Last weekend I am very happy to say that I conquered the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.
The challenge is to walk the Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in 12 hours. We started at Horton-in-Ribblesdale 8.10am and arrived back at 7.40pm – 11 hours 30 minutes will do me! I tell you, that hot chocolate at the Pen-Y-Ghent café while we waited for our lift home was the best tasting drink I’ve had in years!
Our route took us 27 miles in total, thanks to a detour we chose to take to miss out the worst of the boggy marshland on the way across to Ribblehead from Pen-Y-Ghent. We still trudged through yukky swamp-like marshland which came over the top of my boots (and seeped down my socks, nice!), but the decision to take an extra couple of miles or so was worth it based on the stories we heard from walkers who didn’t do that.
Apart from the marshland the path was pretty ok. There was some climbing involved for sure, hands were required both on the way up Pen-Y-Ghent and Ingleborough, and even knees at some points because I’ve only got short legs. Other paths were also rocky, including the way down Whernside which was more like a giant staircase at one point which was very hard going on the calf muscles! But the path was generally well trodden and obvious, and it was simply a case of left foot, right foot, repeat.
Each of the three peaks had it’s own character. Pen-Y-Ghent started easy, with a sneaky climb to get to the summit, before a gentle decent and that marshy bog. Whernside was a very gentle up which seemed to last for ever, a ridge with some stunning views, and a very gentle down with a nasty staircase. Ingleborough is a quick up including a proper climb, and a lovely fast (because we knew we were close to the finish) six mile walk down.
During the day I dined on snickers, finger of fudge, nature valley chewy bars and gorp (good old raisins and peanuts), along with sips of lucozade light and water. Oh and jelly babies, of course. We had a “support vehicle” which meant I got two little cups of tea during the day too – a real luxury when on a day hike. Oh and it also meant I could change my socks which made a whole load of difference, like putting new feet on! We met them twice and so stopped for half an hour each time which was just enough time to have a bit of a rest but not get achy.
There were hundreds of people also doing the walk that day – apparently it’s normally like that. I wonder how many people who started actually finished within 12 hours? I hope the vast majority did – many people use the challenge to raise money for charity. Others, like me, just do it for the views at the top of the peaks and to prove to myself I can. Thankfully it was a pretty clear day so the views across the peaks were stunning. And my body did manage it, and it felt good. Well actually it hurt, but it felt fantastic at the same time.
There are plenty of websites giving information about the challenge, route, peaks etc so I’ll just share some of the snaps I took – all on my iPhone (I travelled light!) so not great quality. Sorry about that!