This would be a completely new experience for me as I had never walked in the Yorkshire Dales National Park before, generally only passing through on the way to the Lake District or to Scotland. But, true to the 14 in 2014 objective of climbing peaks I’d never climbed before and visiting areas I’d never visited before, Ingleborough was certainly a peak to include.
As the second highest point in Yorkshire, Ingleborough forms a part of the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge with its neighbours Pen y Ghent and Whernside. Studying the map around Ingleborough it’s easy to notice the area is littered with potholes and limestone scars, the former being related partly to the permeability of the latter.
I left our home in Derbyshire early in the morning with our terrier Pike for the 3 hour drive to our start point Ingleton. It was chilly, cloudy and breezy as we set off through the village and up the track towards the open moor. The track is a rough stoney track hemmed in by drystone walls leading to the fantastically remote Crina Bottom Farm.
The track becomes an easy to follow path from the farm across the open moor, steepening steadily with the approach to the peak. Occasionally the path in the distance is masked by the heather and you can be forgiven for feeling intimidated by the shape of the mountain suggesting a steep and direct ascent. However, I recalled the wisdom of my friend Nigel Gifford as we approached the Baranco Wall on Kilimanjaro in 2005 and knew there was unlikely to be anything to worry about.
The nearer you get the more you realise the reasons for the summit being an Iron Age Hill Fort, and for the Romans probably also using it for similar purposes. Not only does the summit command impressive views all around including across the lowlands and out to Morecambe Bay, but you climb three large steep banks that could easily be defensive iron age earthworks.
The summit itself is a large open plateaux with the only major features being a summit cairn, trig point and a shelter. Pike and I hunkered down in the shelter for a bite to eat and a drink as the wind had strengthened through the morning and was buffeting anything on top.
As we made our way off the plateaux back towards Ingleton, the first few steps were made very difficult as the wind was whipping and gusting over the edge into our faces, blowing us back onto the top. But soon we were back on the safety of the path.
As we got further down the wind began to ease, the clouds burned off and sun finally came out and Ingleton became a warm and delightful place to return to.