As we arrived at the the car park, Ingleborough dominated the area – it was the only snow covered peak around and it looked big and steep and hostile. Whernside, on the other hand rises steadily from the landscape, almost unnoticeable as it grows upwards to overshadow all other Yorkshire Peaks and announce its claim, at 2414 feet, to being the highest summit in the Dales.
Our route today didn't involve any steep hillside walking. It was more of a saunter up a very long slope - which suited me perfectly. (Considering my level of fitness, saunter isn't quite the word, but it'll do). The descent would be a bit steeper though, so we had our walking sticks with us just in case.
The weather was perfect - a dry day with loads of sun between the patchy cloud. But boy was it cold! Trust me, layers are the way to go, and it didn't take long to warm up once we'd set off to join the many other couples and groups all heading the same way.
Our route took us alongside Ribblehead Viaduct, past an old Signalman's cottage and up Blue Clay Ridge, (I like that name).
Here's my favourite picture of the day. Snow covered Ingleborough with the old Railway Signalman's house in the foreground. Sadly it looks like there are only a few rusting vehicles in residence to enjoy that view.
The last leg of the walk up takes you along Cable Rake Top Ridge. (My head is twisting the words and wants to say Cake Top. ........ Mmmmmmm Cake! But I digress.) The wind was on the ridge hard and absolutely bitter! We were relieved to reach the little walled shelters at the summit. At least there the tea remained hot in the cup, and gloves could come off long enough to eat a sandwich.
But the views from the summit were well worth the biting cold. The air was so clear that we could see the whole of the Lake District range to the North West, the Howgills to the North, and even Cross Fell, the highest point of the Pennines, could be made out North East To prove it, here's a photo where you can just see snow topped Scafell Pike and chums in the distance.
Our descent from Whernside summit was down the slope of Scar Top Pasture. It's reasonably steep, with a rocky path that demands attention all the way down. So no pictures until we got to the bottom - just wobbly legs. (Another symptom of our unfitnessness).
Last but not least, this plaque just in front of the viaduct. I think it depicts perfectly how modern technology has worked with the original Victorian architects and builders to restore the Viaduct to it's former glory (all at a cost of £3 million.)
As for the walk? Peter commented that he'd never managed to "do" Whernside in such good weather before. Not bad for February.
(You can read about a previous walk up HERE
All in all an excellent choice - 8 miles, 1590 ft of ascent and glorious views.
(And our wobbly legs had recovered by the time we got to the car.)