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.


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:


          • 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

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