BB0727:  BOG OFF- Pen-y-Ghent & Whernside

Wednesday 5th September 2007

Our original objective was Great Gable but as various people made their apologies for not being able to join us, they added that they really would like to tackle Gable so could we hold it back?

When, to our surprise, even Bryan dropped out having found himself committed to dogsitting, that just left me and Jamie.  Fresh from our conquest of Ingleborough after the Hell in a Bucket episode (BB0725) we decided to add the other two Yorkshire big ones.

The weather forecast was for quite low cloud and mist and it dawned on me that this was the first time in at least two years that I had been out on the fells without at least one of our experts who have safely navigated us through some fairly thick clag at times.  The responsibility started to weigh heavy so, after consulting the map and AW, I spoke to Bryan for advice on the route.  His comforting words included the advice to make sure we missed the bog off Pen-y-Ghent else we would be in it up to our necks.  Hence the title, BOG OFF- not the conventional “buy one, get one for free”, though I suppose that is what we were also doing.  Nor the rather impolite comment that I might have made at one time had it been suggested we did two serious peaks in one day.

We needed to park at Horton in Ribblesdale.  I have not been there in years and was a little unsure of the best way to go so I invited Snockers to guide us (see DW06 for Jane Snocker’s CV).  All was fine till we got to Austwick.  She wanted us to go via Settle but I was certain there was a short cut across the moors.  I was confident that she would not take umbridge and would quickly recalculate the route.  Not so, she was persistently trying to get us to turn round and head off in the other direction, even as we entered the village.  Clearly something was very wrong.  

On closer inspection it turned out that there is another Horton near Skipton and poor girl had been trying to take us there.

Anyway, we had arrived at the proper Horton for our purpose so we paid our £3.20 for the car park (although it’s only £2 at the pub).

Residents of Horton-in-Ribblesdale must have access to every satellite channel known to man, judging by the size of the dish next to the car park.  

Either that or they are attempting to communicate with aliens.

Horton in Ribblesdale calling!

We set off back towards the church. As we did, we were passed by a man striding very purposefully with the pace and air of someone who knows his way around the three peaks and what should we do for afters? Remind you of anyone?

Horton-i-R Church masking Pen-y-Ghent

Pen-y-Ghent unmasked

Mr Strideyman did indeed seem as if he was heading up Pen-y-Ghent so we followed him at an increasing distance as we emerged from the village and set off up the hill, which fortunately was clag free.  We were starting to get into our own stride by now and managed to keep the gap roughly constant, as the climb got steeper.  And then, as it got steeper still, without a word, Jamie suddenly accelerated.  What was going on, I wondered?  Is he trying to break me?  Or has he inherited his father’s gene to seek to reel in those ahead of us?  I didn’t know whether to weep or cheer.  All I knew was that I was at the limit of what I was capable of today.  Maybe I was sickening for something or just showing my age but I was feeling physically sick- the sort of sick I used to get in cross-country at school.

Anyway, Jamie did reel in Mr Strideyman and various other folk on the way, who kindly also gave way to me perhaps thinking that I was his personal trainer monitoring his progress from some way behind but more likely taking pity on me or not wanting to be too close by if I expired.

Looking back to the quarry and Ingleborough

The last part of the climb up the nose of Pen-y-Ghent is quite steep and scrambling is essential at times.  Relief was at hand however at the summit shelter where we were immediately joined by Mr Strideyman.  We got chatting and it turned out he was actually Richard from York who was hoping to go on to do Whernside after Pen-y-Ghent but it depended on whether he was able to catch a suitable train from Horton to Ribblehead to give him time to do the hill and get back that night.  We offered him a Plan B.  We explained that we had a car at Horton and were planning on driving from there to Ribblehead and he was welcome to join us if he wished……..  

[Pause for sigh of disappointment from certain readers who thought we were going to walk all the way between the two peaks- don’t be daft!!!!]

