The Accidental Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge

Does this sound familiar?

You decide to get fit, and the first month goes really well. Someone mentions a great challenge, and full of enthusiasm, you sign up. The next day, you realise what you have done!

Stop now and take stock! Before you venture onto the hills, question your skills and your motivation, look at your fitness level and really assess if you are going to manage.

a good few thousand people a year do complete this, a lot don’t.

Wher

Looking back to Whernside from Ingleborough. This is one of the views you will see if you can answer yes to these questions.

Can you walk a marathon? and climb the equivalent of 400 flights of stairs up and down? Can you do this carrying food, water, waterproofs, warm clothes, essentials? Without mobile phone signal? In widely varying weather conditions and temperatures? In under 12 hours?

You may have signed up for this challenge to support a worthy cause, that’s really cool, but believe me, there are no charities or sponsors who want you to be in trouble on the hills. Be prepared, or don’t set off.

There is a list of what I take every time I go out on a walk at the bottom.

With 4 weeks to go until my charity challenge, I decided to go and check it out.

I arrived just before 7 in the morning, got my boots on, and away for exactly 7am.

Pen-Y-Ghent rises majestically in front of me as I leave Horton-in-Ribblesdale and get some Yorkshire Dales dirt on my soles. It is a pleasant morning, quiet but for the birdsong, and the walking is easy enough. Its mostly a steady incline, getting colder as I get higher until the ground is covered in a dusting of new snow. The path joins the Pennine Way just in time for the last push to the summit. This is not an easy bit, you do use hands as well as feet to get up here. Whip out the old mobile for a selfie at the Trig point.

Pen-Y-Ghent Its 8am, too early to go home, and I’m not tired, so I decide to head off towards Whernside. It’s all good practice

What! going downhill is way harder than going uphill! Who knew?

Press on, I was joined by a young lad and his dog. The dog was called “Ralph” not sure about the lad’s name. We chatted for a little while as the miles passed. We parted company at the Ribblehead Viaduct. He felt the call of the burger van, where there was a cup of tea with his name on it!

viaduct Whernside is a different animal. Where Pen-Y-Ghent was frosty, and steep, Whernside was foggy, and a long drag upwards. up The misty drizzle did serve to keep me cool, every cloud…..

This is the highest of the three peaks, so out with the selfi-cam again.

Whernside At each of the trig points, there are drystone walls formed in a semi-circle with rough seating inside. I would suggest getting off the summit and stopping for a bite or drink, instead of being in the coldest spot. Don’t forget to add a layer if and when you do grab a break, you will cool down very quickly.

So there we go, two down.

The valley after Whernside has a lovely old lady selling hot snacks and drinks, she also had bottled water, so I grabbed a couple. At this point, I could walk back to the car, but as the day was getting warmer, I had fresh water, and most of my food supplies left… well it would seem rude not to go for it, wouldn’t it?

Ingleborough is a pig of a hill! It is official!

Ing I met my first group of walkers making their attempt at all 3 peaks here. They were raising money for the Meningitis Trust, and had been out since 5:20am. They are the orange dots half way up!

This climb lifts you to a ridge, which you follow up to a plateau which could be straight from a lunar landscape. The trig point safely bagged with a selfie, Ingleborough

time to head off the hill.

The elation of getting that third peak has time to dissipate by the time you get back to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. There is nothing much to say, other than at this point you are very tired, and your legs are aching. Its downhill all the way back.

Back By the time I returned, the Pen-Y-Ghent Cafe was still open, so in I went. You can be invited to join the prestigious 3 peaks club if you manage the challenge in under 12 hours. Do I get a badge? No! You must let the cafe know that you are attempting the walk, and let them know your set off time! Unfortunately, I didn’t, so no, I don’t get a badge 🙁 But my friends who set off at 5:20, they were in the log, so they do. Every cloud…….

So that was how I “accidentally” completed the three peaks. My time?

