My original plan for this weekend was to spend a couple of days in Langdale in the Lake District and summit 4 of the peaks in the area (Scafell, Great End, Great Gable and Bowfell), but the weather over the weekend put pay to those plans, and I decided to ascent Ingleborough via the tourist route from Ingleton and return via Twistleton Scar and the return leg of the waterfall walk.
After a very quick journey of just over an hour from Halifax to just south of the town, I packed up and set off on the ½ mile walk into Ingleton, passing the viaduct above the convergence of the River Twiss and Doe. Even here you could tell the rivers were both at a very high level. Passing through town, I headed up the road to Ribblehead and Hawes until the walled track to the hill appeared on the right.
The route for most of the way to the summit is very simple, following a walled track for the 3 miles before the steep ascent of the hill itself starts at about 450m for just over a mile gaining 260m to the summit. Just before joining this track, I bumped into a guy called Bob a semi retired capenter from Northern Ireland, who was on a walking holiday for 10 days travelling all over Englands’ northern national parks. It turned out that he had the same route planned as me, so we decided to walk the day together.
The section of this walk along the walled track, it fairly uneventful walking wise, but has some great scenery which changes as you gain height and distance. Thankfully most of the water has drained away, but there was some path wide puddles to negotiate en-route. Passing the end of the track, a solitary house resided on the left, complete with a TV aerial mounted into the White Scar crags to the side of the house.
At this point the hill started to get steeper, as we approached the foot of the hill, to the right views of the Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside ridge and summit opened up, and to the left views toward the A65 and the extent of the flooding of the fields became a lot clearer.
We reached the start of the steepest part of the hill and the cloud base dropped to about 550m and the only rain shower of the day hit us. Changing into wet weather gear, we then slowly weaved our way up the side of Ingleborough in a final push to the top in increasingly heavy winds. Hitting the plateau just below the actual top, the rain stopped, but the visiblity remained as poor and the wind as biting.
In a few minutes we were at the top, and after a minute or so of looking for the trig point in the fog, we touched base and took cover in the “compass” shaped shelter. Taking in some lunch after 2:45 hours of walking, we then took a bearing to the path which would take us towards Ribblehead before taking a left down the hill to the limestone scars and Chapel en Dale. Just as we were about to leave the cloud lifted and now not only could be see where we were going, but it meant I could get some summit photos as well, and gave some great views of the other two “three peaks”.
We headed down the steep scramble down off the summit, but somehow missed the fork to the left and started on the path to Horton in Ribblesdale. After a couple of hundred metres we realised our mistake and traversed across to the correct side of the ridge via a barbed wire dry stone wall. However this mistake also meant we missed the path down to Chapel en Dale, as we would discover after a kilometre of walking along the North West ridge of South House Moor Top.
Looking at the map and checking the GPS, we realised to get to our target we needed to follow a dry stone wall down the steep (33-45 degrees), to just above the limestone pavements, this took a little bit of time as we were going over steep, sometimes boggy ground, and this was not the time to go over on my ankle! We then carried on following this wall to the north until we got to the deep, wall surrounded pot hole of Great Douk Cave. As we moved round this feature, we took the path between 2 limestone pavements, and then joined the path to Chapel en Dale which we should have joined at the top of the hill. It had took just over an 75 mniutes to get the car park on the Ingleton - Ribblehead road.
At this point we stopped for a nice pint at the Hill Top Inn, grabbed some more food and a chat, and then did a 500m stint on the road before turning right on the road past St Marys Church, before swinging a right past Hurtle Pot and Jungle Pot and heading up the track to Ellerbeck for just over a kilometre, when we got to the farm, we headed south west up onto Scales Moor over some easy walking, with occasional boggy sections. It was a couple of kilometres and an hours walking before we met the join with the ridge to Whernside, which I had walked to the summit a few years ago in winter, and was a scenic, but seemingly very long walk.
We then walked the section over to the end of Twistleton Scar, over a strange kind of surface, it seemed to be heavily mossed and grassed up limestone pavements, with little lumps in any direction you look. We headed toward the pass on the horizon of the hill and it was another 40 minutes before we reached it and started the descent down the scar, gently at first, with a few scrambles down the rocks, then more steeply towards the track from which joins the Rivers Twiss and Doe parts of the waterfall walk.
At this point is was getting a bit warm so we removed the wet weather gear, which had only been used to trap heat in the winds since leaving the peak of Ingleborough, and took the track south east across the road to the track past Beezleys, and onto the River Doe path down past the waterfalls and back towards Ingleton. This runs for just over a mile and was spectacular after the recent heavy rains. A combination of high drops and narrow twisty canyons makes this a great finish to a walk.
The waterfalls eventually give way to the flattened valley, and you head past the old working of an old quarry (my guess), you are then just 10 minutes from town, and the end is in sight. We hit town and went for another pint before we swapped details and I headed back to the car and the drive home in the train that is the A65 at tea time on a sunday.
13.5 miles, 6.5 hours of walking, 2 nice pints and good banter all the way, what more can you ask for,