As anyone reading my blog reports of previous Yorkshire 3 Peaks outings may of guessed it is my favorite long distance UK day route and I have the greatest respect for anybody undertaking the 38km & 1500m of ascent (23.5miles & 4950ft in old money!) that is required to make the complete circuit.
|Heading off Pen-y-Ghent for the long walk to Whernside.|
Setting off from the 'Old Hill Inn' at Chapel-le-Dale we made our way to Ingleborough, which would be our first of the 3 peaks, as I chatted to members of the group about the day ahead and their individual reasons for wishing to complete the route. I made it clear that my priority was to help everyone complete the route safely rather than in a race against the clock, and as we reached the foot of the 'Devils Staircase' it was obvious from the look on some of the teams faces my reasoning for setting a 'steady' pace had become clearer!
|Approaching the 'Devils Stair Case'.|
|Ingleborough - 1 down, 2 to go!|
|Crossing the famous Yorkshire Dales limestone.|
Skies were clear and it was beginning to warm up, "It's always like this in the Yorkshire Dales" I informed team 6. I did get the impression some were not totally convinced however.
|Bright skies over Pen y Ghent.|
|The steep climb to the summit of Pen y Ghent can't beat team 6!|
Still together as a full group I was pleased to see everyone in good spirits and encouraging each other as we set out on the just less than second half of the route.
Members of 2 fellow '3 Peaker' groups joined us as we reached the B6479 and began walking on the edge of the foot blister inducing tarmac road towards the arches of 'Ribblehead Viaduct'. We must of resembled an overgrown school outing snaking along in single file to the oncoming traffic.
|Group meeting at Ribblehead Viaduct.|
|2 down 1 to go says Hugh, or its a one man peace protest?|
The rigours of the challenge started to make an appearance on the long ascent of Whernside (it's not everyday most people embark on a 12hr, 23mile hill walk!) with blisters, sore joints and fatigued muscles causing problems for people from various groups within the event. One of our group was now battling bravely on despite a knee problem and I had stopped to do running repairs to the badly blistered feet of a member of another group (who we had 'swept up' along the route!).
Most of group 6 were continuing strongly so after ensuring they would be accompanied by another group leader I sent the group on ahead to have a good chance of completing the route within the 12hr point.
|On & on & on & on & on ascending Whernside.|
|The final stretch from Whernside summit, Ingleborough in the distance.|
The relief was obvious as the going flattened out on reaching Broadrake and the final 1.5km to the finish line. Gently encouraging my (now more than slightly broken!) team that they still could make the finish line within the 12hr point we broke into an uncomfortable jog over the last 300metres through Philpin Farm. Although resulting in burst blisters, a strong contender for the dodgiest walk prize and more than a few loud expletives I was delighted that they battled on to cross the finish line with just seconds to spare!
With the other members of group 6 having completed the route approximately 30 minutes earlier we had an impressive 120% completion rate (having collected an additional 2 members), and all within the 12hr challenge time.
|Group 6 well earned refreshments on completing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks!|
Well done to Grace, Hugh, Jonothan, Kirsty, Neal, Paul D, Paul K, Rachel & Robert of Group 6!