I imagine that, should you be asked to think of the mountainous areas of Britain, your immediate thoughts would turn to the Lake District, the Peak District and areas of Wales and Scotland. But did you realise we have mountains in Yorkshire too?

Indeed, following the huge success of 2014’s Le Grand Depart (for anyone who missed it, this was the staging of the first part of the Tour de France – where were you??) and the consequent races of the Tour de Yorkshire, the world’s top cyclists were led to remark, “you don’t see the mountains in Yorkshire, but you feel them – testament to the fact that the roads up these inclines don’t contour but ascend via a long drag.

It’s also testament to some of our large craggy hills that the first Englishman to conquer the world’s 14 highest peaks was a Yorkshireman, Alan Hinkes, who cut his climbing teeth on our famous Matterhorn of the North (not, technically, a mountain), Roseberry Topping an outlier from the chain of Cleveland Hills on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, and the wonderful Kilnsey Crag in Wharfedale, in our fantastic Yorkshire Dales National Park. Pass this spectacular outcrop at any time and you’re almost guaranteed to see avid thrill junkies clambering up its sides.

The hills in the Dales increase in height gradually from east to west, with the highest and most distinctive in shape to be found in our famous Three Peaks: Whernside is the highest at 2415 ft, followed by flat-topped Ingleborough at 2372 ft and then Penyghent, with its outline like a crouching lion, which comes in at 2277 ft.

The great valleys of the Yorkshire Dales, Wensleydale, Swaledale, Dentdale, Ribblesdale, Wharfedale and Nidderdale have many attractive features. Rivers rise on the great moorland ridges which separate the valleys from one another. The copious rainfall which occurs in these hills produces mountain torrents which, in a number of places, tumble over rocky escarpments, creating magnificent waterfalls, like Hardraw Force and Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale, (made famous by Kevin Costner as Robin Hood).

The hills of the Yorkshire Dales are primarily limestone with a millstone grit capping. The Yorkshire Dales have a more open aspect than the Lake District with its soaring peaks. It is a country of spectacular vistas laid out on a grand scale. Come and judge for yourself!

Article supplied by Chris Redman Yorkshire Blue Badge Guide – https://yorkshiresbestguides.co.uk/project/chris-redman/