THIS is a Dales classic. Brilliant for all: whether families with children of all ages, or groups of friends on holiday, the climb of Pen y Ghent is deservedly one of the most popular climbs around.

Start off at the car park in Horton in Ribblesdale and walk along the road towards the church, past the famous 3 Peaks café.

At the church, follow a faint path to the left and cross the river at a wooden bridge. Join a lane past the old primary school (a sad reflection of the challenges that the area faces in attracting young families) and through the trees to the wonderfully named farm of Bracken Bottom.

Pass through a small gate next to the farm and join the good path that climbs gradually towards Pen y Ghent. The outline of Pen y Ghent during the climb is dramatic; a ring of cliffs making the final descent looking almost impossible.

However the climb towards the cliffs is pleasant, the views opening up towards Ingleborough in the west and the broad valley of Ribblesdale below. The climb changes though as you pass through a gate on the dry stone wall on the shoulder of the mountain. Turn left and the path steepens, become rocky and provides some minor scrambling as it heads towards the summit. It is not the best place for those with a touch of vertigo! The climb emerges dramatically on to the summit plateau of the mountain and suddenly the previous tough climb is all forgotten. A final ½ mile along the plateau brings you to the trig point and seat at the summit of Pen y Ghent.

There is a choice of route at the summit of Pen y Ghent. Either head along the broad ridge (following the line of the wall) for over one mile to Plover Hill, thus adding a second ‘Dales30’ mountain or take the obvious path on the far side of the wall which heads north west. A word here about the wonderful job the Friends of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks are doing in repairing some of the worst sections of the path. A recent job was done just below the summit of Pen y Ghent and makes for a much pleasanter ascent than previous. To find out more about their work visit the National Park website.

The descent of Pen y Ghent back to Horton initially follows the route of the 3 Peaks challenge. After the repaired stairway the path skirts the flanks of Pen y Ghent before turning west and dropping directly down the hill. At its foot and where there is a big choice of paths it is worth taking the short detour to Hull Pot, a dramatic pot hole forged from the limestone bedrock. It is an extraordinary place. Return to the main path but instead of following the 3 Peaks trail west cross through a gate and follow a track that will head south for 1½ miles back to the village of Horton and a pleasant cup of tea.

Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 5.5 miles (extra 1.5 miles to Plover Hill)

Height to Climb: 500m (1,640 feet)

Start: SD 808726. There is a large car park near the bridge in the centre of Horton

Difficulty: Medium/Hard. On footpaths and good tracks but a tricky climb with minor scrambling near the summit.

Refreshments: There are 2 pubs in Horton and the famous 3 Peaks café.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales:

•Jonathan has written a book, the “Dales 30” which describes the highest mountains in the Dales (including Pen y Ghent and Plover Hill)

•He also runs 1 Day Navigation Courses for Beginners and Intermediates

•Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill Weekend in October

To find out more details on any of the above and details of the 100s of walks in the Yorkshire Dales & Moors visit his popular website, https://where2walk.