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Way back in time before the onset of adulthood I enjoyed countless days heading into the hills of Yorkshire with nothing more than a squashed sandwich & youthful sense for adventure! Despite long past youthful and work commitments keeping me in the city, the sense of adventure and love for the outdoors never left me. After digging my boots out and returning to the hills I attended a number of courses to improve my hill knowledge and skill base, during one of these courses it was suggested I join the Mountain Leader Training scheme and was delighted go on to gain the MOUNTAIN LEADER Award in April 2012. As well as spending time on the hills and mountains of the UK I have also enjoyed trips to the Nepalese Himalaya, Swiss & French Alps, Mallorca’s Tramuntana, Andorran & French Pyrenees, Morocco’s High Atlas, Tanzania’s Mt Meru & Kilimanjaro, Argentinian & Chilean Patagonia and winter expeditions to Norway’s Hardangervidda. Since gaining the ML I have also gained the SINGLE PITCH AWARD, INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD and the WINTER MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD. I am now enjoying working in a freelance role whilst trying to get out climbing as much as possible.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Yorkshire Day Yorkshire 3 Peaks for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

 Ey up! As everybody knows August 1st each year is Yorkshire Day when Yorkshire folk celebrate all that makes 'God's Own County' great. This year I helped a group made up of staff from a number of Leeds bars display the famous Yorkshire folk's generosity by walking the route of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

 The 'Charity Fundraising Deam Team' was (in alphabetical order of bar and no particular order of individual ability or level of suffering!)  - Johnny & Rosita (Distrikt)/ Alan (Lounge)/ Sam (Mojo)/ Kash (Sandinista)/ Si & Harry (Sandinista & Smokestack)/ Andy & Jeff (Wax Bar) & myself (Lounge/Sandinista/Sela/Smokestack & Wax!).

N.B  I am aware that the Yorkshire 3 Peaks was the subject of a previous Blog but thought as this is a description of a group challenge it was worth spending the (not insignificant due to my keyboard skills!) time relaying the story of the day to anyone interested.
Leaving Pen y ghent on the long walk to Whernside.
  Leaving Leeds at 06:00hrs we made the 45mile trip along the A65 to Horton In Ribblesdale to begin the route at 08:00hrs. We started the route eventually at 08:30hrs after the usual messing about getting ready and last minute toilet requirements!
 A typical Yorkshire summer day saw us enjoying low cloud, strong winds and a high chance of rain! We made our way along the road to Brackenbottom before making the turn to head up the incline towards Pen-y-ghent where after 5 to minutes a few faces started to look a bit concerned at what lay ahead! Making quite good time we made the summit point of Pen y ghent 1hr 15min after setting out where the strong Southerly wind assisted us display the White Rose flag!
On the shoulder of Pen y ghent.
"Ey up, 'appy Yorkshire Day tha nos!"


   Taking a detour from the conventional route we descended following the 'Pennine Way' towards Horton-In-Ribblesdale before taking the alternative '3 Peaks Challenge' route that is to be opened in 2013, this enabled us to miss the dreaded boggy section  where it has been known for things to get sucked off - usually just boots or trainers by the mud unfortunately!
 Low cloud hid the view across to Whernside which wasn't a bad thing as we were now a couple of hours in and walking thru the first consistently wet, muddy ground which found a couple of pairs of footwear less than waterproof and with most of the group being '3 Peaks virgins' in the realization of possibly another 9-10hrs to finish the route!!
Descending Pen y ghent on the Pennine Way (still enthusiastic!)
Kash measuring the distance by one smoke a mile!
Could of used a rubber dinghy over them rapids!


