Walking Route: Ingleborough, Dales

Distinctive Yorkshire Dales limestone and England's deepest cave entrance mark out this route.

Posted: 16 July 2007
by Dave Mycroft

Walking Route - Ingleborough, Yorkshire Dales

Ingleton > Ingleborough > Gaping Ghyll > Dowlass Moss > Ingleton

Average Time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Distance: 8.9 miles (14.4km)

Height Gain: 2703 ft (824 m)

A stunning walk through the characteristic limestone terrain of one of the classic Dales 'Three Peaks'.

Maps: OS OL 12, Landranger 98

Online: Streetmap

Strenuousness: 2
Technicality: 1
Photo Grade: 3

Start Point: SD 700 730

Ingleborough - Alan Southworth, OM album

The Three Peaks of the Yorkshire Dales are among the country's most popular walks, whether as a combined epic or individual forrays onto the limestone uplands. This walk takes in Ingleborough and its famous attraction, the pot of Gaping Ghyll, on a circular route from Ingleton.

Section 1: Ingleton to Ingleborough

Distance: 2.8 miles (4.6km)

Height Gain: 1846 ft (563m)

Average Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Start from the Storrs Common on the outskirts of Ingleton, and head right from the road towards the obvious cave entrance. This is Storrs Common Cave, which despite the impressively sized entrance has defeated generations of cavers in extending it beyond a few hundred yards of mud-filled passage.

Pass the twin entrances to the cave to join the path alongside a wall as it heads up towards Crina Bottom and the lower slopes of Ingleborough. The first mile and a quarter rise gradually between the drystone walls before breaking out onto open moorland by White Scars.

Distinctive limestone pavement on Ingleborough - Dave Mycroft

Even without the walls as a guide the path is almost impossible to lose, being a regular pedestrian highway past Quaking Pot and numerous other potholes. For the last mile the gradient increases, particularly as you leave the limestone plateau to ascend the Millstone grit cap that gives Ingleborough its characteistic profile.

The summit of Ingleborough provides the site of an Iron Age fort along with a well-built wind shelter and the obligatory trig point. On a good day the view west extends to the Lake District and Irish Sea, and even on a poor day the famous Ribblehead Viaduct of the Carlisle to Settle line dominates the valley below.

Section 2: Ingleborough to Gaping Ghyll

Distance: 1.7 miles (2.7km)

Height Gain: 66ft (20 m)

Average Time: 0 hour 45 mins

Descend Ingleborough to the north, taking the right hand fork where the path splits. The path now heads south past Sware Gill Head onto Ingleborough common.

Well-constructed summit shelter, spot on for lunch :-) - Dave Mycroft

After almost a mile a junction is reached where the left hand path leads downhill to where Fell Beck falls down the country's deepest cave entrance. Gaping Ghyll is over 360 ft deep and can fit Saint Paul's Cathedral inside its main chamber.

On Bank Holidays twice a year local caving clubs divert Fell Beck from the main entrance and set up a winch for the general public to investigate the bottom of the main chamber.

Section 3: Gaping Ghyll to Ingleton

Distance: 4.4 miles (7.1km)

Height Gain:791 ft (241m)

Average Time: 2 hour 15 mins

From Gaping Ghyll retrace your steps uphill onto Ingleborough common and the junction with the main path. Turn left here at the cairn to begin the long descent back to Ingleton.

It's important here that you get the right path, heading over Dowlass Moss and not the more southerly path over Newby Moss. Continue downhill to a series of open potholes, the best known being Long Kin West Pot, passing to the right of Grey Scarrs.

Ingleborough's distinctive cap rears above the clouds -
pic by Mark H -
OM album

The path now leads down to High Leys and a minor road from Clapham to Ingleton, where you turn right. The last mile and a half is following the road back to Ingleton where it joins the Chapel le Dale road just below Storrs Common and your starting point.

Note: Average time ratings are calculated for a notional average walker and take height gain into account. You may be faster or slower than the notional average, but they provide a starting point.

Route Map

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