Outdoor Adventures

Wharfedale Three Peaks Yorkshire Dales challenge walk

With Mark Reid FRGS – author of ‘The Inn Way’ & Mountain Leader

Birks Fell – Buckden Pike – Great Whernside
34 km (21 miles) – 1,200 metres of ascent – 11 hours

The Wharfedale Three Peaks Challenge is a new hill-walking challenge that takes in the summits of Birks Fell (610m), Buckden Pike (702m) and Great Whernside (704m), the three mighty fells that enclose Upper Wharfedale.

Mark Reid knows Upper Wharfedale like the back of his hand and will guide you around this route (whilst sharing his knowledge of the area), so that you can forget about navigation and enjoy the fantastic views and wonderful landscapes instead. It is a demanding walk that must be approached with preparation and training, but it is also an extremely rewarding walk that will be remembered for many years, for the views and landscapes along the way are simply breath-taking, from stunning valleys to wild moors and lonely fells.

Wharfedale Three Peaks

The Wharfedale Three Peaks is a 34-km (34 mile) route with 1,200m of climbing that will take around 11 hours to complete. The routes takes in the three fells that surround Upper Wharfedale including…

  1. Birks Fell (610m)
  2. Buckden Pike (702m)
  3. Great Whernside (704m)

From Kettlewell the route starts with a steep climb up limestone scars onto Old Cote Moor, from where we gradually climb up along the top of this broad moorland ridge between Wharfedale and Littondale to reach Birks Fell, just beyond beautiful Birks Tarn. From Birks Fell, we continue along the top of the moorland ridge (boggy in places) to reach Horse Head Pass, which we follow down into Langstrothdale, as the upper reaches of Wharfedale are known, and the picturesque hamlet of Yockenthwaite. We then follow a lovely path across limestone pavements and flower meadows, with wonderful views, to reach the hamlet of Cray, famed for its waterfalls (refreshments). A steady climb then takes us to the summit of Buckden Pike, and marvellous views for miles around. A long and gradual descent now across heather moorland, passing the Polish WWII Memorial, takes us to the moorland ‘pass’ between Wharfedale and Coverdale known as Great Hunters Sleets, with its Iron Age defensive ditch and monastic road. A short sharp climb now ensues up onto the broad and rocky plateau of Great Whernside, with far-reaching vistas across the southern Yorkshire Dales. From Great Whernside, our route drops down to Hag Dyke (Scout Hut and highest chapel in England) beyond which are stunning views across the ravine of Dowber Gill Beck as we head back into Kettlewell.

This guided walk is designed for solo or small groups of walkers who want to take on the Wharfedale Three Peaks challenge walk, but don’t want to worry about route finding.

wharfedale three peaks Yorkshire Dales

  • Fully guided walk with Mark Reid (Mountain Leader)
  • Experience the camaraderie of walking a challenge route with other like-minded walkers
  • Discover the history, heritage, flora and fauna of Wharfedale
  • Share your sense of achievement with your fellow walkers
  • Small group sizes – maximum 8 people per walk
  • You are GUARANTEED not to get lost on our guided walk!


7:45am: Meet at Kettlewell, Wharfedale
8am – 7pm: Guided walk around the Wharfedale Three Peaks challenge
7pm: Debrief back at Kettlewell, then head home

NB: All distances, heights and timings are approximate

Guided Wharfedale Three Peaks challenge walk | TeamWalking




This includes:

  • Full details of what to wear, bring and expect along the walk
  • Guided walk around the Wharfedale Three Peaks challenge, with Mark Reid
  • Completers' Certificate
  • TeamWalking Loyalty Reward scheme
NB: Please provide a packed lunch, lots of snack food and plenty of water for this walk, as well as a good pair of walking boots. Please see the Walk Overview for full details of what to wear, bring and general advice.