Pen Y Ghent – One of the Dales 3 Peaks
Time: 3 – 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate – Due to the scramble on one edge of the summit
After watching Julia Bradbury’s show “Britians Best Walks”, I decided to leave my home just outside of Oxford and head north up the dreaded M6 on a Friday night to the great Yorkshire Dales. My VW camper is great for just jumping in and heading off at a moments notice. You dont need to worry about finding a B&B or hotel, just park up on the side of the road, pull out the bed and get your head down. On this occasion I stayed in a car park in the village of Horton In Ribblesdale, perfect for the start of our walk. At only £5 for a 24 hour period and clean toilet blocks too, I had struck gold. I don’t think they encourage sleeping in your van but as it was cold January night, I took the gamble that there wouldn’t be any wardens partrolling.
So after a good nights sleep I was ready to hit the trail. A well marked path leaves the main road and heads up onto the moors. I soon arrived at a fork in the path with a sign showing a blue route to the left and a red route to the right. I took the blue route as I wanted to take a slight detour to see Hull Pot. The path is a good solid track between dry stone walls, with a gentle incline to get you in the groove. After a few kilometres, the path turns 90 degrees to the right, here I headed straight on for approx 200 metres to Hull Pot. This is normally a fantastic waterfall cascading down into a collasped cave, on this occasion, the river was dry!!!
A quick cup of coffee and it was back the 200 metres to the now left turn and onwards to the more strenueous climb towards the summit. Walking up into the mist and low cloud base with the sun bursting through in patches made for some great views down the valley. The higher I walked the colder and windier it became. At the summit the wind was howling and bitterly cold. There were small huddles of people dotted along the wall, keeping out of the wind whilst eating there lunch and drinking hot soup or coffee. I joined them, to eat my lunch, but only for 10 minutes, as it was so cold. Time to move on.
Heading over the summit and down a good path lead me to quite a steep scramble down for 100 metres or so. I must say this isn’t for the faint hearted. If you are elderly, pregnant, have chrildren or small dogs with you or are scared of heights then you are probably best to head down the way you came up. For me though it was fantastic. I love a scramble and enjoy the excitment that steep climbs and edges bring. After working my way down this section it all too soon leads onto a path that takes you easily back to the village.
The village has 2 pubs, The Golden Lion and The Crown. I headed to The Crown as it was the closest to where I was parked. A sign on the door to the main bar read “No muddy boots, no wet gear or large rucksacks”. Well, considering this was an area where everybody was guilty of at least one of the things on the list, I quickly about turned and marched myself the 500 metres back up the road to The Golden Lion. I was pleased to see a sign that read “Walkers and Bikers Welcome”. A pub with a good atmosphere, log burner kicking out some heat and a good selection of food and ale. After a hearty steak and ale pie, washed down with a couple pints of cider, it was time to head back to the camper for a well deserved sleep.
The following morning brought a car park full of new, keen walkers, all putting their boots and rucksacks on for their own day of adventure. For me, it was a leisurly stroll to the Pen Y Ghent cafe for a full english breakfast and a large mug of coffee before jumping in the VW and heading home.
A great weekend and a great walk.
Enjoy the walking and stay safe.