Pen-y-Ghent Classic

Walk Summary

The classic ascent of Pen-y-Ghent from Horton-in-Ribblesdale via Brackenbottom Scar before returning via Hunt Pot, Hull Pot and Horton Scar Lane.

Distance: 6.2 miles
Total ascent: 1910ft
Walk Rating: *****
Parking: Car park, Golden Lion
Route: Download Route [GPX]

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Walk Report

With ten ascents Pen-y-Ghent was joint top with Whernside as the hill I'd climbed most in the Dales. What made this, my eleventh visit, special was that it was the first time I'd done it with my daughter, Rhiannon.

Although we arrived at just after 9.30am the National Park car park in Horton was already full. Thankfully the Golden Lion offers all day parking for only £2 so we drove back down the road and parked there. Payment is via an honesty box at the back of the hotel.

"I caught her a few times glancing up at Pen-y-Ghent and I knew she was secretly quite pleased with herself."

We followed the standard route up Pen-y-Ghent via the path climbing up from Brackenbottom and over Brackenbottom Scar. At first sight of Pen-y-Ghent Rhiannon was quite put off as to how high and far away it looked. Psychologically this did have an affect on the way up. It didn't however stop her from enjoying a bit of a scramble about on Brackenbottom Scar.

The majority of times I've taken this route it has been whilst doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. It was quite nice therefore to take my time and enjoy the views looking back down the valley towards Smearsett Scar and Moughton. Despite her complaints Rhiannon did really well. In fact by the time we reached the Pennine Way she was doing better than I did on my first attempt at Pen-y-Ghent back in 2004. I made a point of telling her as much as well.

The final ascent over limestone and then gritstone is undoubtedly steep but the easy scrambling also makes it very enjoyable. The hard work now accomplished we continued on the slabbed path to reach the trig point and shelter at the summit. Pen-y-Ghent has to be one of the busiest summits in the Yorkshire Dales. It was absolutely rammed when we arrived though just ten minutes later it was suddenly empty except for the three of us. It only lasted a couple of minutes but that made it all the more precious.

Rhiannon had done brilliantly to get to the top, 'the hardest thing I've ever done' so she claimed. Whilst I don't think she particularly enjoyed the climb she did seem to enjoy the descent much more. She was certainly very chatty as we descended north on the Pennine Way. I always enjoy this section which features some quite wonderful views. Further down the path we came across the sad sight of a dead owl. How it had died was something of a mystery, it almost looked like it had lain down asleep.

As has become a tradition I always make a detour to visit both Hunt Pot and Hull Pot on my way down from Pen-y-Ghent. Whilst Rhiannon complained about the detour to visit Hull Pot she seemed to gain a second wind as we began walking down Horton Scar Lane. I caught her a few times glancing up at Pen-y-Ghent and I knew she was secretly quite pleased with herself. Then, before I knew it, she was off almost skipping ahead of me and Lisa. She may have struggled climbing up but she was much faster than me on the way down!

Whilst this was the third time my wife and I have been up there together it was our first time with Rhiannon. Getting to share a place which has so many memories for me with my daughter made this a very special walk indeed.

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