Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales. Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales. To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

THIS is probably only the third most popular route up the fine mountain of Ingleborough, but it is still a fine walk to the summit. With the added bonus of a start at the magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct and the addition of a second ‘Dales 30’ mountain, this is a fine day out.

Park at the T-junction at Ribblehead where there is now plenty of parking. Head south-east along the B6479 for little over half a mile to a farm track near the railway cottages. Turn right at a signpost for Sleights and follow the lane round to Colt Park, a farm. Cross through the gate and on to the steep slopes of Park Fell, a daunting prospect. Keep to the wall and head up the steep slopes, however make full use of the excuse to stop and admire the view behind you. The views of Pen-y-Ghent are particularly impressive.

The Trig point at Park Fell is eventually reached, drop down to the wall on your right and continue south-west to the next slope. Ignore the obvious path on the far side of the wall and continue alongside the wall for over one mile until it arrives at the cairn marking the summit of Simon Fell at 650m. Simon Fell is one of the least visited ‘Dales 30’ mountains (those over 2,000ft high). It is one of the many reasons why the ‘Dales 30’ are such a good challenge, they take you to places you would not normally visit.

From the cairn follow the wall south-west and slightly downhill till you meet a stile and an obvious path that leads up to the summit plateau of Ingleborough.

This last, recently repaired section of path is known as the Swine Tail and has caused much grief to many trying to complete the Three Peaks challenge. The highest point of Ingleborough is at the far end of this large rocky plateau complete with Trig point, large cairn and shelter. Return to the same rocky path leaving the plateau to the stile and turn left (north) down a steep path. After 150ft the path flattens and heads towards the bulk of Whernside. The route down passes some lovely limestone pavements in its lower half and as a descent is really very pleasant, the duck boards avoiding the worst excesses of the previously eroded path. From the foot of the steep slope it is nearly two miles to the road (B6255) but the track, being part of the Three Peaks challenge, is obvious.

At the road there is a choice. The quickest route back is to turn right and follow the road for just over a mile to Ribblehead. Alternatively take the farm road which leaves the road after 300 metres and follow it towards Ivescar farm. Just after crossing the stream and before arriving at the farm, a track to your right then carries on alongside the river to Gunnerfleet Farm (part farm/part outdoor centre). Turn right just before the buildings and follow the track to Ribblehead viaduct and back to the start. Count the 24 magnificent arches as you approach the viaduct and if you are lucky a steam train will pass 100ft above. Crossing under the viaduct makes a fine end to an excellent walk.

Fact box:

Distance: Roughly 9 miles (extra one mile with a return under the viaduct)

Height to Climb: 560m (1,840 feet)

Start: SD 765793. There is parking at the T-junction 100 metres to the east of the Station Inn. Alternatively the walk can be done direct from the train station.

Difficulty: Hard. On footpaths and good tracks but it is a steep climb and awkward initial descent, particularly when wet.

Refreshments: The Station Inn is very good and very convenient.

Be Prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.