Wildcamping on Whernside Yorkshire Dales

Posted in Whernside on March 30th, 2011 by David Murphy

 22 Oct 2010 me and my mate Paul set off for a Wildcamp on the summit of  Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales soon into our trip the weather made a turn for the worst on reaching the summit the weather was so poor we missed the Summit Trig Point which is as you no are usually a built up monument of stone, we thought after the fairly tiring climb they could have at least put something there for us. On reaching the summit we ran into darkness a long with the ever worsening weather, my satmap was telling me to head towards a very inviting lake/tarn where which we couldn’t actually see, we eventually pitched our tents near the lake after tramping through very wet bogs to get to it.

After probs the worse night I have experienced to date really bad winds and rain lashing the tent we awoke to not that very good of a view we decided to head off back to the path after packing up the tents we walked in a circle trying to find our way back on to the main path above us we walked a hundred yards or so and discovered the trig point that we had just walked past and couldn’t understand how we had missed it.


Watch My Vid Below

Whernside and Ribblehead Viaduct.jpg
A snow covered Whernside and Ribblehead Viaduct seen from Ribblehead.
Elevation 736 m (2,415 ft)
Prominence 408 m (1,339 ft)
Parent peak Cross Fell
Listing Marilyn, Hewitt, County Top, Nuttall
Whernside is located in Yorkshire Dales
Yorkshire Dales, England
OS grid SD738814
Coordinates 54°13′40″N 2°24′12″W / 54.22764°N 2.40338°W / 54.22764; -2.40338Coordinates: 54°13′40″N 2°24′12″W / 54.22764°N 2.40338°W / 54.22764; -2.40338
Topo map OS Landranger 98

Whernside is a mountain in the Yorkshire Dales and is one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, the other two being Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent. It is the highest point in the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire,[note 1] with the summit lying on the county border with Cumbria.

In shape Whernside forms a long ridge, running roughly north–south.


There is a Right of Way footpath running from the east at Ribblehead that heads north via Smithy Hill, Grain Ings before turning west to Knoutberry Haw and then south to Whernside itself. From the summit the ROW heads initially south then steeply southwest down a stepped path to the small village of Bruntscar. If climbed as part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge (which is normally done anti-clockwise) Whernside will be climbed following the route from up Ribblehead to descend to Bruntscar.

There are however other routes up/down the mountain which are not Rights of Way.

A path heads directly west from the triangulation pillar to reach the road that is Deepdale Lane near White Shaw Moss.

An alternative route heads directly north across Knoutberry Haw to pass Whernside Tarns and reaches the Craven Way at Boot of the Wold.

Following the southern descent for 0.76 miles (1.22 km), instead of turning steeply southeast towards Bruntscar a path continues south running adjacent the wall passing Combe Scar and West Fell to reach the limestone pavements at Ewe's Top.

Finally, 275 yards (251 m) south of the triangulation pillar an old route (partly fenced off) descends (initially very steeply) for 1.3 miles (2 km) to reach a road 275 yards (251 m) southwest of Winterscales Farm, this is the old route of the Three Peaks Challenge. Walkers should select this route with care as it is no longer maintained, boggy, badly eroded and requires extreme care over the final steep ascent/descent. The current route of the Three Peaks fell race runs approximately 440 yards (400 m) north of this old ascent along open moor.

All paths are on Access Land and make an interesting change from the Right of Way ascents/descents.

A walk solely around Whernside starting at the road of The Station Inn, to the top of Whernside and back round through the farm gives a distance of roughly 8 and a half miles.


On a clear day the views from the summit to the west can be spectacular, with views of the Lake District and Morecambe Bay, including (with the aid of binoculars) Blackpool Tower, some 40 miles (64 km) away.

Whernside lies about 2 miles (3 km) northwest of Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle–Carlisle Railway.

Whernside is sometimes confused with the lower peaks of Great Whernside 17 miles (27 km) away and Little Whernside, which are both to the east of Whernside. The word "Whern" is believed to refer to querns (millstones) whilst "side" is derived from the Norse "Saettr", meaning an area of summer pasture.



  1. ^ Mickle Fell in southern Teesdale is the highest point within the boundaries of the historic county of Yorkshire.

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