Aug 06 2011

Walk 34: Sponsored Yorkshire Three Peaks – Beaky

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
You can still sponsor us – by clicking here


The story of…. Beaky, a Three Peak veteran

The day had finally arrived! Sponsors had been sought, and now was time to do the hard yards over the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge. After monitoring weather forecasts all week, it would appear we were due some rain during the day, but as Ramblo, my Dad and I arrived at the car park in Horton-in-Ribblesdale just before 7am, the conditions seemed pleasant and bright enough, and we could see the top of Pen-y-ghent, which is always a bonus!

Kinder and the troops soon arrived in the minibus and everyone donned their walking gear, and choffed on various energy-producing foods prior to the set off.

We waited on the last few to arrive, and headed for the cafe to register our clocking out times. The bulk of the group, after the obligatory team photos, were away at 7.33, as we headed out of the village en route to attack Pen-y-ghent.

The great thing about Pen-y-ghent, especially on a clear day, is that you can always see the top en route up there, unlike some other peaks with various hidden and/or false summits, and as such, I strode off positively up the open fields.

The weather remained pleasant, not too warm to make walking uncomfortable (although it was still pre-8am), but the one thing that struck me, was there was no wind whatsoever. I found this strange as Pen-y-ghent, the windy hill, always had at least a breeze to accompany walking up it!

I had initially, half-jokingly stated I wanted to complete the walk in time to be in the pub for the Southampton-Leeds game, kicking off on Sky Sports at 5.20pm, however Chopper was also keen on the idea, so this became a serious target to aim for. As such, Chopper, DJ Shadow, Tony, Chris Duffy and David H all kept up a good pace, as we reached the pennine way route for the left turn up the steep scrambly section.

We had a little breather before we set off again up this steeper climb. This section is always quite taxing, but we were through it in no time, and were soon in sight of the trig as the peak plateaued out. Already there were numerous walkers surrounding the trig, so after a couple of quick photos, we were off on our way down from peak one.

Tony and DJ Shadow certainly seemed to enjoy the downhill section and were off and away, and as I caught up with them, we were fast approaching the boggy sections. Now on our dry (wet!) run six weeks previous, the boggy section were very…well boggy! However, due to a relatively dry few days/weeks, this was totally different, and could be crossed quite easily, provided due care was taken. I got one boot it at one stage, but not over the top of the boot, so I didnt have to carry round a smelly foot all day…

We continued to eat up the miles, and for the first time on the walk, around 10am, raindrops appeared and waterproof jackets were donned. It was nothing too heavy though and was quite refreshing in all honesty.

Chopper and David H caught us up and in no time we had completed the short road section, and were greeted by our support team of Tony B and Leanne, parked up near the Ribblehead Viaduct. All of this before 11am, we had made good time. As we were being fed and watered the heavens opened properly for the first time, and we decided it would be more beneficial to be walking in this weather than to be stood around waiting.

We therefore set off, minus DJ Shadow, who having polished off his hotdog, was now queueing for a burger from one of the roadside vendors! After polishing this off too, he decided to run to catch us up, however he then suffered the inevitable stitch.

After the long walk adjacent to the railway lines at the foot of Whernside, we then made the left turn and began to head up the highest peak in Yorkshire. Chopper, David H and myself made excellent progress, and had seemed in no time to have gained considerable height, and despite the worst conditions of the day, the clouds were still high considering, and the top of Whernside could still be seen. This always makes things much better in my eyes, in that you can see what you are trying to achieve.

In addition to the heavy rain, we then encountered a brief thunderstorm, and it was strange to see lightning almost at eye level as opposed to overhead. The storm soon passed, and the rain eased off too, just in time as we reached peak two for the day, Whernside, the highest point in Yorkshire.

Again after a couple of quick snaps, we soon headed off down the other side, and as things were still quite clear, we could make out the viaduct once more down below in Ribblehead. No sooner had this been spotted, we were then treated to the sight and sounds of a steam train in all its glory crossing the viaduct. Now I’m no train spotter, but this was a wonderful sight.

This took our minds off of the impending steep descent, upon which we had to take good care of where to put our feet, due to the now dampness underfoot. This section, from previous experience, is also hard on the knees, due in no small part to years of playing football! As such, I had pre-empted this by taking a couple of industrial strength paracetamols, and they seemed to do the trick, as any pain was minimal and a mere inconvenience.

We had been told at checkpoint 1, that due to the Hawes-Ingleton road being dug up in Chapel-le-Dale, it may be a problem getting the minibus parked there, but as we approached checkpoint 2, this hadn’t been an issue, and we were once more greeted by the support team, in addition to my mum, sister and niece, who had now turned up to offer us there wellwishes and support.

Again, no sooner had we stopped, then the heavier rains came down again. By this time Tony had kicked on and caught us up, so the four of us were now ready to tackle the final peak, Ingleborough. We could see its very distinctive flat top continually being covered then uncovered by cloud. We could only hope that once we were up top, that this cloud would be gone.

The walking, due to the miles already chalked up, was now becoming quite tough, but Chopper christened us the Peloton, as we each took up the walking in turn, with the others in tow. Stops were few and far between until we reached the foot of the steep section, not far from the top.

Last time out, this small but steep section didn’t bother me, however today, I could feel my calves burning as we strode up. A couple of breathers were in order on my way up this particular bit, but again, with lots of encouragement between us, we reconvened at the top of this section.

From here, I knew although there was still a bit of ascent still to be gained, we had broken the back of this part of the walk. We therefore soon reached the flat top of Ingleborough, and all strode out to the trig at the far end. As we approached, the solitary cloud came back in and enveloped the top, and thus, we couldn’t take in any of the wonderful views you get from here on a clear day.

It mattered not though, we had reached our third peak of the day, and although we were feeling it a bit, the sense of achievement was very apparent.

We just had the small matter of 5 miles to walk back into Horton!

Coming down from Ingleborough, Chopper slipped on a wet slab underfoot, and fell with a thud onto his back. He got up fine, but it served us all a warning that despite our ascending done for the day, we still had to watch our foot placement. Tony was quick to offer his sympathy, followed by quipping “did you know you’re covered in shit?” It made us all chuckle.

The walk back can seem to drag, but having experienced the walk before, I was prepared for it, and wasn’t disappointed that Horton wasn’t just around the next corner.

We crossed the limestone sections, past the 2 and 1 mile fingerposts, and were soon in sight of the Crown Inn on the horizon. This gave us all an extra step, and before no time, we were over the railway lines and back in the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The four of us then clocked back in at the cafe, at 4.42pm, we had done the 3 peaks challenge in 9 hours and 9 minutes. I can tell you now, I will never achieve that again!!

We changed into our dry clothes, and headed off for a quick pint in the Crown Inn, only to discover there was no Sky Sports after all. When we found out the result later on, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise!

After a swifty, I decided to get back outside to encourage all our other walkers as they one by one completed the challenge.

Everyone was back by 7.15pm, which all things considered, is absolutely fantastic. I was extremely proud of everyone who had taken part, all of the walkers and the supporters, as we had raised a good amount of money for 5 worthy charities!

Just the one hour drive home then for that glass of something cold…and well deserved…



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