk on grassy routes, this section gets so much traffic that the track has been reinforced and stiles are in pairs to cope with the hiking traffic.
Shortly after a gate at a fork in the path, take the left-hand branch, continuing to head towards Penyghent.
Eventually, the track crosses the Pennine Bridleway and carries on straight forward into Sulber Nick which is a major fault on Ingleborough’s lower eastern slopes, aligned east/west, with the best-known section overlooking Horton-in-Ribblesdale and forming part of the Three Peaks walk.
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk – Ingleborough – using a quieter Path – Sulber Nick
The Sulber Nick area contains wonderful expanses of limestone pavement and a number of glacially deposited limestone erratic boulders. This geographical fault is responsible for a number of interesting potholes, some of enormous depth.
After your long descent from Ingleborough’s summit, the path suddenly goes over a small rise and Horton-in-Ribblesdale Railway Station is immediately in front of you.
Perhaps you will feel you have earned one of the pint pots of tea in the welcoming Penyghent Café. so here’s the contact and location details and tips:
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk – Pen-y-ghent Café
Pen-y-ghent Café operates a clock-in and out system to time, and to aid the safety of walkers on the Yorkshire Three Peaks, a clock card machine records the start and end times of walkers starting and finishing there.
Those completing within a 12 hour period are invited to join the Pen-y-ghent Café’s ‘Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club’.
However, many people prefer to start the circular walk at other points such as the one we have described, so as to avoid the early morning crowds in Horton-in-Ribblesdale and up the first ascent.
Many walkers instead stop at the Pen-y-ghent Café for lunch or a much-needed break.
This Ribblehead Viaduct Walk route is not to be underestimated. It climbs to 2,375ft (723m) and is s day out in true fell country. It can be tricky to find the correct way off the summit in bad weather so the route is best avoided in poor visibility unless you are confident with map and compass.
The walk is signposted in areas, but you cannot rely on signposting as your only means of navigation, especially during off-peak times when other walkers may be scarce.
Nothing beats a physical map, if even as a back-up.
It won’t run out of battery or have no network coverage.
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk – Ingleborough – using a quieter path walk Distance, Time, Start and Finish
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk – Ingleborough – using a quieter Path Start: Ribblehead Train Station (Ribblehead LA6 3JF)
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk – Ingleborough – using a quieter Path – Finish: Horton-in-Ribblesdale Station (Settle BD24 0HL)
Distance: 9 miles
Time: 5 hours
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk – Ingleborough – using a quieter Path Terrain Advice – it’s a high fell walk over sometimes rough terrain and with steep climbs and descents – very satisfying and enjoyable, but best avoided in poor visibility for your own safelty and the safety of rescue volunteers.
More of our information on the Ribblehead Viaduct Walks and Area
See here for more of our informtion about Ribblehead Viaduct Walks, including the Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk, the Ribble Head Viaduct, Pen-y-ghent and Whernside the easiest to hike – making it a popular choice for a less challenging ramble.
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