I SET off on this climb of Ingleborough, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, on a lovely, but very cold day.

The snowdrops were coming out in Clapham, which was packed with visitors, and the walk up, bright, though bracing. The summit itself, which is fairly flat, was covered with a crisp shell of snow - like a very cold, beautiful meringue.

Ingleborough, along with Penyghent and Whernside, is one of the Craven's famous three peaks. At 723 metres (2,372ft), it is the second highest mountain in the Yorkshire Dales.

The route I took is the long way up, passing Ingleborough Cave, gorges and limestone pavement. Make sure you are suitably equipped, and remember the higher you go up, the colder it gets. You do need to be fairly sure-footed, there is quite a scramble up through Trow Gill not far on from Ingleborough Cave, and a large part of the climb up itself is on stone slab steps - which are something of a strenuous work-out.

But the views on the way up and from the summit are superb. I was so cold by the time I got to the top, I just took the same way back down, but there is a well used route back down - just be prepared to use a compass, if visibility is not good.

This walk comes courtesy of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and more walks in the area are available from yorkshiredales.org.uk. The website also includes information on the Three Peaks Project.

Step by step

1. Turn right out of the car park and follow brown signs towards Ingleborough Cave. There are two choices to reach the cave - either take the lovely lakeside nature trail, 35p per adult, or the walled track accessed a little further on. This track climbs steadily uphill and passes through a farmyard, before turning sharply to the right and downhill to meet the track and the nature trail. After a short way, you will pass Ingleborough Cave, where there is a cafe.

2. From Ingleborough Cave the path continues and turns up the impressive gorge of Trow Gill, quite a scramble here. Above this continue to follow the obvious, wall lined path towards Ingleborough. After crossing a wall with double stiles, the path passes Gaping Gill on the left where Fell Beck disappears underground falling 100 metres into a cavern - take care if you want to have a look.

3. The fairly level grass path steadily starts to climb and has been laid with stone steps, which are better than mud. The path flattens out after a while and follows a ridge before climbing again sharply onto the summit plateau of Ingleborough itself. The trig point and shelter itself is easy enough to see.

4. In poor weather it is easy to leave the plateau in the wrong direction. If needed from the trig point use a bearing of 070’ until the ground starts to steepen, then follow a bearing of 100’.

5. From the summit plateau, retrace your steps to where the ground starts to go steeply down and follow the path east heading towards Horton-in-Ribblesdale. This drops slowly towards the valley. After crossing a wall the path runs alongside a wall on the left.

6. After passing a ruined cottage, cross a wall and then bear right to follow a faint path through limestone rock. This then joins a good grassy track which you turn right along. There are a few alternative paths but they all meet at a gate. Go through the gate and continue down through a grassy field to the start of a walled lane.

7. Follow this stone track, passing some woods to reach a junction. Turn right to descend back to Clapham through some tunnels for some well-deserved refreshment.

Fact file

Location: Yorkshire Dales National Park

Start: Clapham

Parking: National park car park, £2.50 up to two hours, £4.50 for more than two hours, £5 for 24 hours. Public toilets

Distance: Eight miles, strenuous

Terrain: Tracks, moorland and stone steps, some scrambling

Refreshments: Plenty in Clapham

Gates: Easy

Livestock: Beware of sheep all year round

OS Map: Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales