Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge – How Long Does It Take


The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge

Known for many things including; The Bronte Sisters, Yorkshire puddings, arguably the best tea in the world and more importantly for us the Yorkshire 3 Peaks.

A gruelling 26 mile circular route taking in the 3 highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales all with the aim of completing it within 12 hours.

Whichever way you look at this challenge it is a beast of a day and more importantly an awesome day out!

You can expect your day to start early and at some times of the year before the sun rises.

The traditional starting point at the Pen-y-ghent Café where, you could once clock in at the and out at the start/end to register your time sits in the picturesque Yorkshire village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

From here you will start the ascent of the first peak, Pen-y-ghent and finish the last some 10-12 hours later.

If you are feeling particularly fresh on the day you come to take on the challenge you could look to target the record time of 2 hours and 46 minutes but most settle for a good few hours more.

The route

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks is circular so unlike the National 3 Peaks requires no driving.

You will walk the 26 mile route over the 3 Peaks starting with Pen-y-ghent, then onto Whernside and finally finishing with Ingleborough.

It doesn’t stop just there though, after reaching the summit of Ingleborough you still have a few more miles to reach the end point in Horton-in-Ribblesdale where you started some time earlier that day.

Although the peaks themselves are not huge in height they collectively form a big ascent, descent and added to the distance make for a quality day on the hill.

The first peak – Pen-y-ghent (694m)

Pen-y-ghent is arguably the most exciting of the 3 as it rises quickly out of the village, heads over limestone exposed fields and eventually ends with a short scramble to reach the summit.

A steep descent and then over lots of fields and managed paths heading towards the Ribblehead viaduct.

The second peak – Whernside (763m)

At the viaduct, Whernside, the highest of the 3 mountains has a long drawn out summit.

You start the walk alongside incredible viaduct and handrail the famous Settle to Carlisle railway line before crossing it and starting the main ascent of the mountain.

The ascent is simply a long walk to the summit path but the views back to Pen-y-ghent are amazing on a good day.

There isn’t really a summit as such but a triangulation pillar marck the highest point.

Whernside Summit at 763m

The third peak – Ingleborough (723m)

Ingleborough is the last in the line before your final descent.

The ever changing route along the challenge now takes you across the boardwalks before a short sharp ascent onto the rocky plateau.

he summit can be found at the far end of the plateau and the views reach out toward the Lake District and the West coast of England. At the right time of day it’s simply breath taking.

With whatever energy you have left it’s time to start the descent back to Horton-in-Ribblesdale to complete your challenge.

The path down is gentle working its way through the limestone pavement and often cattle filled farmer’s fields before crossing the railway to the finish line.

Ingleborough at 723m

Training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks

You will want to have done some training for this event.

Most people have never walked for sustained long periods of time and finding out on the day that you’re not quite ready for what Yorkshire has to offer would be a shame.

Some long distance walks in particular before you take on the challenge are a real must as a 26 mile walk on uneven possibly wet, uneven and often slippy terrain can be tough if you are not used to it.

Walking, cycling and even swimming are good ways to improve your fitness for events like this.

Be prepared for all weather conditions on the Yorkshire Three Peaks

The weather

One has to remember this is Yorkshire and to be prepared for literally every season in 1 day and a mixture of terrain from picking your way through the limestone pavement to scrambling up the side of a rocky mountain.

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks has something for everyone whatever your preferred terrain and weather.

In addition on a good day, the mountains give ever changing views as far as the west coast, the Howgills and the Lake District.

A particular special time of day is the sun setting out to the west whilst reaching the final summit of Ingleborough.

Ben Nevis - The National 3 Peaks

So which one is for you? The National 3 Peaks or the Yorkshire 3 Peaks?

Well that’s not a simple question really as they are both two very different challenges.

Yes the National 3 Peaks includes bigger mountains with greater ascents but the collective time spent on the mountains can be in fact not much longer than the time spent walking the Yorkshire 3 Peaks.

People often try to compare the two events but the simple answer is they are different.

A potential 12 hours of constant walking verses 5 hours then a big break and then another 4 hours followed by another break etc.

The transport element of the National also takes its toll on people after a quick ascent of Ben Nevis for example.

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks throws an incredible amount of walking at you in one go whereas the National 3 Peaks gives sleep deprivation, mountains in the dead of night and long bus journeys.

Book the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Trek with Mountaineerin

  • Yorkshire 3 Peaks – For more information about the Yorkshire Three Peaks visit our trip page. Bookings on request, please contact us to discuss your requirements.
  • National Three Peaks – We are running several ‘open challenges’ through the year which means you can join a group. For private or corporate group trips please contact us.

Happy Trekking!


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t: 01925 812928
e: simon@mountaineerin.com
Abacus House
450 Warrington Road


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1 Day / 12 Hours / 25 miles!
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