 Taking a 10minute lunch break at the road junction at 'Ribblehead Viaduct' allowed a couple of the group who had been enjoying a more leisurely pace(?) to stroll in to find most of the group having a bite to eat, whilst Si nearly pulled his hair out when failing to buy a cup of well earned tea as the guy in the tea van was over run with orders for 2 bacon sandwiches at the time - multi tasking hasn't yet reached the Yorkshire Dales!
 The long steadily rising route to the summit point of Whernside saw the group spread out as some of the team started to feel a few aches & pains in the old joints whilst others went thru troughs in energy levels.
   Up to this point we had been lucky escaping the heavy showers that had been forecast but could see dark clouds on the horizon!
Settle to Carlisle line with Ingleborough on the horizon.
Crossing the aqueduct on the steady long climb up to Whernside.
Approaching the half way point of the route on the way up Whernside
Dark clouds are gathering over Whernside!
2 down and 1 to go sheltering from the wind on Whernside.

 Leaving the summit along the 'whaleback' shaped Whernside until the path to 'Philpin Farm' and on towards 'Ingleborough' turned, we could see the heavy dark skies moving in. As we carefully made our way down the steeply descending, knee burning, rough stone steps the heavens opened soaking us to the skin within seconds and turned the path into a slippery mess.
 The rain continued to pour down which had a notable negative effect on team moral. On reaching the road that runs in the valley between Whernside & Ingleborough I decided to give a bit of a 'pep' talk and gave everyone the option of packing it in and calling a taxi to return to Horton In Ribblesdale, funnily enough everyone wanted to go on and complete the route. I'd like to think it was my moral boosting speech that inspired everyone to go on and nothing to do with the £40+ cost of a taxi or the potential persecution from the rest of the team for not completing the route!

 Those who had completed the route before knew full well what was in store as we made our way to Ingleborough and I received a few 'doubtful' looks when I described the route as a steadily rising path with a bit of a 'steep bit', I may of slightly understated the 'steep bit'!
 As we made our way towards what is nicknamed 'the Devils Staircase' the rain started to ease and the cloud lifted revealing the path in front of us, I thought I heard one or two profanities muttered though it could of been the wind?
Clouds still hide Ingleborough as Rosita models the full waterproofs look.
There's a 'bit of a hill' lurking in them clouds!
Kash decides to dance his way up?
  Taking a break at the foot of the 'Devils Staircase' to have some food and water we watched as Andy & Jeff headed up the steeply rising stairs alike 2 horny school boys trying to impress a girl on a school trip! The rest of us set off at more leisurely pace as the monsoon started to draw to a welcome close with the summit of Ingleborough and our final peak a very welcome sight.
Andy & Jeff head up the 'Devils Staircase'.
On ward and upward!
The rain has stopped but there is still a bit of a 'breeze' as Andy flies the White Rose.

  Now all that was left was the little matter of the 5.5mile walk back down to Horton In Ribblesdale to complete the circuit. This section is personally by far my least favorite due the fatigue on already aching limbs and sore feet, as well has having to pick your way carefully thru the slippery limestone section and muddy patches waiting to take your feet from under you.
 On the positive side the weather had definitely turned for the better with the cloud lifting sun breaking thru to give views across to Pen y ghent over the finish line!
Pen y ghent in the distance as the team cross the limestone pavement.
Sam & myself + blisters stride on.
A quick break in on the famous Yorkshire Limestone pavement.
Alan takes in the view across Ribblesdale to Pen y ghent.
Home stretch.
Kash, Alan & Sam make their way along the final mile.

  Back in Horton In Ribblesdale approx 11hrs after setting out it was a welcome change into dry clothes and foot wear and for some a much needed visit to the toilet facilities.
 We then decided a celebratory drink at the local pub was in order where we had a chat and a laugh about the day whilst the landlord seemed not comprehend the idea that to make money you need customers in as he sighed and stomped about whenever somebody approached the bar!
The 'dream team' full of smiles on completion of the 25mile charity fundraiser.
A very broken man!
 Up to date the group has managed to raise over £3000 for the Yorkshire Ambulance with more still to be added to this total. Despite the somewhat damp period of the afternoon everyone completed the route in good spirits and with good banter - same time next year.....?

                                                www.justgiving.com/YorkshireDay















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