The Three Peaks Of Yorkshire Challenge 10th June 2006
By Steve Rudd
'Good morning gentlemen - rise and shine!' As I slowly came to my senses I couldn't
help but glance at my watch. I'd been warned the previous night that we would be
woken up at 4:15am sharp, and barely a second later.
Unfortunately, that really was the case, and as exhausted as I was, there
was a mammoth 25 mile walk ahead...
It's a shame that I'd only managed to get a couple of hours sleep, but nothing
could be done about that now as the tent myself and four other 'walkers' had
slept in began to be deconstructed with a vengeance in anticipation of setting off for 5am.
Here we were, in the middle of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, ready to set off
on the infamous Three Peaks of Yorkshire challenge (which is not to be confused
with the National Three Peaks Challenge).
I'd been roped into doing this by a work colleague's boyfriend, but I wasn't
complaining about the prospect; in fact, I love this kind of blister-inducing
challenge, being the veteran of numerous long-distance hikes around the UK that I am.
So, with the tent down, we were bound for the first peak of the three - Pen-Y-Ghent.
We got to the summit cairn for around 6am, and while the weather forecast
promised a fine day, it looked to be raining in the distance with the dark
clouds drifting our way.
Naturally, we hurriedly headed onwards, aiming for the highest Yorkshire
peak of all: Whernside. The final climb up this one almost finished a number of
our party off, but the group remained intact and ready for the assault on the
final peak in Ingleborough, before the long trudge back down to the tiny village
where we'd started from, Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
The 25-mile circular walk is a hugely well-known trek through some of the
best scenery in the Dales, and many people undertake such a challenge in
aid of charity. Some people even run it, with the record time for the
circuit standing at less than three hours.
Alright, the early morning start might be off-putting (if you choose to
set off as early as we did, that is), but at least if you keep up a
reasonable pace you should be finished by mid-afternoon and potentially
in the pub by somewhere around 3 o' clock like we were (our official time
once we'd clocked-in at the café was 9 hours 58 minutes), by which time
your feet will be glad of the rest as much as your thirst will be gagging
for the liquid nourishment.
Fortunately, the weather did do itself proud for us, remaining humid and
dry all day which helped keep spirits buoyant.
If it had rained, the experience would have undoubtedly been far less
pleasurable, but when all's said and done, the Three Peaks Challenge of
Yorkshire deserves to be done regardless of the weather.
And once you've done it once, it's highly likely that you'll want to do it
again and again in order to try and better your time. As mad as that might sound!
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