Pen-y-Ghent team  picture

The Limestone Needle

Richard accepted our offer and joined us on our descent which was via the Pennine Way. This is so well marked that there is absolutely no likelihood off falling in the BOG OFF even though we did two detours, as recommended by AW- the first to view a needle of rock (sometimes I think he was rather too easily excited) and next to gaze down into Hull Pot which is a rather remarkable hole in the ground.

Looking back to Pen-y-Ghent

Hull Pot

We took Richard to Ribblehead where he offered to buy us a drink in the Station Inn. Normally after a walk like the one we had just done I would have gladly accepted but my mind was on what was ahead and I was too fearful of the effect it might have on me so, to his surprise, we declined the kind offer.  Richard went into the pub and we had our butties in the car, not really expecting to see him again.  The risk now was of nodding-off so we forced ourselves back out and onto the track alongside the Ribblehead Viaduct.

The view back past the viaduct to Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough

Unfortunately by this time clouds were starting to gather on the summit of Whernside. After a mile or so I was getting hot so I stopped to shed a layer and whom should we see in the near distance striding purposefully with renewed vigour but our new friend Richard who re-joined us.

Cloud forming on Whernside

The stepped stream

We passed the attractively engineered section of the stream with its pleasantly curved walls and stepped drops.  We crossed the railway and encounted some noble folk reparing the paths.

The Railway Tunnel mouth

Pathway repairs

Then we started the serious business up the hill when, blow me down, Jamie set off once again like Billy-Whizz.  It took all the know how gleaned from JPL to keep him reasonably under control - drink stops, photo stops, map consultations, getting the buff out etc. Eventually he got the message that an expired father might not be an easy thing to explain to his mother and completed the climb at a more leisurely pace.

Photo excuse for a breather

Whernside team  picture

At the summit we met an ex-Army officer who showed his army training by happily advising other ranks to go over the edge and take the Wainwright route down but for his own descent preferred to return the way he (and we) had come up.  Sensible man.  AW makes it sound easy- go to the fence and head down making a bee line for the viaduct.  If you can see it that is.  Actually we could, the clag wasn’t too bad.  But the descent was as steep as I am comfortable with- not exactly certain death but definitely a good scraping and mauling if you put a foot wrong.  This did not seem to deter either Richard or Jamie but on this stage of the expedition I was losing ground badly. 

Over the edge and straight to the viaduct

Posed as a newt?

Once the slope became easier I was able to put a spurt on and catch them up whereupon we found a reptile, presumably some kind of newt, hiding under a rock.

The viaduct memorial

Thereafter it was an uneventful but pleasant stroll back to the viaduct where there was a memorial that would have got Tony very excited- a monument linking the work of the original bridge builders and the repairers over a century later.  

Seemingly it took longer for modern day man to repair the viaduct thant it had taken to build it.

However I suspect the 20th century foreman was not able to call upon 7,000 labourers living in a shanty town on the fell.

After the viaduct it was a brief walk to the Station Inn.  This time, when Richard offered, we did not refuse the re-proffered drink.

The return to Ribblehead Viaduct

Oh, and if anyone invites me to do the three peaks in one day without car transport- you know my answer.  


Not because of the distance involved, you understand.  

But because it would take me even longer to write up the report than this did!

Don, 5th September 2007


Distance: Pen-y-Ghent  6.7 miles Whernside  7.1 miles  (Harveys / Anquet)
Total 13.8 miles

Height climbed: Pen-y-Ghent  1,673 feet, Whernside 1,627 feet (Harveys / Anquet)
Total 3,300 feet

Wainwrights:  Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside (Walks in Limestone Country)

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fell Book Waiwrights see: Wainwrights.

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!



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Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large picture.



Bryan has kindly produced a log of which Wainwrights have been done by which Bootboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of Bootboys.  

To download the Excel file click on Wainwrights.  

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!


BOOT boys

This page describes a 2007 adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as often as possible!

As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.

As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an item of footwear but is in memory of Big Josie, the erstwhile landlady of the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day 1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!

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