9hrs 15minutes … unofficial of course

After driving back to Huddersfield, my legs were seizing up. I had a bath, then slept for 10 hours solid. This is a serious challenge, I accidentally completed it, having made assessment of my situation at many points throughout the day. As you can see from the videos, I was not expecting to see it through this time, but the weather was favourable, I had the right gear and sufficient supplies. I was aware of my position at all times, and I was prepared to leave and get back to safety if that was required.

Please be very careful if you go out. Be prepared! and have fun.

My supplies and equipment:

Wearing

          • Rohan briefs (much more comfortable than cotton) Direct Link to Rohan
          • Bridgedale Socks (never had a blister since I started wearing these)

    • North Face Base layer

    • Cragghopper Trousers

    • North Face Fleece

    • Marmut Waterproof

    • North Face Waterproof trousers

    • Alt-Berg Boots Can be seen at this direct link
    • Rab Gaiters

    • Karrimor Rucksack

In the Rucksack

    • Anything from above, not currently being worn
    • Cragghoppers Down Jacket
    • wooly hat and gloves
    • spare socks
    • basic first aid kit
    • 10m para-cord
    • knife
    • Silver foil blanket

  • Orange ‘bivvi’ bag
  • 4 Mars bars
  • Flask of ‘Yorkshire Tea
  • water
  • Sandwiches in a tupperware box
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Mobile phone
  • Keys
  • Some money and a credit card

Free Walking

No, this isn’t about how you can walk for nothing, its about setting off to explore the town with no pre-planned route.

Lunchtime arrived, and because I had started early, most of my work was complete, so I set off for a wander.GreenheadRoad

Through the town to Greenhead Park was a good start,

Greenhead

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greenhead-Park

 

Stopping for a light lunch by the model Railway.  The sun was out, so the park was busy.

 

I exited on Gledholt road, and went for an explore in the woods.Gledholt-wood

You really should have a look here, its super.Gledholt-WaterfallStinkLily

Finally I took a little used path over the railway bridge into Longroyd BridgeTower

back to work past Snow Island.snoweir

I suppose I must have walked about 3 miles-ish and it took an hour and a half, a real break from work.

Walking the Meltham Way Circular Walk in Huddersfield from Blackmoorfoot Reservoir

The Meltham Way

The village of Meltham lies on the South West of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. It Famously holds an annual 40’s weekend with thousand turning up to take part. The 2016 event will be held on the 2nd and 3rd of July. See more at their website here melthammemories.co.uk

Circling around Meltham is an 8.5 mile walk, The Meltham Way. It is, in my opinion, one of Huddersfield’s finest walks.

If you are planning to try this walk, it is possible to park your car on the roadside by Blackmoorfoot Reservoir. You can get here by bus from Huddersfield. It takes 28 minutes on Bus Number 393.

Or if you are training for the Yorkshire Three Peaks, You can walk up to the resrvoir from Milnsbridge, Paddock or Crossland Moor.

Coming at it from the West you will be close to the Wills’o’nats pub, well worth a call in afterwards, or alternatively, from the East or North take a look at grabbing a pint from the Bull’s Head

The walk around Meltham is not signposted as the Meltham way, instead, there are arrows on small green plaques which say “Walk Meltham”.

The terrain is often soft underfoot, and there are a lot of high stiles and walls to climb over. These are generally in good repair, but as always, please be careful. There is also a short ladder to climb.

You will be mostly walking on the flat, but the walk has aproximately 500′ of elevation change over its length.

Expect the walk to take around 31/2 hours.

Starting from the access road on the East side of Blackmoorfoot reservoir, walk clockwise around the reservoir to half way along the South bank. You will see the start of the Meltham Conduit, a manmade feeder waterway for the reservoir.

Meltham Conduit

The entrance to the pathway is just to the left, and follows the banking along. At this end, the conduit is quite wide, and has some pretty bridges for the sheep to get from field to field, there may be trolls underneath, I didn’t hang around to find out

In the distance, you can see West Nab, the prominant point on the skyline

 

This stretch along the conduit is about a mile and a bit.

It is relatively easy going between the 4′ high walls, which have steps built into them to assist your climb.

Be careful, one of them has a long step down, and several cross onto roads which are fairly well used. The views are stunning though, so its worth taking your time.

