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!!!


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.

Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and Burnmoor Tarn by gleavem
July 1, 2009, 10:24 pm
Filed under: just for fun, Three Peaks, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Just a few words about the other walks we did whilst we were in the lakes…

With Dan and Hat we attempted Helvellyn; it was quite a windy day so we chose to avoid striding edge and opted for the swirral edge approach.  We started from Glenridding, heading to the Grisdale valley we started the steady ascent up to the hole in the wall.  After lunch in a relatively sheltered spot, we aimed west to red tarn; what a magical place that seemed…such a large yet peaceful tarn set against the dramatic backdrop of the Helvellyn summit was quite a sight.  Despite the increasing wind we continued to swirral edge and began our ascent to the summit.  But as the wind increased, the path (though it was mostly scrambling at this point) became less and less clear and eventually we lost confidence.  We turned back approximately 50m from the top, but were not disappointed for long as the weather soon closed in and we spent most of the return leg to Glenridding battered by wind and rain….a summit for a nicer day, we decided!

Helvellyn from the Hole in the Wall
Sid at Red Tarn

Dan, his brownie and Ullswater

A few days later we tackled Scafell Pike in preparation for our 3 peaks challenge.  As we were camping at Wasdale Head it didn’t take us long to get to what would likely be our starting point on the 3 peaks.  We knew it would be quite a steep climb from the OS map, but I think the sheer relentlessness of the ascent took us by surprise.  Basically we just walked up and up and up, on stony paths, slippy paths, rocky paths…  I must say it’s not the most inspiring peak I’ve ever climbed, although perhaps there are better approaches, but we did manage to glimpse some good views on the way up, and enjoyed a brief, chilly lunch at the summit.  We managed the ascent in 2 hours, and descent in 1.5, which made us feel good about the 3 peaks.  Still, it was a little daunting to think that the next time we’d be here would be at 4am in June!

View across the lakes from Scafell Pike
Shell at highest point in England

After the more strenuous walks of the preceding week, we opted to finish our holiday with a gentler stroll around Burnmoor tarn; no steep ascents, no scrambling, no freaky weather!  This would have been a lovely walk from Wasdale campsite but the ground for much of the way was exceedingly boggy, which somewhat impeded on our enjoyment of the nice scenery and weather.  We’d almost forgotten the frustration of walking through such marshy bogs and almost turned back, but we persevered and eventually enjoyed our lunch on a little bridge by the tarn.  The marshy conditions underfoot continued as we circled the tarn, taking in the mysterious Burnmoor lodge (so isolated!) and returned to Wasdale.  Not the best walk we’ve ever done, but not the worst either.

View to Burnmoor Lodge
Burnmoor tarn - lunch spot

The Three Peaks Challenge by theshed
March 3, 2009, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Three Peaks | Tags: , ,

Well our next challenge is in it’s planning stages.  After Paddy suggested we attempt the National Three Peaks Challenge we jumped at the chance.

Paddy, Clare and I have started planning it and things are coming together nicely.  We’ve got as far as picking a date!  That’s actually pretty good for us as a group, usually we’re useless at making decisions.

So it’s all going to kick off at the end of June.  Weekend of 27th/28th.  We’ve still got a few things to sort out and then we’ve got to get other people involved but so far so good.

Now I wonder how much training I’m going to have to put in?