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Yorkshire Dales Walk
Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham

Nat Park - Yorkshire Dales - Three Peaks Country

County/Area - North Yorkshire

Author - Stephen Starkey

Length - 13.0 miles / 21.1 km    Ascent - 2540 feet / 770 metres

Time - 9 hours 0 minutes    Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference SD746692
Lat 54.118034 // Long -2.390077
Postcode LA2 8EA (approx. location only)
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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Photo from the walk - Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Photo from the walk - Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Photo from the walk - Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Photo from the walk - Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Photo from the walk - Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham
Click thumbnails for larger images.

A circular Yorkshire Dales walk that takes in a number of the main attractions to the South of Ingleborough - one of Yorkshire's Three Peaks. There are options included in the route description which allow you to shorten the walk if required.

Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham Gaping Gill, Ingleborough & Norber From Clapham 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

The walk starts from the National Park car park in the village of Clapham (Grid ref SD745692) and heads N through the village on either of the roads alongside Clapham Beck. With the church on the right, follow the road around to the left. Very shortly you come to a sign on the right pointing the way to the Clapham Nature Trail walk. For a small admission charge (£1 per adult in 2017) you could follow the path through the woodland. Alternatively, going 100m or so further along the road, a waymarked bridleway leads off to the right. This is a tarmac surface in places that eventually leads to a farm However, along the way there is a very awkward wall stile to negotiate, comprising 4 wooden beams through a dry stone wall. The beams are loose and widely spaced. Immediately after passing through the farm, the path drops down to the right to meet the Nature Trail path. Following the Nature Trail path saves approx. 30m of ascent / descent.

A short way further North along the riverside path is the entrance to Ingleborough Cave. Continuing further North along a very pleasant valley path, climbing gently along the way, you soon arrive at the spectacular Trow Gill - a steep sided valley popular with climbers. The climb out of Trow Gill is rocky but easy in the dry, though after prolonged rain it can be slippery.

The path ahead from Trow Gill is clear and makes for easy walking through very pleasant Dales Limestone scenery. The next highlight of the route is the entrance to Gaping Gill, with a series of picturesque, gentle waterfalls just before the stream tumbles over 100m in to the Gaping Gill cave system, eventually emerging at Ingleborough Cave. There are two periods each year where local pot-holing clubs set up an A frame across Gaping Gill and operate a winch chair to allow members of the public to descend in to the spectacular main chambers of the cave system !

A gravelled path leads from Gaping Gill back to the main Ingleborough path where the next objective is Little Ingleborough. The path is obvious but the ascent is quite steep in places. The views back across Gaping Gill to Pen-y-ghent provide a good excuse for a rest during the ascent.

Once at the top of Little Ingleborough, the path ahead looks level but it does actually descend very slightly. At the bottom of the descent, there are two options available. The majority continue ahead on the obvious path that leads on to the summit plateau to the East of Ingleborough's true summit. However I feel it is worth leaving the main path at this point to pick up a faint track heading West. The track is not always obvious on the ground and is easily confused with a variety of sheep trods. As a general guide, pick a route above the edge of the steep drop but staying below the rocks / scree. With superb views over Ingleton, follow round until intercepting the main path from Ingleton to Ingleborough then turn right for the final ascent to the summit of Ingleborough. This is traditionally the last of the summits on the classic Yorkshire Three Peaks walk. The others (Pen-y-ghent to the South East and Whernside to the North) are both clearly visible from the summit. A short wander North from the summit will also reveal spectacular views of the engineering marvel of Batty Moss Viaduct - more commonly known as Ribblehead Viaduct.

From the summit head in an Easterly direction to where the Three Peaks path joins from the left. Do not cross the wall but continue along the right hand side of the wall to the unmarked summit of Simon's Fell. A public path is on the left of the wall but there is no other crossing point further along Simon's Fell. From the summit of Simon's Fell, turn right (East) to the wall junction next to the small limestone pavement of Lords Scar, then right again alongside the wall to descend back to the main Three Peaks path from Ingleborough back towards Horton-In-Ribblesdale. Obviously the loop around Simon's Fell and Lords Seat could be omitted in favour of following the main path all the way but I think the loop is worth it if only for very different perspective of Ingleborough.

