Aug 06 2011

Walk 34: Sponsored Yorkshire Three Peaks – Sir Edmund

Hull Pot Beck

route: pen-y-ghent, whernside and ingleborough from horton-in-ribblesdale
6th August 2011
distance: 23.4 miles
ascent: 5,227 feet
time: Various – see below
walkers: Ben, Chris, Cleo, Dave, Dave H, Graham, Jane, Janet, John, Kate, Katie, Lucy, Matt H,
Matt S, Marc, Mark, Sandra, Shalini, Simon, Stav & Tony


The story of…. Sir Edmund the Organiser

The day had finally arrived, and after nearly six months of waiting the Rambling Badgers sponsored walk was about to take place. I was up shortly after 4.30am and got ready and forced a bit of brekkie down before I jumped in the car to pick a couple of other people up. At the same time Sherpa G-String was making his way towards my house in the mini bus and was collecting a couple of people along the way. By 5.40am the bus would have nine people on board and we would be en-route to Horton via Shipley where we would collect three more walkers before completing our journey. The planning for a charity walk like this is something I enjoy all though I do tend to be a bit authoritarian in my approach as I feel it needs to be that way. I don’t threaten people with the firing squad or anything as bad as that but I do try to stress how one person not replying to an email can cause a butterfly effect. In the build up to the big day everybody had been great and we had the right amount of transport (courtesy of Totality), plenty of food (thanks to Legal365.com) and the right number of support staff, all we needed now was to get the walk underway. Wu Tang went round and got everybody’s details to post through the cafe letterbox in order to make the walk “official” and we were just about ready.

A few people still hadn’t arrived, but being the dictator I am, we stuck to the 7.30am depart time and after taking a team shot, we made our way through Horton, then round to Brackenbottom before the climb of Pen y ghent began. I was unsure how the day would go as over half of the walkers hadn’t done the walk before and most of those hadn’t really been out walking before so anything could or would happen. There was a group of four who were moving too fast for me to keep up but I flitted round the other walkers and chatted as making sure everything was ok with them. In all honesty this was about the only point in the day where I expected the answer to be yes, from here on no doubt somebody would be aching, stuck in bog, wet, cold, tired, blistered or have something else bothering them, but as I had been responsible for everyone being here I felt like I had to check up on the “newbies”.

Everything seemed to be going well though as we got the lower slopes out of the way and made our way towards the steeper part of the climb. The walkers who weren’t there as we started began only five minutes after the main group and I could see them just behind me. I slowly eased my pace and let those I was walking with slowly move away from me as those behind slowly caught up. We exchanged pleasantries and had a chat for a couple of minutes before I eased once again to allow the few people behind me to catch up. My intention was to find myself with the back markers and to walk with whoever that was at any given time and to encourage them along.

As we reached the upper slopes of Pen y ghent I walked with Ben, Janet & Shalini and we completed the little scramble at the top before the headed towards the trig as I stayed looking down over the edge waiting for Sherpa G-String and Stav to appear into view. They soon did and I made my way to the trig and waited for them there. Ben, Janet & Shalini were still there and we had a quick natter before they set off for Ribblehead closely followed by Cleo. I hung around at the trig and after ten minutes or so was joined by G and Stav.

The three of us set off but we were already a good twenty minutes behind the group just in front and probably forty minutes behind those in front. To be totally honest that didn’t bother me as while I understand the desire to clock a fast time it isn’t the be all and end all, to complete is more important and to stay safe is paramount. If I could play a small part in helping someone then I was happy to do so and along with my trusty sidekick we made our way down over off the summit of Pyg and over the rolling fields as we paused from time to time to allow Stav to catch up. Upon reaching the boggy section myself and G plotted our path through and had begun to stride away from it when we heard a cry and turned to find that we hadn’t been the best chaperones in the world!

Before we could get back to help two guys pulled Stav out and she walked up to us laughing about the whole thing. When we reached the next boggy area she just waded through claiming she was already covered so why try to avoid it. Finally we made it away from the bog and continued with the common theme of me and G finding a gate, stile, wall or something then waiting for Stav to catch us, checking everything was ok before we carried on. The general reply was she was fine and was ok with the walk but couldn’t do it quicker and she said she felt guilty about holding us up. I have been there before so I know the feeling but I wasn’t bothered, my concern was getting to check point one then accessing the situation. At God’s bridge we walked towards a foul stench which turned out to be a dead sheep. It wasn’t pleasant and it took a while for my nostrils to clear as the smell turned my stomach. The heavens opened shortly before we crossed the flat wooden bridge that leads over the River Ribble and on went the water proofs. A short while after this the thunder and lightning started and the noise the thunder made was awesome as it rumbled all around the sky sometimes lasting what seemed like 30 seconds, the lightning on the other hand was a little scary as it was the first time I had been out walking in it. Stav had earlier confirmed she was stopping once we reached the mini bus and as we crossed the bridge G and I decided we would see how far behind the last people we were before deciding whether to push on or miss Whenrside out and help anyone over Ingleborough that needed some encouragement. We were trying to work out what was a reasonable time deficit to make up as we made our way through the farm, out on to the road and finally reached the viaduct and check point one to discover we were almost an hour behind the last ones to leave. Not only that but Kate, who had last been seen on the way up Pen y ghent had managed to get a text through saying she was near the top when she got vertigo and had to go back. We packed the stuff into the van and drove back to Horton to see if she was ok, checking in the cafe to see if she had returned there. We were out of luck and Cleo suggested driving towards Settle in the hope she would have a phone signal and another message would come through, no such luck. I then suggested (and should have done initially) that we check the two pubs in the village, sure enough she was safe and sound in the Golden Lion and we dropped Kate along with Cleo and Stav and the Crown to dry off and warm up as we headed to Chapel le Dale to set up for check point number 2.

As we parked the van up I was getting cold now I had stopped walking so I suggested to G that we walk towards the Three Peakers so we could pass our fellow walkers and check that those who were less experienced were ok after the thunder storm. We soon reach the leading group and in fact we had only just managed to get the van back in time for them to have some food and drink. Ten minutes later they would have arrived to find nobody waiting for them. We explained why we were walking towards the leading few as we did with everyone of our group we saw coming the other way. As we walked along side by side we chatted and joked at how we resembled police men on the beat and within a few strides we became PC Peak and PC Peak the peak police. It all seems a bit bizarre looking back, but at the time it made us laugh as we continued to walk towards Bruntscar. Our intention was to pick up the last walkers and turn with them walking the rest of the journey alongside them. After an hour or so everyone was accounted for apart from Lucy, so after a brief discussion G turned to catch the last few and go over Ingleborough making sure they found their way, as I continued up Whernside until I found Lucy. I then walked with her back to the van and my walking day was done. The support team packed the van up and we returned to Horton to await the arrival of those still going and one by one they came in, some looking fine, some looking a little worse for wear. I greeted everybody back (apart from the first four who completed in such a quick time they returned whilst I was in the pub) and congratulated them all on a fantastic job.

With everybody safe and sound we headed for the pub and a couple of drinks to round off the day. Everyone had done fantastically well and I was please that yet another of my sponsored walks had gone so smoothly. We had raised over £2,500 for charity too which isn’t bad at all. The only thing I had to work out now, was how long to leave it before I ask if they want to do it again next year?

Sir Edmund


Sir Edmund’s Route: Part 1 – Pen-y-Ghent Part 2 – Bruntscar

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