It can be a touch windy, there is not a lot to shelter you.

 Keep going until you come across an old set of lock gearing.

Hard to miss. At this point you are going to change direction from generally SW to roughly SE, it is here that you will come across the ladder, and you cross the spillway.

This shows the spillway, and the ladder, its below the level of the land to the left, so you get a bit of shelter, an ideal spot for a drop of #yorkshiretea

Back to the conduit, and the locals are quite friendly

 

The conduit gets smaller and eventually fades to next to nothing, you cross a stile and are left wondering where to go next. At this point you are on a road/track turn right and walk uphill to see the steep sided valley of Royd Edge Clough.

Then turn left and walk down the side of the valley. If its Spring, as it was when I did this, there are some really good opportunities for Easter Photos of Daffodils with Meltham in the background.

As you follow the path on a road, look out for a right hand turn which doubles back. The signs are there, but not easy to see. They get harder, there is a gate on the next corner, which gets hidden by parked cars. Make sure you go through this gate, then only a few yards further and you turn left in the valley bottom. You will believe that you have gone wrong as you go uphill along the path with overgrown tree roots and branches at head level, but its not for long and you get to a farm yard.

In this farm yard is an attack Turkey. I kid you not! For all the times you have had a Christmas dinner, this little bugger wants revenge! Maintain eye contact at all times, and don’t stop until you are past. I turned to get this info from the farmer and the little sod had me! You have been warned.

Back to the walk, and across the Wilshaw Road you enter Meltham Gardens, which is a restful 5 minute stroll, sheltered and shaded, and no Turkey.

Out of the Gardens and the Meltham Way goes Right and Uphill towards Thick Hollins Park. Or, alternatively take a left and walk along the bottom side of Meltham Mills. This naughty little detour reduces the walk by about 40 minutes, and because its Easter Sunday, and I have family to visit, I’m taking the detour.

I rejoin the Meltham Way by taking the second public footpath on the right hand side of the main road and follow the walk meltham signs right back to Blackmoorfoot reservoir

and then to the start point

…..This is my fourth Sunday of getting up early and going out for a little walk. Today started at 5:30am at Marsh,

Walking past Royds Hall, down into Milnsbridge

I took the Right Fork in Milnsbridge to cross Manchester road and head up to Colne Valley High and then the reservoir.

At dawn, with the birds singing away you get some good views out over the valley

 

and pass the church in Linthwaite.

Just before the top of the hill is a great view of the Colne Valley

 

The total distance was about 15 miles. I am starting to feel a bit fitter, although today was very windy, which made walking tough.

Along the way I detoured to keep to my self imposed training schedule, which as far as possible I try and follow without compromising on family life.

The reason I started doing all this walking is to increase my fitness levels, and to reduce my Cholestrol, but in recent weeks I have been training harder than before as I will be attempting the Yorkshire 3 Peaks #Y3P in May. I have taken on the challenge to support the RMBI

If you have enjoyed reading this, perhaps you would be willing to sponsor me with a pound or two? If you can Thank You! here is the link justgiving.com

It would also be really cool if you could +1 this page, share on facebook, twitter or instagram

Ainley Top to Chain Bar Roundabout – Part of the Kirklees way -12 miles

The Kirklees Way

This is the first section of the Kirklees way, starting from Ainley Top Roundabout in Huddersfield, and going clockwise on the route for about 13 miles, then dropping down to chain bar on the M606 to be picked up. This section of the Kirklees way will take about 5 hours.

The kirklees way is a big crcle around kirklees, but make no mistake, its not a circular walk. Bus links back to Huddersfield on this leg are flakey at best. To get home I needed to get my support time (Kate, my wife) to pick me up. Be prepared to grovel if you start this walk.

It is possible to park on a side street near Ainley top, or arrive by bus, but the best way is just to walk up from town especially if you are training for #Y3P.

The walk can be muddy, not just a bit, but seriously over the ankles muddy, so please be careful.

