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Penyghent and Hull Pot from Horton in Ribblesdale
Map of the walk
Horton in Ribblesdale
Start (OS ref):
Maps (1:25,000):
Car park or roadside parking
6.1 miles (9.8 km)
3 hours
500 metres
Some quiet road walking. Some easy scrambling on the final ascent of Penyghent.
Horton in Ribblesdale
Route Map:



Setting off from Horton in Ribblesdale and walking via Brackenbottom is viewed as the classic ascent of Penyghent. Quite rightly too for the walk begins as a gentle climb with Penyghent often hidden from view until Penyghent appears in view on Brackenbottom Scar. The southern profile of Penyghent stands awesome and inspirational in view with two distinct short steep climbs becoming increasingly obvious as one draws closer. This part is justice enough to be the ultimate Penyghent route. And once on the summit the views are spectacular with the remaining three peaks colleagues Whernside and Ingleborough clearly visible to the north east. And look down from the Whernside eyeline to walk from the summit to Hull Pot, the largest natural hole in England. A walk with a wow factor.

The Story of the Walk:

Looking towards Penyghent from Brackenbottom Scar is an awesome experience

The first real walking trip of 2007, in good company and on one of my all time favourite Dales walks to the summit of my favourite Dales hill. And on a fine late winters day in what has been a rather wet spell. Superlative indeed. Penyghent has always been a rather special hill for me, one of the three peaks of the Yorkshire Dales and by far the most attractive. The most shapely of them all, a hill that looks different from which ever angle one views it. From Settle Scar it stands alone and proud. From Halton Gill leonine. And from Horton like a Behemoth, a slumbering monstrous giant. My brother Ray and sister in law Karen were over from Northallerton and so the four of us, Lil finally taking on a real Dales hill, drove to Horton in Ribblesdale to take our walk. This Sunday was set fair.

On Penyghent
Ray, Karen and Lil take a breather on the southern ascent path to Penyghent summit

The drive from Harrogate involved a detour for the Highways chaps were working on gullies on Blubberhouses Moor. It was our first detour of the day, unplanned. There would be one more detour to come, this time on the walk and this time planned. More on that later. We left Horton by walking along the lane from Horton Bridge past Nether Close to Brackenbottom Farm. From Brackenbottom Farm we followed the footpath by the wall sides while climbing steadily towards Brackenbottom Scar. Sometimes our target was in view, sometimes not but we could always take in the complimentary view to the north east of the remaining 'three peaks', Ingleborough and Whernside. "Hills for another day" I said to the team. Ray was agreeable, the girls not so sure. At Brackenbottom Scar the walk took in some easy scrambles up limestone edges. It was fun. Fun for all.

Penyghent side
Walking down from the summit to Penyghent side

After Brackenbottom Scar the southern face of Penyghent loomed large and at Gavel Rigg the spectacular face was at its most imposing. It was also clear how the steady climb had now become steep. "Chuffing heck" said Lil amusingly. There are two sections to the final climb. The first is onto Penyghent's snout and the second onto Penyghent's brow. The first involves a little easy scrambling and so does the second but it is never difficult. I've always found the wind blowing over the western flank trickiest but this time it was less so. We all climbed up steadily and surely. It was as it was on the Brackenbottom scrambles, fun. Ray helped pull Lil and Karen up on a couple of occasions. Soon the climbing was done and we were on the summit plateau. It was much colder up on top. a chill wind was blowing over and once at the trig point we snuggled by the wall and dined on Lil's well prepared delicious sandwiches. A yummy hilltop time.

Hull Pot
Hull Pot is truly spectacular and one of my favourite Yorkshire Dales places

We didn't linger for long once we had tucked our fayre. It was blooming cold so with some vivacity we marched down from the top part of Penyghent and down towards Penyghent Side and Penyghent Needle, a small broken limestone edge that stands proud. One day it will fall and that will be sad. But not today. At the point where the path turns from north to east Ray and I lingered for the girls had fallen behind while ambling in chat. In fact they chatted all the way down! It was clear they were having fun on their walk, as Ray and I were. That was good. And so to the planned detour. I took my companions to Hull Pot, the single largest hole in England. They had never been to Hull Pot before and I could not let them miss the opportunity. It is superb with two sunken waterfalls within the Pot. Today they were both flowing. That is not always so. I noticed the pot had grown in side for a collapse had happened on the eastern side. Hull Pot is an inspirational place.

Penyghent from Horton
The girls walking back into Horton with Penyghent behind. They really enjoyed the walk.

After the humble time at Hull Pot we set off to our start point along the bridleway from Hull Pot to Skell Gill Pasture and back to Horton. I thought of past times. Of good times. I looked to Lil, Karen and Ray and mentioned to them that a few years ago it could well have been Steve, Dave and Deke in their place. Steve is now too far away, Dave can't walk far and Deke, this walk was for you my greatly missed friend. The three new walkers will take your places in keeping me company on walks but I'll keep my memories of walks with you safe. It was good for Lil to have Karen as company. And for me it was good to have Ray. The girls managed a mutual pace as did we. It makes for good walking to come.

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