2 friends and the coast to coast walk

Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge (proper post!) by gleavem
April 13, 2010, 8:20 pm
Filed under: friends, next challenge, Three Peaks | Tags: , ,

The Facts:

  • The Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge is traditionally completed within 12hrs.
  • It starts (and ends) in Horton in Ribblesdale in North Yorkshire.
  • It involves climbing (and descending) 3 hills; Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.
  • We (7 enthusiastic walkers) did it on Easter Saturday 2010.

The Walkers:

  1. Shell (me)
  2. Sid
  3. Chris G
  4. Dan
  5. Nathan
  6. Chris R
  7. Emma

Pen-y-ghent 2

The Walk:

We met in the dining room of The Crown for a DIY breakfast and to sort out food and drink for the walk.  We set off at 7:20am, just 20 minutes after we’d intended, which wasn’t bad considering it was early and we hadn’t all walked together before.  As we left the pub there was a light drizzle so we were glad we’d all put our waterproof gear on.  As you’d expect there wasn’t much going on in Horton at that time in the morning, although we did see one or two other walkers.  Shortly after passing the church we saw two little lambs that must have been born during the night, they still looked dirty and wobbly – bless!  As we headed up to meet the Pennine way things didn’t start well for Chris G,  less than 30 minutes after we’d set off one of his poles broke, cue lots of frustration as he kept trying to fix it and it kept falling apart as he was walking – poor Chris!  We were passed by one speedy solitary walker early on, and another group soon caught us up.  However as we began the ascent proper of Pen-y-ghent we soon began to catch everyone else up and felt comforted that our steady pace was the way to go.  We made really good time to the summit, and everyone was still feeling really fresh and very happy to have conquered one summit before 9am – not your normal Saturday morning!

Pen-y-ghent  summit

Then came the bogs!  In the pub the night before, several walkers and locals had been full of stories of how awful the bogs were (apparently a 6′ 6” chap plunged into the bog up to his waist); some of us laughed it off, some looked concerned and some thought it would probably be bad, but manageable.  At the time I was a little annoyed with these prophets of doom as I felt they could have put off a couple of walkers, but in retrospect  they’d sort of prepared us for the worst-case-scenario which in the end turned out to not be far from the truth.  The descent started well, a little icy but a good clear path; gradually things got wetter and wetter, until it was proper bog-hopping time!  One by one our boots failed in their battle to keep the water out, until almost all of us had wet feet.  We tried to not let the bogs hold us up too much, keeping on a direct track as much as possible, except where things got really deep or really mucky.  I was amazed at how well everyone coped with his section of the walk, as not many of us had experience of these sorts of underfoot conditions.  Spirits remained high throughout, even when both Chris’ fell in!  Chris G managed a very stylish belly-flop type fall as he tried to jump a section of bog, and Chris R ended up submerged to the chest  after trying to test how deep a boggy stream was (very deep it turned out).

Which way

It was a long walk to Whernside down boggy paths, grassy paths, stony paths, tracks and road, but eventually we neared the Ribblehead viaduct.  We stopped near the tea van for our lunch, tucking into our sandwiches in the rain, still in good spirits.  Shortly after lunch the rain stopped, but more weather was not far away!  The path towards Whernside was fairly busy with both casual walkers and 3-peakers, but it was a good path and we put down a good pace as we pressed on towards the summit.  Hail!…it seemed we were destined to witness all weather today.  We continued on into the cloud, passing a poor woman who was very afraid of heights and not enjoying the walk at all.  The summit was windy, cold and cloudy so it was whiskey and brownies all round.  We met a chap and his dad training for the Caledonian challenge – sounded a bit much for me, but good luck to them.  The descent from Whernside was a little difficult, no bogs or swamps, but it was fairly steep and we passed the scared-of-heights lady again, edging down on her bottom!

Whernside Summit

Chris and Whernside

As we headed for the third and final peak, we were all doing fairly well.  A few aches and pains had arisen, and a few neurofen had been taken but considering how long we’d been walking, spirits were high.  Next surprise…sunshine! (and sheep eating coconuts).  It was a relatively short hop over to Ingleborough on good paths, passing some amazing limestone rock formations and a hole for wives (apparently).  Soon we were on our final ascent; a steep zigzag up the side of Ingleborough.  We gathered at the top of the steep section for a few jelly babies and to re-group for the final push to the summit.  The plateau summit of Ingleborough was bathed in glorious sunshine, the sea shimmering in the distance, fabulous views all around and lots of smiling faces.  Throughout the day we’d managed to stay slightly ahead of our estimated times but it was still going to need a good pace to make it back to Horton in time.  The path back to Horton was clear and dry, so we pressed on with Chris G (aka “the machine”) setting a blistering pace in the front.  Over the last few miles we spread out into 3 groups; the machines (Chris G and Dan), the steady eddies (Sid, me and Nathan) and the soggy one and his lady (Chris R and Em).