The main Ingleborough to Horton path is then followed as it descends gently through typical Dales limestone scenery until the distinctive 4 finger waymarker post at a junction of grassy paths at Sulber. At the waymarker turn right (signposted to Clapham) and follow the grassy bridleway, passing more limestone pavements and climbing gently again. As you head along the bridleway, keep an eye open for new stone built plinths with "No vehicle access" road signs. At the second of these, identified as Long Scar on the OS 1:25k maps, take the wide grass path forking to the left and follow this as it meanders down hill.

Just as the farmhouse at Crummack comes in to view and a bridleway joins from the left at grid ref SD770716, a faint grass path leads off to the right. Take this path, which soon becomes fairly clear for a while as it climbs with a fence on the left. Once the fence gives way to a dry stone wall, the 'paths' are sheep trods that gradually lead you off course if followed too far. Following them does make for easier going but bear in mind at all times that you need to be handrailing the wall. Eventually you will arrive at a stile over the wall (Grid ref. SD766-702).

When atop the stile, take the time to locate a prominent cairn to the South. You need to head to this cairn - a footpath is marked on the OS map but there are numerous paths visible on the ground that you need to keep the cairn as a visual reference. It is worth having a wander around this area though to look at some of the amazing rock formations, known as the Norber Erratics.

When in the vicinity of the cairn, looking to the South you will see the entrance to a rocky gully. Descend through the gully to a 4 finger post. Turn left and head for the path visible between a wall and the rock outcrops. Very soon, after a short ascent, there is a stone step stile built in to the wall on the right. Cross the wall and follow the path around Nappa Scars. Continue ahead to descend towards a minor road.

On reaching the minor road, Crummack Lane, cross the road and follow the waymarked footpath on the far side to descend through pasture to the small footbridge across the beck (Norber Sike), then climb gently across the fields until emerging on to a walled bridleway marked as Thwaite Lane on the maps. Turn right along this lane, soon crossing Crummack Lane again, and continue to follow for some way until Long Lane joins from the right.

Continue ahead at this point but be aware that the path now starts to descend quite steeply and the cobble stones can be very slippery when wet. The path also passes through some unlit tunnels where visibility isn't great whilst the eyes try and adapt. After emerging from the tunnels, follow the path round to the right alongside Clapham Church then turning left along the road leads back to the car park.

A shorter alternative route would be to continue ahead at Long Scar, leading on to Long Lane and then the junction at which Thwaite Lane joins from the left. However, this omits the amazing Norber Erratics and the picturesque Nappa Scar.

Other walks nearby

Walk 1248 Trow Gill, Ingleborough & Long Scar from Clapham - moderate - 9.5 miles/15.4 km

Walk 3599 Clapham, Oxenber Woods, Feizor & Settle - easy/mod - 7.5 miles/12.2 km

Walk 3094 Norber & Norber Erractics from Clapham - easy/mod - 6.3 miles/10.2 km

Walk 1251 The Norber Erratics & Sulber Gate - moderate - 8.0 miles/13 km

Walk 2620 Sulber Gate & Crummack Dale from Austwick - moderate - 9.5 miles/15.4 km

Walk 3091 Ingleton Waterfalls Walk from Ingleton - easy - 4.3 miles/7 km

Walk 1121 Pen-y-ghent & Plover Hill from Horton in Ribblesdale - moderate - 9.0 miles/14.6 km

Walk 1013 Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom - moderate - 6.5 miles/10.6 km

Walk 1500 Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar - moderate - 6.8 miles/11 km

Walk 3433 Pen-y-ghent, Whernside & Ingleborough from Horton - very hard - 24.5 miles/39.8 km

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