Striding across the bleak upper Ribblesdale moorland is the single most dramatic man-made sight in this wild corner of the Dales. Built in a mere four years (1870–1874) by imported labourers, who lived in shanty towns by the track, the 440-yard-long Ribblehead Viaduct is the longest such crossing on the Settle–Carlisle Railway, with the line carried over 24 massive arches, a hundred feet above the ground, before disappearing into the Blea Moor Tunnel. It's a majestic sight, as thrilling from the train as on foot – walkers heading up Whernside, one of Yorkshire's "Three Peaks", follow a track close to the viaduct and it's worth the slight detour to stand underneath one of the mighty arches and marvel at the Victorian engineering. It's only a short walk down from Ribblehead station to the viaduct. There's also parking by the road, a few hundred yards from the viaduct, and usually a tea-and-snack van here too, as well as the nearby Station Inn for drinks and meals. You'll almost certainly welcome a visit to one or the other – a chill wind blows up here even on the best days and in winter it can be downright hostile in this exposed moorland terrain.
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