I’ve always enjoyed walking and being outside. It gives you the feeling of complete freedom without any restrictions – just your own space. So, with that in mind I thought, what better way to make the most of the great outdoors than to take part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Dementia UK?
Taking place in the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, the challenge includes three peaks (as the name suggests), which amount to a total of 25 miles in distance, beginning to end.
• Ingleborough (723 metres)
• Pen-y–ghent (691 metres)
• Whernside (728 metres)
This was a timed challenge and had to be completed within 12 hours. We were led by knowledgeable mountain leaders and split into small groups of 7-8 people. My group kept to a good pace and we completed the challenge in 11 hours and 10 minutes.
The day started off at 7am. The weather was very misty and damp but I had all the gear I needed.
When we set off I was wearing my waterproof trousers - Dry Roamers. These are very comfortable and light, with a few pockets for stashing a few personal belongings. I wore a wicking vest as my base layer, very soft next to the skin and chafe-free. I teamed this up with a Microgrid Stowaway Zip fleece jacket on top for added warmth without the bulkiness of other types of fleeces. Then, to complete my layering ensemble, I wore the waterproof Rohan Elite - totally waterproof but extremely light and thin (the equivalent would be the Helix in today’s range). With the Microgrid Stowaway fleece underneath I was as warm as toast!
I find the most important thing to have when walking or trekking is comfortable footwear. Sore feet ruin everything. Boots should support your ankles and be waterproof with room for feet to expand – because they will expand! You also need a decent pair of technical socks which provide adequate comfort and cushioning in the right places, whilst letting your feet breathe.
Unfortunately, there were no views to be seen from Ingleborough Peak as it was too misty to see anything. Near the top, the path got quite narrow and steep, so you really had to watch your step.
Once the first peak had been ascended, it was time for me to make a couple of clothing changes. Off came the hat and Microgrid fleece. My rucksack was lightweight to carry and large enough to for my additional layers, spare socks, gloves, scarf, as well as food and drink to last the whole day.
The next peak to ascend was Pen-y-ghent. I found this to be the toughest peak of all. It was the shortest, but highest peak out of the three - and the rockiest too! We were practically climbing up the last bit. My legs felt like a dead weight, but thankfully it was then easy walking from Pen-y-ghent to Whernside Peak. Though it was a long way (somebody said 10 miles) and felt like it would never end, the ascent up Whernside Peak was very gradual. It was also the highest peak of the three, and we ended up in the clouds where it was very cold.
The descent from Whernside dropped quite sharply at the end and it was quite hard stone underfoot. It’s hard to say where the best views were, most of the time you had to keep an eye on where you were putting your feet. I wouldn’t recommend the walk for dogs as there were some parts where you had to go over vertical stone walls using wooden slats, and the walls were too high for dogs to jump over.
It was a great day out and would I do it all over again? Absolutely.
It’s only when I look back at the photos that I realise what I have actually achieved. Maybe the next one will be the National Three Peaks…
Val’s (Rohan Head Office), reminiscent guest blog on her Three Peaks Challenge.