Where is it? Horton in Ribblesdale
In which area of outstanding natural beauty? The Yorkshire Dales
How tall is it? 2,278 feet (approx)
Pen y Ghent is one of those mountains that makes you just stop and appreciate it for all its glory. It’s a stunning erm well you could say peak but it doesn’t have one. I refuse to get draw into the Marylin, Hewitt, Munro, Nutall mindset of labelling everything, what’s the point? Pen y Ghent is a really great looking spectacle in a region that does very well for natural geo-art, (Ingleborough, lots of pot holes and countless caves and shakeholes). Of course it is one of the “Three Peaks of Yorshire” (I’ll add my own article on that when the site is nearer to completion) and the lowest one at that, but I think that it’s a simply wonderful hill to climb.
On an hazy summer day when the sky is blue and clouds are white, you can pretty much forget about climbing this for the sake of the summit views – there aren’t any worthy of merit, chances are you’ll be sat next to the vast drystone wall that runs for the entire length of the summit (and probably beyond) and the only view that you’ll get is the same one that you witnessed on the way up – if you came up the ‘hard way’ – from the south. That’s not why people climb Pen y Ghent, they climb it ‘cos it’s there and it looks like a bit of a challenge – and because it’s one of the “Three Peaks” ticked off”! Personally, I had wanted to climb this particular mountain for almost twenty years since I was drawn to the name on a map!
The ascent from the south -“Brackenbottom”; is not a walk in the park (or at least figuratively it isn’t), there are a number of scramble sections before you get to the foot of the mountain and the going in one or two of the fields is kind of heavy, even in summer!
Persevere – it’s really worth it! At one section, just as the climb is about to really take off, you will probably notice that you have now been joined by another type of walker, the “Pennine Way Walker”, as the Pennine way passes over the mountain and down off the west side. You’ll notice the look in the eyes of the Pennine Way walker as by now he or she will be in the ninety plus miles part of their route if they started from Edale and their one hundred and seventy something if they set off from the other place in Scotland! Near elation or near suicidal, there are no other extremities of the Pennine Way walker at this stage of their epic journey!
Yet another cautionary word: Some “Three Peakers” are at this stage in something of an hurry – I saw one of them descending Pen-y-ghent at a pace which seemed to me to be much too quick and I was proved right as he came within a hair’s breath of falling down the side of the mountain. If you want to kill yourself on this mountain then that’s your decision but to put others at risk of you falling on them from a great height is nothing more than dangerously selfish in this author’s opinion!
Like its neighbours Pen-y-ghent has on its flanks some interesting natural oddities to gaze at: there are two noted sink holes, pot holes and some caves as well as stretches of limestone for which this entire area is well known.