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12/08/2013 – The Yorkshire 3 Peaks

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At the 4th attempt in just over a year I finally managed to do this in less than 10 hours, but what a challenge it was. The forecasters had predicted Heavy showers for most of the day with it brightening up mid afternoon but it didn’tbrighten up until we had finished. We arrived at Penyghent Cafe to start this challenge at 8:09 am. I was walking with 2 friends I’ve know sincewe were at junior school,Mark Duerden who came with my last time and Tony Credland who was doing it for the first time. Oh and Tony had brought his dog Meg as well who found the whole trek a piece of cake as she trotted up and down each mountain with ease. The walk up Penyghent was a warm one due to us walking in waterproof clothing . It was either that or keep taking layers on and off between showers. As we approached the gate that connects with the Pennine Way the heavens opened and the wind whipped up. It stayed like this for the scramble over the rocks to the summit arriving at 9:21am.

The drop off Penyghent and then the next 7 miles were quite easy and we soon got a good pace going as we walked over the new path that covers the old bogs. This has made this walk a lot easier and more comfortable as in this weather we would have been knee deep at times. Seven miles and several showers later we arrived at Ribblehead Viaduct. Unfortunately the weather was appalling so we carried on walking a while before stopping for lunch near the railway sidings on the path up to Whernside. After lunch we carried on the long path in mostly sunshine. If only it would stay like this but no, just as we started the steeper section before the summit again the rain was torrential and the wind was fiercely blowing from our right. We arrived at the summit at 1:55pm which meant we were exactly on time for a 10 hour target. With the hardest part of the walk still to come I wasn’t to optimistic about hitting that time.

We didn’t hang around on top as the weather wasn’t great but sure enough as soon as we started our descent the sun came out and were roasting again. The path off Whernside is horrible to walk on. Its very steep and is just a load of limestone rocks stick together making a very uneven walk. You really have to watch where your feet go as your ankle could turn at anytime. This normally results in going very slowly but this time we charged down the hill and were at the road in no time at all. Suddenly we were back ahead of time. This next section nearly killed me. The walk through the limestone fields was great but then we hit the path of stone slabs and wooden slats which just undulate over and over again until you are faced with an almost vertical accent up to the last section before the summit. To make things worse the weather decide to throw its biggest shower of the day at us. It was difficult to even stand still in the wind which must have been around 60-70 mph. Combine this with torrential rain that was running as a river down the path and you get that feeling of just wanting to go home.The problem with that was that home was up and over this last mountain. Mark decided he wanted to be out of it as quickly as possible and raced up the steep climb with Creddy and Meg not far behind. Me however just couldn’t go that fast so I just got my head down and slowly made my way there. It gave the lads a 10 minute rest at the top waiting for me but I really didn’t care at that point. In my head though the worst was over and I knew I could really get some speed up going back down to Horton. We arrived at the summit of Inglebororugh at 4:14pm which gave us 1 hour 55 mins to get back to the finish. Based on my previous attempts I predicted we would do this in around 1 hour 48 minutes meaning we were well up on time. Very surprising considering the time it took to get up that steep section.

We set off and were soon racing down the path which is usually quite difficult to walk on. I think that all the rain had just softened the ground enough to help us and we really got some speed going. There was just one more awkward section which slowed us down due to pools of muddy water which were deep enough that they had to be avoided. Finally we reached the fields that sit above the village and once across the railway lines it was just a short walk through the streets and to our finish at the Penyghent Cafe. As predicted it took exactly 1 hour 48 minutes to do this last section meaning our final time for the whole route was 9 hours 53 minutes. In those conditions that was very impressive.

So Ive finally beaten 10 hours and in the process had a brilliant day with 2 very good mates and a very well behaved Meg. Hopefully they will join me on more walks like this. For me now its a few days recovery and then time to concentrate on my running. Over the next 12 weeks i have 6 Half Marathons and 1 Full Marathon to do so I’d better get my act together and start pounding those streets. As always if you want to support me in what I’m doing for Pendleside Hospice go to my secure fundraising page and donate a small amount to the cause, it is a very good cause.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/13in13