Glorious sunshine over Ingleborough

Ingleborough Summit

It was going to be close, Nathan was sure we weren’t going to make it back in time, and it was indeed close… Chris and Dan made it back in 11hrs 45mins, Sid, Nathan and I in 11h 49, whilst Em and Chris R just missed 12 hours (by a mere 5 minutes)!  These may not be record breaking times, but we also managed to have a good day in the process and remain friends!

We gathered outside the pub, peeled off our soggy boots and socks, and celebrated with pints (soft and alcoholic) and creme eggs (thanks Chris).  Then it was baths all round before a well-deserved dinner, birthday cake and a couple more drinks.  All day we’d joked about having a big session to celebrate, but we were all far too tired for more than a couple and went to bed before 11pm!  You can find more pictures here.

Celebrating the finish

Our Yorkshire 3 peaks was a fabulous day, due without doubt to the great people we walked with (and helped by a little sunshine).  It’s a walk I would definitely do again and a challenge I would recommend to anyone who fancies a very long day of walking.  Bonyag!!!


Yorkshire 3 Peaks (post 1) by gleavem
April 11, 2010, 6:50 pm
Filed under: friends, next challenge | Tags: , ,

We’ve just returned from a little holiday ooop north, which began with the Yorkshire 3 peaks last Saturday.  I shall post lots more details and photos soon, but for now here’s a little montage Sid put together as a taster (I think it’s super).


By the way the walk was FABULOUS!!

Last Warm-up Walk Before the Y3P by gleavem
March 31, 2010, 12:15 pm
Filed under: exercise, friends, training | Tags: , ,

Although the forecast was for heavy rain, I was determined to make it out for a walk this weekend.  We met friends at Westerham, tucked into a delicious pub lunch, and fully fuelled headed out for a walk through the woods south of the town.  It’s fair to say that perhaps we should have had a lighter lunch before the walk; the boys pies were massive and we were much slower than normal for the first hour or so.  Happily the weather was much kinder than expected and there were only one or two little drops of rain, and most of the time we were just walking in t-shirts, which made a lovely change.

We started by following the Greensand Way south into Squerryes Park, and on to Goodley Stock.  We stayed on the Greensand Way all the way to French Street, where we picked up a track through Hosey Common to return to Westerham.  Although not a very long walk, it was a very enjoyable one.  We always like walking in woodland, and the woods around Westerham were lovely, and the land undulating enough to get our legs working a little.  I’d love to return again in a few weeks as much of the woodland looked like it would be awash with bluebells. 

So that was our last walk before the Y3P (Yorkshire 3 peaks) and our holiday in the lakes.  The weather doesn’t look good for the Easter weekend, but we’ll go fully prepared for wind, driving rain, bogs and maybe even snow, and perhaps we’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Happy Easter Everyone!

A Change of Plan by gleavem
March 1, 2010, 6:27 pm
Filed under: exercise, friends, weather | Tags: , , , ,

This Sunday’s walk was meant to be a biggy, both in terms of distance and in terms of people.  The plan was to get 6 of the Yorkshire 3-peakers together to practice walking together over a longish distance around Ditchling and Devils Dyke.  Yet again Sunday started as a miserable day and we lost two walkers before we even left the house.  We consulted the others and opted for a shorter walk near them so we could more easily escape the weather.

The walk started at the pub in Skimmington, where we picked up the Greensand Way, following it to the top of Colley Hill:
View from Colley Hill

We’d all learnt from the previous week and were fully waterproofed-up.  It rained on and off for much of the walk, though the rain was fairly light and we could take our hoods down occasionally.  The ground however was saturated after a week of rain and there were massive puddles and lots of mud everywhere:
Very wet path

Folly ceiling

We walked along the ridge, passing a beautiful folly and a victorian water tower, before joining the North Downs Way for a while.  This section passed through some lovely woodland and we’d love to walk here again on a sunny day.  Turning south to Buckland we began to head back to Skimmington and our pub lunch (delicious and very welcome).  In the end the rain eased off and we had a thoroughly enjoyable and varied walk, despite the mud (route).
On the bridge

What a Wet Walk! by gleavem
February 23, 2010, 9:52 am
Filed under: friends, training, weather | Tags: , , ,

Saturday was a glorious day here in the south east; wonderfully sunny and mild, I was even driving with the window down. It seemed spring had arrived!  Unfortunately we went for a walk on Sunday, which was cloudy, grey and very wet!

We met our good friends Dan and Hatti at a parking spot near Flimwell in Kent, ready for a walk which would take in Bewl water and Bedgebury forest.  We had our waterproofs and boots (although only Dan was wise enough to bring his waterproof trousers), so we headed out into the weather.  Why did we choose to walk here?…simply because it was about half way between us and our friends and looked interesting on the map.

As we headed towards and around Bewl water it rained and rained and rained, and was very wet underfoot.  It was a relief anytime we entered a wooded area as the trees did offer a little shelter.  After a couple of hours we passed a Little Chef, we stopped in for the loo and ended up staying for hot chocolate and toast.  To be honest the little chef is not our normal tea break spot whilst walking, and I wouldn’t necesarily choose it again (since it cost us £20!) but it was there and we were wet and cold.  Of course once we stopped, so did the rain, and some rays of sunshine were even spotted through the window.

