Pen-Y-Ghent - an old friend revisited.
At a height of 2,277 feet (694 meters) Pen-Y-Ghent is the lowest of the three peaks of Yorkshire and along with Whernside and Ingleborough dominates the sky line in upper Ribblesdale. I've walked all three many times in the past. Sometimes individually and sometimes together as part of the 25 mile three peaks walk. Out of the three, which all have their own very different characters, Pen-Y-Ghent has always been a firm favorite.
There are many reasons why it's my favorite, some of which are deeply personal. There's the hill itself which I find particularly aesthetically pleasing, reminiscent as it is of a crouching Lion in profile.
Pen-Y-Ghent was also the first fell/hill of any significance I ever walked on a hot summers day in 1972. My brother and I were only young boys and we had a fantastic day exploring the likes of Hull pot and the rock pinnacle which stands on the western flanks over looking Ribblesdale. Even now some fifty years later I can still smell the moorland and feel the heat of that day.
The fact is Pen-Y-Ghent had been an influential factor in our family long before my brother and I were even born. My dad grew up in post war Britain in a pit village where life was hard, particularly if like my grandmother you were a single parent. Her husband (my grandfather) having been killed in the war. Against all odds however, dad won a place at what was then considered to be one of the best grammar schools in the area and his horizons were expanded beyond the pit heaps of County Durham.
It was on a school trip in the early 1950's when he first experienced the Yorkshire Dales and I think it was fair to say it was love at first sight. Especially when it came to Pen-Y-Ghent which he and his class mates had enthusiastically walked/explored. I don't think he ever forgot that day and he often reminded us of how he and his friends climbed the pinnacle (unlike today this wasn't frowned upon in 1950) or slithered their way down into Hull Pot. Thinking about it once his boys were old enough there was only ever going to be one destination for their first hill walk.
One way or another Pen-Y-Ghent played a significant role in kindling two generations love of the out doors. Sadly dad was taken from us in the early 80's. We scattered his ashes close to the pinnacle on the hill he loved so much.
- Leave Horton in Ribblesdale heading north east on Horton Scar Lane.
- Continue on Horton Scar Lane for approx 1.5 miles until the open moorland of Horton Moor is reached.
- At this point we made a diversion to see Hull pot and continued in a north easterly direction for three or four hundred yards.
- Having visited Hull Pot we then retraced back to the main path where Horton Lane met Horton Moor.
- Once back on route we headed due east on the Pennine Way toward Pen-y-Ghent.
- Continue on the well marked and apparent path up the slopes of the fell to the summit.
- At grid ref 838/742 the path makes a sharp right turn and heads south as it climbs to the summit.
- Once over the summit descend heading due south on the Pennine Way. Warning steep descent which might not be for everyone as some limited scrambling is required.
- At grid ref 835/718 turn right on Long Lane (the opposite direction to the Pennine way which turns left toward Fountains Fell) heading toward Helwith Bridge.
- At Helwith Bridge turn right up the lane toward Arcow Quarry.
- After appox 400 yards turn right and follow the riverside path back to Horton in Ribblesdale.
- Distance (as recorded on my tracker) 9.95 miles.