The Kirklees way follows a nice gentle downhill on a straightforward path down to Grimescar Dike and exits onto Grimescar road just above Birkby.  As is usual from most parts of Huddersfield, you can see the Victoria Tower on Castle Hill in the distance.

Take a breather, and get ready for a steep uphill section

At the top you can take in the view while you catch your breath

It is worth pointing out that the Kirklees way has been here for a while, so its not always going to be the modern circle with a yellow arrow that shows you the way. Some of the older ones can be less than obvious.

Some though are quite easy

The trail leads us onto the Huddersfield Golf Course, quite exclusive, this is probably the only way I will ever get on it 🙂 This morning I can see all the way to FerryBridge, Eggborough and Drax

And exit stage North

This was the last time on this walk that I could see my boots. Upper Cote Farm was very, very muddy

Heading generally West I walked through Upper and Lower Fell Greave, tricky, the way is not marked clearly, but you can trust your map. Another little bridge, watch out for trolls. I didn’t hang about

The second golf course of the day is Bradley

And you will have no trouble following the pathway down to the Leeds Road by Cooper Bridge.

The Three Nuns looks to be in the throws of a refit, and possibly a rename. Walk up the right hand side of it and you find yourself in a staggeringly beautiful area

which only gets better when you arrive in the picturesque village of Hartshead

Past the Church, turn left, then Right the Left again and follow the gentle slope down to that bridge over the M62 that you always wondered how to get to.

Eventually you will arrive at Whitehall road, where I turned Right to head down to the roundabout with the M606. There is a good sized layby here where you can be collected.

This is the third day I have set off early to train for the Yorkshire three peaks. There was some trepidation, because today is the first outing for my new boots. I have been breaking them in gently, but today was a real test.

The boots I have are Altberg Tethera made in Richmond, North Yorkshire, by Alt-Berg, who also make boots for the military. I have to give them a thumbs up, no blisters, and my feet were dry and warm all day. Top marks go to blackburns outdoor for the fitting service, Thanks Carol 🙂

#Y3Ptraining – Second day of endurance training – Scammonden

Last week I walked to Marsden, the first of my walks designed to build endurance for the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge #Y3Ptraining. This week, I am going a little further and introducing some incline to the walk. The route

This is a screeshot from my phone. The app is from Ordnance Survey, and it is superb!

In a nutshell, the plan was to walk uphill from Huddersfield to the motorway, cross the bridge to Outlane and keep going until I reached Scammonden, Make a circuit of the dam, and return over the moors to home.

Total Distance:  16 miles

Total Time: 5 1/2 hours

Pictures of the route

 

Early Morning start, so the M62 is deserted and its wonderfully quiet.

 

Open country public footpaths make it feel like a great adventure.

 

Eerily quiet at the dam

 

Decided to take a selfie!

The Locals were not sure what to make of me.

It was cold. 3’C going round the dam. I was wearing a 3 layer system of wicking base layer, fleece and windproof outer. As you can see from the selfie, I was down to base layer and still warm enough, lots of effort getting here up the hills. As soon as I stop I just throw the fleece on to keep warm.

I made this a long walk because I’m training for the three peaks, but Scammonden offers a couple of carparks and is a pleasent walk of about 3 miles around. Later in the day Kate decided she would like this walk, so we came back and I walked round again, just as the sun was setting.

At the end of this second day I have learned a couple of lessons.

Walking back over the moors got muddy. Trainers are not great in mud.

A hot drink of #yorkshiretea is great, but 1litre flasks get heavy quick!

and the tricky subject of sweaty areas. Walking produces heat, and you sweat. Cotton can absorb some moisture, but it holds on to it. After 10 miles the technical fabrics of the rest of my outfit are cool and comfortable, but the cotton briefs are less so. This will need to be thought about for next week.

Update, Rohan produce some base layer briefs in a style similar to the M&S ones I normally wear. A pair have been ordered.

#Y3Ptraining day 1 – return – Huddersfield Narrow Canal to Milnsbridge

I took photos of the locks on the way back. I will be writing a post with those another day, so for now, you just get one, and a couple of videos.

www.justgiving.com

Footwear:I am still wearing the old faithful Merrel training shoes, my new boots are in the process of being broken in.