Refreshed and somewhat drier, we headed out to relish walking with our hoods down for a while, a feat we managed for almost an hour I think.  We meandered through Cats wood (getting slightly off course) and through a free range chicken farm, then the rain returned, heavier and wetter.  Consequently we didn’t wander around Bedgebury as much as we might have liked, instead deciding to return to the car and find ourselves some lunch.

This was another nice walk, and would obviously be lovely on a sunny (or at least dry) day.  It wasn’t particularly hilly, so that’s something we’ll be looking for in next weeks walk. There are practically no pics to go with this walk as it was just too wet and all views were shrouded in cloud and mist, but here’s one:

And here’s the route.  It’s not 100% accurate but you get the idea.

3 Peaks Challenge 2009 by gleavem
February 3, 2010, 9:45 pm
Filed under: charity, friends, Three Peaks | Tags: , , ,

Two weeks 7 months ago we headed to London to begin our 3 peaks adventure.  On Saturday morning, after staying the night with fellow walkers, we went to collect the mini-bus and meet up with the other crazies.  It took some effort to get all our gear in the 17-seater (+ driver) mini-bus, since we needed 14 of the seats for bottoms, but eventually we all squeezed in and the adventure began.  After a long drive and a good nights sleep (and a little difficulty finding some supper), we started Ben Nevis on a sunny Sunday afternoon around 4pm and had a steady (busier than expected) climb to the summit.  Here’s a few pics from Ben Nevis:

The Entire Team
Ben Nevis  05
Ben Nevis 14
The summit of the Nevis 1

We all got to the summit at about the same time, but spread out into a couple of groups on the descent to make getting de-booted and back into the minibus a bit easier.  It took us about 5 1/2 to do Ben and then it was back in the bus for the trip to Scafell.  We started climbing at 4am; happily it was already light, but we were down to 11 climbers as Rachel decided to save herself for Snowden.  A few hundred meters up we were down to 10, as Helen too decided she wouldn’t make it all the way.  Next came Jon who had struggled quite a lot on Ben Nevis.  Finally about half way up Sid was forced to turn back…Scafell was clearly a killer at 4am after no, or very little sleep!!!  Unfortunately Sid turned back with the camera, so there’s not many pics from Scafell.  Here’s a few:

Towards the bottom of Scafell
The guys who made all three peaks

Finally we got to Snowden, having completed Scafell in approx 4 hours.  It was a gorgeous afternoon in Wales and everyone got their walking boots back on for the final peak.  Chris and Paddy, inspired by some of the runners we’d seen (madness!) decided to run to the summit, so they pushed off ahead.  The rest of us followed at a less ankle-breaking pace.  It was a long, but relatively easy climb up Snowden and on this occasion the best was definitely saved for last…good weather and great views! Here’s a selection:

Snowden 20
Snowden 38
Snowden 34

What can I say except…it was fabulous!  Despite cramming 12 walkers, two drivers and a lot of gear in the minibus, driving over 1000 miles and shedding a few tears, we all had a fabulous time!  It was certainly emotional, challenging and exciting.  It was made all the more interesting by the fact we ended up doing our challenge at the same time as several hundred fire fighters!

This was a great experience, there were no arguments, we were all well and truly bonded by the end, and even talking about our next challenge in the bus on the way home!  Best of all we raised well over £1300 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

First Walk in the Lake District – Honister Pass & Haystacks by gleavem
May 28, 2009, 7:37 pm
Filed under: friends | Tags: , , ,

View from Loft beck

We started our week in the Lake District with a walk to satisfy a few questions left over from our C2C.  You may remember that our second day started well, but ended lost in the cloud above Loft Beck: Ennerdale to Stonethwaite, so we decided to re-do the section between Honister and Blacksail hut to see where we went wrong!  We started from Honister slate mine and were joined by our friends Dan and Hatti.  We headed up to the drum house before branching off West to the top of Loft Beck; this was where we’d got lost last time and it was amusing to see that when we were “lost” we were actually just a few metres from the path we’d been aiming for!  That cloud had a lot to answer for; turns out we were just a little to west and north last time; I can’t believe one of us didn’t cross it or spot it.  Happy that we’d done the trip properly this time, we continued down to Blacksail hut.

Almost at Blacksail

We’d been singing it’s praises to Dan and Hatti, unfortunately when we got there it was crammed full of youngsters, so we were forced to sit outside for our lunch and make do with tea from Dan’s flask.  It was nice to shelter from the wind for a while and chat to some coast-to-coasters before we headed up to Scarth Gap and Haystacks.  Here the wind got even stronger and it was quite an effort to not get blown over at times!  We all thoroughly enjoyed the scramble up to Haystacks and agreed with Wainwright that it’s an excellent little hill 😉  After a little bog-hopping around the tarns we rejoined the tramway and headed back to Honister for a drink.  It was a lovely walk; good to show Dan and Hat some of the C2C and great to satisfy our curiosity as to what the top of Fleetwith actually looks like!

Sid and Shell at the top of Haystacks