When your fiancé suggests tackling the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge on less than 48 hours notice, what do you do?
Book your hotel and get up the M6 to Yorkshire is exactly what you do! And boy was it a good idea! (Not the M6, 6 hours up that awful stretch of road is enough for anyone to go bankrupt on service station coffee prices and find yourself dancing along to some pretty questionable music in the car).
I’d never been to Yorkshire and this time last year we were hopping around Croatia so I was kind of hoping it would be a good decision to stay in the UK rather than jet further afield. But, having just come back from a 10 day training camp in Bulgaria and a house to renovate, Yorkshire seemed a sensible option for a whistle stop tour of a national park that I was yet to wander. So we set off up the motorway with Ingleton in sight. We arrived in Ingleton with about 1 hours sunlight remaining so we quickly dumped our bags, checked into the Croft Gate B&B, said hello to our host and set off to explore the base of the Whernside mountain!
We saw owls, field mice, beautiful views, a shedload of sheep and were very excited about the prospect of getting up early for our big days adventure. When the sun goes down in Yorkshire, it’s a blackout! Minimal street lights and cosy little villages, just the way you imagine the perfect English countryside to be. In typical fashion, we headed out to the pub just up the road, a local for those who’ve climbed up and down Whernside. It was only fair we sampled the local wine and West Country cider (just to make sure it tasted as good up north as it does down south) and we got out out maps and decided our route for the morning.
Because of where we were situated in relation to the three peaks, we actually decided (thanks to the guidance of our B&B host) to do the whole thing in reverse. We never do things the normal way, so this seemed normal to us, and looking back it was absolutely the best decision we made. So, after a good hearty breakfast (the breakfast was incredible!) and a bucket load of coffee, we set out into the rain to climb our first mountain: The 723m high Ingleborough. With weather conditions less than favourable we knew it was going to be tough but we are used to less than favourable weather conditions and had made sure we had packed appropriately, people knew where we were, and we always stick together.
Copyright Ed Morris Photography
I’m going to do a Youtube video soon on what I will typically pack in my rucksack and what gear I use for adventures, so keep an eye out on my Youtube channel and subscribe using this link: Ed Morris Youtube Channel
From the rough weather of Ingleborough we headed down the other side of the mountain and on to Pen-Y-Ghent. It’s good that we did this one second (it’s where people traditionally start from) as there’s a little cafe in the village and a coffee was most welcomed before heading up the steeper and more technical climb. Pen-Y-Ghent itself is around 694m but the incline is steeper and shorter than the others. Be prepared for a little scramble to the top but you will be rewarded with incredible views on a clear day! Luckily for us the weather had turned beautiful by now and the views really did not disappoint!
The third mountain Whernside was back by our base in Ingleton, and with 12 hours to complete the challenge (more like racing against the sun going down) we knew we had to be on our way up with an hour or two sunlight left to be safe. It’s around a 10 mile walk from summit 2 to summit 3 so we plodded on, chatting away, admiring the scenery, taking photos and spotting all the animals. By the time we reached the bottom of Whernside our feet were pretty sore, 20 miles and around 9 hours of walking is tough for anyone, but to be met with the view of the almighty Ribblehead viaduct was something I had been looking forwards to all day. The whole Settle to Carlisle railway line fascinates me and for those who know me well, travelling by train is my absolute most favourite form of transport. Constructed back in the late 1870s by around 6000 navigational engineers the railway line cost many their life and was put together in the harsh conditions of flooding, snow and harsh winds. The workers lived in townships along the railway and by just being out here in the open and seeing the sheer scale of the viaduct you can only begin to imagine the terrible winters they must have endured.
Copyright Ed Morris Photography
The final stretch carries you up and alongside the railway line until you reach a lovely aqueduct with a waterfall in the distance and from here, the final climb of the day up the long (and not too steep) incline to the summit of Whernside for your final mountain view. We both could not stop smiling. The view was insane, and we were so happy we left the best till last. With the sun on it’s way down and golden hour approaching, being the only two people on the top of a mountain with a view of not just our other two conquests in the distance but the whole countryside to admire, this was pretty special.
There is something so satisfying by being outside, being a tiny dot on a map moving about these huge landscapes. You realise just how small you are and just how big the world is and you imagine the other people around the world who are also climbing mountains, thinking the same thing. For me taking photos and writing about adventure is about inspiring others to go and see what I’ve seen. Not just for the view but for the sense of fulfilment and gratitude it will give you for simply just being there in that moment. People talk a lot out mindfulness and being present in the moment – if you want to feel alive, go and climb a mountain.
Side note: Hiking in Yorkshire was one of the cleanest, litter free places I have been in England, but there is still the occasional bit of rubbish lying around. Do the planet a big favour and take your rubbish home, and if you see someone else lying on the ground and you’ve got room in your bag, pick it up and chuck it in the nearest bin. Let’s keep these beautifully clean environments just that so generations to come can enjoy them like we do now.
With the sun going down and a 12 hour time limit for the challenge we finished taking photos and descended the steep steeps down into the valley below. From here it was only about a mile walk home, passing our local pub and into our beautiful B&B.
11 hours, 60,000 steps, 25 miles and one incredible day out, done!
With my fiancé and adventure partner at the summit!
THREE PEAKS CHECKLIST:
Here is a list all the important information you need to make sure your Yorkshire 3 peaks run’s smoothly!
Accommodation: Croft Gate B&B
Map: Ordinance Survey + download the Yorkshire 3 peaks app as it works offline (signal is awful in the mountains at times).
Cost: FREE (you can pay to do organised walks of the peaks, but if you are an experienced walker with a reasonable base fitness and can read a map then we see no reason why you can’t do this by yourself). Take money with you on the route for coffee, snacks etc but take a packed lunch and plenty of water for 12 hours.
Camera: Canon EOS 750D Digital SLR Camera (24.2 MP, 18 – 55 mm Lens, CMOS Sensor) 3-Inch LCD (Has built in wifi so you can upload your pics as you go + keep them same!)
Rucksack cover: North Face Pack Rain Cover Backpack – Red/TNF Red, Small
I will do a full kit checklist for adventures soon, but this is the basics you need, the rest is common sense – warm clothes, waterproofs, money, suitable footwear, water, food, map, compass, first aid kit, etc.
Thank you for reading and if you would really like a full feel for what it’s like to tackle the 3 peaks challenge, then watch this video that Amy put together I’m sure you will find yourself online booking your trip to Yorkshire!
Any questions about this trip or any of our other adventures, feel free to get in touch and let’s talk exploring 🙂