- 11th June 2018
- Posted by: Sophie Bunker
- Category: Blog
Yesterday saw several members of the team take part in the 19th Annual Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks walk. Andrew Gubbin, Director and chief organiser of the event, gives us a roundup of the highs and lows along the way.
Before the details of this particular venture though it turned out to be a particularly poignant day for us to walk. As you may have seen/heard in the national press, in December 2017 Jodi Willsher was murdered in a supermarket in Skipton leaving a husband and young daughter. She was well known in Skipton and had a number of personal connections to several of our colleagues in the town. Yesterday there was a sponsored walk intended to raise funds for a bench and a piece of play equipment at Aireville Park.
JBA and the Yorkshire Three Peaks
The number of willing volunteers had peaked at 28 by the end of May, but as in previous years there tends to be a rapid reduction in the last few days before hand. By 18:00 the night before we were down to 13. Having had a sunny spell ‘up north’ for the last two weeks the weather forecast the evening before of 50% rain for the whole day implied a certain amount of grief was going to be due for the most popular weekend. As we drove into Horton-in-Ribblesdale at 06:30 the sun started to burn off the mist and it was clear we were going to be in for a scorching day. By 07:00 11 of the anticipated 13 had arrived.
We began with Phen-y-ghent, a four-mile hike culminating with a very steep climb up a limestone rock face – conversation was definitely stilted on this section of the walk. An uneventful section, we all arrived safely within the hour for the first refuelling stop and a view of the next two peaks with discussion by one or two about them being a long way away – none of us were sure if the clear conditions encouraged or discouraged the group.
The trek across to Ribblehead followed a generally downhill section, a few gentle rises and then a section of the road. The new official route avoids the bogs, river crossings and the like so is relatively tame. We arrived marginally ahead of schedule and were joined by Cath Archer’s husband and son who had an alternative route planned from here. After a 20-minute break and some emergency sock, insole and boot adjustments – I have never seen an insole placed between two pairs of socks for example – we continued.
The long gentle stroll up Whernside follows, taking us adjacent to Ribblehead viaduct. Up through the moors, lead mines and a waterfall we came across a couple of false summits before reaching the trig point bang on 13:00 hours. Another short break for lunch for us and the resident midges.
The downhill section to Chapel-le-Dale and the farm shop followed for iced drinks and the only Welfare facilities on the whole walk. This is a really steep section taking a toll on the knees.
From Chapel-le-Dale there is the one ascent left, Ingleborough and the steps – a gentle climb to start with over a limestone pavement. Some gentle encouragement for one or two was needed as the legs started aching, well hurting really. A few duck boards over the really boggy sections and then the steps, oh the steps, to finish us off. Drinks, food and some psyching up was needed before the last nasty up rock face bit and then to the final trig point across the plateau that is Ingleborough. So, we have completed the three peaks all bar the six-mile descent. We took photos at the top to prove that we were all there and in one piece, despite looking more than a little dishevelled.
The long, slow, hard on the feet descent started at 16:00 hrs with a two-hour opportunity to complete it within 11 hours. We passed Gapping Gill, which apparently can accommodate the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral – plenty of encouragement was needed here as the feet ache and the legs complain. Then we saw the 2.75 mile signpost, then the 2 mile signpost – a very long 0.75 miles by our reckoning. The mile signpost was very welcomed, as was the sight of the Crown pub signalling our return. A grand total of 10 hrs and 56 minutes – a very respectable time.
Want to know more?
Email Andrew Gubbin for more information on the latest team adventure.