ALL the Yorkshire Three Peaks are in view at various times of the walk, Ingleborough and Whernside stand out particularly effectively. It may not be possible to climb them but this walk offers an excellent feel to the day.

Start the walk from High Birkwith Farm; to find the farm head north from Horton in Ribblesdale on a narrow dead end road between the two bridges at the Crown Inn. There is limited road side parking before arriving at the farm. Near the farm are two of the best caves for inexperienced cavers (Birkwith and Old Ing), they are known as stream caves and easy to explore although they do form part of a larger caving network accessible only by divers.

From the farm follow the bridleway north east and then north through sheep farming country. The Three Peaks route from Pen Y Ghent to Ribblehead crosses here but ignore it and carry on past the attractive packhorse Bridge over Ling Gill. This is part of the Pennine Way/Bridleway and in good condition, the views start to open up over Ingleborough and Whernside after a steady climb and probably at their best when the track meets the Cam High Road.

The Cam High Road is Roman in origin and used by Ceasar’s legions whilst heading north to Hadrian’s Wall. Today it is used by the Forestry Commission and as a result in excellent condition. Turn right at the Road and continue climbing steadily for 1 mile. At a height of over 500m take the path to the right which cuts through the corner of the large forestry plantation. Two stiles lead to Cam Houses which is worth exploring and taking some time to have lunch. The next mile is through tussocky country, not easy walking and towards Swarthgill Farm can be wet and awkward.

Swarthgill Farm and the nearby Nethergill Farm are the real heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Both are very remote but the farmers are making every effort to diversify. They offer accommodation for those on the Dales Way and Nethergill is an impressive conservation landscape, the farming practices encouraging a large array of wildlife and now a tourist attraction. Carry on past Nethergill to the small hamlet

of Outershaw.

From Outershaw a footpath heads south through the farm buildings and heading steeply uphill to a stile and in to the forest. From here the nature of the walk completely changes, the forest shutting out the views, weather and sounds of the previous 7 miles. For one mile the footpath winds its way through the forest to a quiet dead end road heading west. Follow the road for a further mile until High Green where the tarmac becomes a farm track, still in good condition.

After one mile of forestry walking it is with some relief when the track breaks out in to open countryside. After a further 500m the track splits, take the westerly fork and enjoy the views of Pen-y-Ghent to the south and the other Three Peaks to the west. The path drops down between two small hills to New Ings and join the outbound track to the start at High Birkwith Farm.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 14 miles

Height to Climb: 310m (1,030 feet)

Start: SD 800767. Near High Birkwith Farm on the road north from Horton.

Difficulty: Hard. A long day but across easy terrain

Refreshments: Horton In Ribblesdale has two pubs.

Be Prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors.