Yorkshire 3 Peaks (31.07.2010)

Written by hmsv1 (Hannah Vickers) GSM

Ascents Ingleborough (724m) 31.07.2010
Pen-y-ghent (694m) 31.07.2010
Whernside (736m) 31.07.2010

After much talking and emailing with my friend Sue we decided to meet somewhere other than the Lake District for some walking. I'm not sure how we wended up deciding on this route now, but for some reason it had an appeal which we could not resist. So the plan was made. I drove up from Leicester and Sue came down from Dumfries, and we both met up at the youth hostel in Ingleton on a very rainy Friday evening. Initially we would have been in a dormitory sharing a full dormitory with about 6 other women but we decided on a rather cunning plan to bag one of the smaller and empty 2-bed dorms by talking and smiling very sweetly to the guy at the hostel reception. Our excuse was that we were getting up very early the next morning and of course did not want to disturb other guests, so could we perhaps move to another one of the empty dormitories by ourselves?? Well, the idea worked because we got it, and had a very pleasant and quiet night of sleep in preparation for the long route the next day!
It's about a half hour drive from Ingleton to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, which is where the route starts. Most walkers 'clock in' at the Pen-y-Ghent cafe to record the time of completing the challenge, and we were no exception! The weather was not very pleasant though, so we were not actually in much of a hurry to start up the first hill. It was wet and windy, but surprisingly loved by so many people! I was quite literally astounded at the sheer number of walkers who had gotten themselves out in the murky weather to do the route - I was under the impression that we might have some tricky route finding to do, but with so many people out walking there was no need for a map. We were pretty much following a train of people the whole day!
Pen-y-Ghent was completed in about 1 hour, and from there its a mix of grass and bog to reach the road. Then its a case of walking on tarmac all the way to the viaduct, where there was a large congregation of people eating lunch beside the river. We stopped long enough for a drink and some lunch, because by the time you get here it's about halfway distance out of the 25 mile circuit. From there the sun looked like it might peek out to give us a glimpse of the surrounding hills, and for about half an hour, we had the joy of walking in no drizzle, but the summit of Whernside was spent in more wind and rain unfortunately. So there was no lingering around there either to take in the views of Yorkshire's moors. A steep path down took us back to the road again, and by this time, the end was in sight; the final hill of the day, Ingleborough was firmly in our minds, and another 400m climb over interesting rock and a steep pull up beside a gully got us up to the final goal. This summit was no more interesting than the previous two, but at least it was only windy by the time we got there. No rain until we made our way down. In total, by the time we'd dragged ourselves back into Horton-in-Ribblesdale, done the 1500 or 1600m of ascent and 25 miles of walking, it was about 9.5 hours later than we'd started. I thought that was pretty respectable since we'd stopped for a few breaks and carried a lot more in our rucksacks than we'd needed! Though I don't think the views are particularly spectacular - even if it is a sunny day - I would still go back and re-do the route. It would be nice challenge just to better our time in nicer weather!

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