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Pen-y-ghent

  • Smallest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
  • Height: 694m (2,277 feet).
  • Name may mean 'Hill on the border' or 'Hill of the Border country' (Celtic) or 'Hill of the winds' (Welsh).
  • In times past it was the haunt of red deer.
  • The first recorded ascent as part of Three Peaks challenge was done in July 1887 by Giggleswick School masters Canon JR Wynne-Edwards and DR Smith.

One of the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks, Pen-y-Ghent's stepped, domed outline dominates the surrounding landscape and has led people to describe it as being like a crouching lion or shaped like the prow of a boat.

The summit ridge divides streams flowing east to the North Sea from those that flow west into the Irish Sea and is at the end of a whaleback ridge that includes nearby Plover Hill (680m).

The steep southern side with its great rakes is a grit stone cap resting on a band of limestone. The rakes, which are clearly visible, were formed in 1881 after a tremendous thunderstorm washed away the top soil leaving the Millstone Grit and limestone exposed. The grit stone layer continues to Plover Hill.

There are several routes up to the triangulation pillar on the grassy summit, the main ones starting from Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Silverdale on the Pennine Way;  Helwith Bridge; Brackenbottom and Foxup.

It is worth stopping off on the way up from Horton-in-Ribblesdale to see Hunt Pot and Hull Pot. The latter is 300 feet long, 60 feet wide and 60 feet deep and is reputed to be the single largest hole in England.

Remains of a Neolithic chambered tomb can be seen at Round Barrow within the shadow of Pen-y-Ghent, known as Giant's Graves. The Scheduled Monument is off the Stainforth to Halton Gill road near Pen-y-ghent House.

Views from the summit include Fountains Fell, Pen-y-ghent Fell, Ingleborough, Whernside, Simon Fell above Moughton Scars, Pendle Hill and even Morecambe Bay.

We have created a really useful smartphone app for people wanting to visit the Three Peaks area, find the links for downloading it from your app store here. The app costs £1.99 and all the profit goes towards helping maintain the path network in the area.

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