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At 736m (2,415ft), the highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks is the least popular among walkers perhaps because of its less iconic profile and the long ascent. The fine views down Dentdale and Kingsdale and across to Morecambe Bay are worth the climb though.
The name probably comes from the use of Millstone Grit to make quern stones for grinding corn in the distant past. Like the other two peaks, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent, Whernside has a cap of this tough stone. The rounded 'whale-back' shape of Whernside is a result of land slippage which has masked the stepped layers of rock underneath. A landslide scour on the north-east slope was the site of one of the last glaciers in the Yorkshire Dales. The natural bowl trapped snow and the build-up of ice scoured the bowl out further. When the ice finally melted, the boggy area called Greensett Moss with its small tarn was left behind.