Socks: Bridgedale Trekker

Base Layer: Craghoppers Shirt

Mid Layer:  Craghoppers Fleece

Top Layer:  Craghoppers Aquadry Waterproof

Trousers:     Craghoppers Kiwi

Pack:           Craghoppers 15l day sack

At the end of the walk, I am feeling totally knackered. Feet are hurting, and shoulders too. Long hot bath for me.

Total distance 14 miles,

Time taken 4.5 hours

Lessons learned?

Take a spare pair of socks, look for a pack with a waist belt.

Overall the kit I was wearing performed ok. I am sure that I was wearing too much, as there was a wicking tshirt under all the layers. The walk was not overly taxing, so overheating was less of an issue than it could be. For next week I will look to adjust what I wear.

#Y3Ptraining day 1 – outbound – Standedge, Marsden’s end of the tunnel

Sunday 6th March 2016

It’s Mothers Day today, but I won’t be visiting mine. Its the first day of endurance training for the three peaks #Y3Ptraining.

Why am i doing the #Y3P ?

I left the house at 5:30,

Milnsbridge Early in the morning

 

Its quite pleasant strolling along this early in the morning. It feels like you are the only person awake. And so quiet! If you only do it once, you should try getting up early, just to experience the wonder of it.

Slaithwaite

 Sun rise, and I am about 4 miles in, the hills above Slaithwaite are a beautiful golden yellow.

Not all the great views are the great vistas. Sometimes, you can find pleasure in seeing something that you would normally just walk past.

And sometimes all you can say is “thats weird”. Like the tanks at James Dysons, which were clad and painted to “blend in” with the surroundings. At 30′ high, I think the camouflage is spot on.

Eventually, the road walk brings you to Marsden, where you will find the locals walk in the middle of the road. Today, even though the forecast was for clear skies, it was snowing.

Having arrived at Marsden, you need to head into the town centre, then up to the “Railway” pub, which is by the canal. There is a 15 minute walk along the towpath to get to Tunnel End. Apparently the visitor centre opens in March.

Made it! First 7 miles done.

How does a Yorkshire lad celebrate?

A drop of the amber nectar #YorkshireTea

A quick bite of a sandwich, and we’ll head back along the canal.

Footwear:I am still wearing the old faithful Merrel training shoes, my new boots are in the process of being broken in.

Socks: Bridgedale Trekker

Base Layer: Craghoppers Shirt

Mid Layer:  Craghoppers Fleece

Top Layer:  Craghoppers Aquadry Waterproof

Trousers:     Craghoppers Kiwi

Pack:           Craghoppers 15l day sack

Along with Craghoppers hat and gloves

So, half way through today’s endurance walk. I am feeling fit, and reasonably pleased with the clothing. Only niggle is the pack, which seems to be pulling on my shoulders, like it needs to be wider.

I will detail the return leg in the next post.

 

I am in training for the Yorkshire 3 peaks

The story so far:

On the 2nd October 2015 I quit smoking, helped tremendously by the NHS “Stoptober” campaign. Then, like so many others, I gained a few pounds, which were added to my considerable bulk (16st 8lbs) At 5’9″, Obese, possibly morbidly obese? Long story short, a blood test early December showed cholesterol at 6.6 and some other numbers, and possibly diabetic too.

What better time to need to watch your intake than the Christmas holidays.

I am proud to be a Freemason, but the meals…..

I downloaded”myfitnesspal” onto the phone, and started watching what went in, and where I used the calories.

To achieve my 10,000 steps daily goal, I began walking to work some of the time. I was averaging 2,000 steps before, but soon was able to do my 10,000 without too much aching.

By the end of the year, the average was 12,000 a day.

I pushed a bit harder in January, partly because the weather was mild, and partly because I started enjoying myself. By Month end, I was up to 16,000 average, and 22,000 on a good day. Down to 14st 8lbs. Lost 2st Am I the only person dancing round punching the air shouting “I’m overweight! Hoorah!” BMI just touched 29.5, official, I am not obese anymore. #overweightandhappy

February was an odd month. The enthusiasm started to go, no weight being lost, generally getting bored.

