The Yorkshire Three Peaks were successfully completed this weekend in an almost continuous deluge from the skies. This made walking and sometimes even moving quite difficult. But everyone completed the challenge in good humour and we were all very relieved when the sun did eventually make an appearance as we neared the finish. This meant that our planned BBQ went ahead and we could all celebrate our achievement in the dry.
Mountain Hikes had planned this as a day event only, so everyone chose their own accommodation and then travelled to the start at Ribblehead viaduct for 7:30 am. We had also kitted out our car as a support vehicle so we could all leave spare clothes, food and water in the car and collect food and drink and change as we hiked around. It also meant we could be supplied with hot drinks, which were very much needed at each break.
We gathered at Ribblehead viaduct for the start in the rain.
Which was appropriate as the rain pretty much then continued for the rest of the day.
The most common place to start the Yorkshire three peaks is at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, however there was a huge group from a big corporate aiming to start from Horton at around the same time. So we switched our start to Ribblehead viaduct instead. This worked really well as it meant we avoided the crowds all day, didn’t get held up and sometimes had the summit to ourselves.
We were aiming for a 10.5 hour schedule which then gave a bit of contingency for tired and slower legs towards the end. The aim of the challenge is to complete the hike in under 12 hours.
Right on schedule we summited our first peak of Whernside.
And after a quick snack and adding any extra layers and gloves, we headed off and back down the steep descent from the summit.
Our next stop was at Chapel-le-Dale where Yen from Mountain Hikes was waiting for us with hot tea and coffee, plus snacks.
The summit of Ingleborough starts off very comfortably across some rolling countryside, before crossing a very boggy area. On Saturday it was more than boggy and had become a waterfall.
The trail then climbs very steeply, to a large and open rocky summit, where the wind and rain thoroughly lashed at us.
It is then a long decent and hike over open moorland to our next scheduled stop at Horton. This area was really showing the effects of the heavy rain and rivers were overflowing, it was very boggy and really difficult walking.
We stopped at Horton and met up again with Yen from Mountain Hikes, with the support car. We downed more tea and coffee, plus Yen’s homemade fruit cake, then set off again for the final summit of the day on our three peaks challenge.
It is another steep climb up to the summit of Pen-y-Ghent, but a huge relief to reach the top, still on schedule.
The decent from Pen-y-Ghent is quite steep at first, then becomes more rolling. It is then a long final hike back to our start at Ribblehead. But by now the rain has finally stopped and the sun is even making an appearance.
We all make it to the finish in just over 11.5 hours which given the atrocious weather we had to suffer, is a fantastic achievement that everyone should be very proud of. It would have been so easy to bail out at any of the breaks with the support car, but despite tired legs and being soaked to the skin the whole group successfully completed the challenge.
Now it was time for the BBQ as everyone was pretty hungry and ready for food. Yen of Mountain Hikes had set this up for us, for when we finished, so piping hot sausages and burgers were ready and waiting.
In so many ways a quite unforgettable day, finished off in the best possible way.
And another huge congratulations to all of those who joined us.