Three weekends ago, I made an attempt on Pen-Y-Ghent with Dave. We were not successful. I believe we made the right decision to abandon the attempt, but on the first available day, Sunday, we decided to have another crack at it.
This will be my 4th climb of Pen-Y-Ghent, the first two for the Yorkshire Three Peaks, the third we have discussed enough. Not once I have I actually seen the hill. It has always been shrouded in cloud, or hidden behind some weather. The day was glorious. Weather reports unbelievably good, both of us ready for it.
Even the awful Garbage (Garmin 🙁 ) Sat Nav could not spoil the mood. Of all the ridiculous routes, the damn thing took us off the main road and along a very winding B road. On the plus side though, we did get to see Malham Cove.
A mile or two from Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Pen-Y-Ghent could be seen towering above the landscape.
If only the weather holds, this could be great.
As before, we parked in the National Trust car park. If you are going to try this walk, remember to bring change for the parking ticket, it cost me just £5 for the whole day.
There are two popular routes to the top. The first start point you will see, as you walk past the Pen-Y-Ghent cafe, is for the longer, shallower route. We will be returning along this, but keep going a little further so we can follow the next sign, through the field by the church. What a difference 3 weeks makes! Lots of smiles and good cheer from Dave, the lovely sun heartening and warming us both. The field, firm under foot, incredibly dry, especially when I think back just a couple of weeks, how wet it was. The bedrock here is Limestone, so I guess that helps.
We made good progress, with Dave tending to race along faster than last time, maybe too fast carrying a lot of weight in radio equipment. Even at our “brisk” pace we seemed to be constantly overtaken. Bravely we soldiered on, taking only a few rest breaks (Dave) and photo breaks (Me). If that doesn’t cause him to add a comment below, nothing will 🙂
The path joins the Pennine way at a wooden gate, and today it was easily opened by just one of us, no need to battle the 70mph rain. Joy. Huge smiles from both as we pass the spot we turned around at last time, onwards and upwards.
Then for the scramble. Hands as well as feet for some parts of this, but it can be done by most people I think, given good rest breaks. On one such rest break, we met a very intrepid young lad, Henry, seen here kindly giving his dad a piggy back to the summit.
Mick, Henry and Daniella, what a lovely family. I’m sure that in years to come, they will remember this trip.
Last push to the summit….
or is it?
After the scramble has raised your heartrate, and deepened your breathing, you should, I feel, be right at the summit, however there is a 100 yard stretch still to do, a gentle paved slope. This nicely allows your pulse to normalise and your breathing to return to normal so you can look magnificent on your trig point selfie. Or you can collapse in a snotty heap before starting on the slope. Your choice 🙂
Other than “because its there” the reason we climbed up Pen-Y-Ghent was to play with some radio equipment. A few minutes after setting up the rudimentary shelter, we had the antenna rigged and we were in business.
The contacts came quickly on the 2m band, using Dave’s home made aerial. Contacts heard from as far away as Preston.
Then we upped our game, opting to try Short Wave on the 20m band.
This time we made contact deep into Europe, and even spoke to one person on a summit in the Alps, and one on an Italian mountain. If you want to play radio on a hill, you can find out more at SOTA.org.uk
This is the great view we hoped for and got.
After an hour or so, we started to pack up. It was Dave’s first chance to notice how crowded the summit had got. “Has a bus dropped off?” he asked, and I could see why, there were upwards of 100 people milling about. As you know, beautiful spot + great weather = crowds. With many a cheery hello, we wove through the throng to climb the stile and head back down. As we left, the wind got just a little stronger, and by the time we got to the crossroads, Pen-Y-Ghent had drawn the clouds around her again, no longer wishing to be gazed upon.
A detour from the route back to Horton-in-Ribblesdale gave us the opportunity to see Hull Pot. The largest natural hole in England. Impressive when we visited, I can’t help wondering what if we had made it in the storm three weeks ago?
As we saw it, dry, yet impressive. The water of Hull Pot Beck is flowing under the limestone.
This image is not mine, it is from YorkshireDales.org.uk
The last stroll back to Horton is on the Pennine Way, and we arrived at the cafe for a brew and photos before heading home. All in all a great day out.