To try and get back some oomph, I started this blog, to record my lunchtime walks, but there is only so much you can say about the same area and still be interesting. On the point of giving it all up, I saw a message in my inbox about the three peaks challenge.

I think I signed myself up without thinking it through.

I have now had a few days to read up on what’s involved, and what it takes to achieve this.

In equal measures I am excited, scared, confident and nervous.

I have worked out a training plan for the next 10 weeks and I am sharing what happens on Facebook. You can find me using #Y3Ptraining or #Y3P

Sunday, endurance training, walked 15 miles, loved it. Step count = 31,000, personal best, very chuffed. Feeling ok on Monday, which is a rest day, so only walked to work and back.

Any tips greatly received.
Wish me luck!

Castle Hill and Victoria Tower – Ancient (the monument or the walker?)

Distance: 3.75miles

Duration: 1 1/2 hours

Min/Max Elevation: 216′ – 890′

If you want great views of Huddersfield, you need to get up high. One landmark which stands out for this is Jubilee tower, on Castle Hill, so that’s where I’m heading. This walk starts and ends at the Subway sandwich shop on Wakefield road, and I availed myself of a 6″ to eat at the top of the hill.

 

There are a lot of different routes, but I chose this one as the most direct, I need to get there and back during my lunch break. After crossing the main road, Its a straight trek up Dog Kennel Bank, and keep heading towards the tower, which is visible almost all the way. You will pass Longley Nature reserve, which may be worth a look another day.

 

After passing through Lowerhouses, the road starts to look much more rural, and the wind can really rattle your bones.

 

I haven’t been up here for a while, and I was surprised at just how much work has been done. Kirklees have made a good job of making this a place worth visiting with the kids. Lots of info dotted about regarding the wildlife and the history of the hill.

Always a good idea to be prepared for a turn in the weather, a walk to Castle Hill is no exception, and true to form, it got colder, and wetter as I arrived.

This is at lunchtime!

My main reason for walking up here was the views, 

which didn’t disappoint.

I couldn’t enjoy them for long though. After enjoying my butty, its back the way I came.

This would be a more pleasant  walk if I had more time to explore around the top, and maybe take a different route back. If you can, make a day of it, you won’t be disappointed.

Castle Hill is a scheduled ancient monument. This is a big deal! Do not leave any litter here, you can’t take vehicles anywhere except the car park (why would you want to?) No Fires either!

Scheduled Ancient Monument

Scheduled Ancient Monument

Who stole the canal? Heading West from Aspley – 2 miles

On Facebook, the ability to walk from Aspley to Marsden on the canal bank was questioned, so yesterday, I decided to walk home that way and see what happened.

At Aspley, you can sneak under the main road, making it possible to avoid being killed by the traffic, always a bonus.

Go down a few steps

And into the tunnel


   

You will magically arrive safe, by the University

Leaving that part of the university behind, the canal changes to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. It was the Broad Canal up to this point.

 

Is this analogous with how we will change with all this walking? I quite like the idea of morphing from broad to narrow 🙂

Anyway, back to the canal, which we won’t have for much longer. Some serious metalwork supports the banking just prior to the canal entering a tunnel, which we can’t follow. There is a steel staircase which it is necessary for us to climb. Be really careful if it is wet or cold, this can get really slippy.

 

We can now answer the question. No, it is not possible to follow the canal from Aspley to Marsden, however, turn left at the top of the stairs, walk to the bottom of the road and turn right. Head to the Kirklees College building. Total distance away from the canal is 350m.

When you get to the college, you are back with the canal, and can continue along to Longroyd bridge.  

    

The Tow Path is well maintained, and tarmac all the way along this stretch.

At Longroyd Bridge, we will follow the left fork, and go under the main road via this short tunnel. Some thoughtful person even sign posted the route for us.

 

From here on, the route is really straight forward, but not for me, as this is part of my homeward walk, and I don’t live in Marsden. So I leave at sunset at Milnsbridge.