Yorkshire three peaks

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Ingleborough as seen from the summit of Whernside

The mountains of Whernside (736 m), Ingleborough (723 m) and Pen-y-ghent (694 m) are collectively known as the (Yorkshire) Three Peaks. The peaks, which form part of the Pennine range, encircle the head of the valley of the River Ribble, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the North of England.

Geologically, the three peaks are composed mostly of limestone and millstone grit. These occur in alternating layers, which give Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent a distinctive, stepped appearance. Ingleborough has some impressive areas of limestone pavement, and is riddled with a network of caves and potholes which attracts cavers from all over the country. It is home to England's highest waterfall - at Gaping Gill, the Fell Beck drops 110 metres vertically down a pothole, into Britain's largest known underground cavern. The beck re-emerges further down the mountain at Ingleborough Cave, where visitors can take a guided tour of a floodlit part of the cave system. Whernside, being more rounded, is visually less imposing than its neighbours, but its summit is the highest point in Yorkshire.

The area is also rich in historical interest. The summit of Ingleborough has the remains of a huge iron age hill fort, while the Settle-Carlisle Railway runs between the mountains, crossing the Ribblehead Viaduct at the foot of Whernside.

The village of Horton in Ribblesdale is the starting point for the classic Three Peaks Challenge. Walkers aim to complete a gruelling 37.5km circuit of the peaks and return to Horton within 12 hours. Those who succeed become eligible for membership of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club. The Pennine Way also visits Horton and crosses the summit of Pen-y-ghent. The Ribble Way follows the River Ribble from its source near the foot of Whernside to its mouth near Preston.


The Three Peaks were featured on the TV programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of Yorkshire.

External links

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Pen-y-ghent
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Whernside
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Ingleborough as seen from the Whernside trig point
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