Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge 2008 - in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support

Photo of the Stewart on Pen-y-ghent summit On Sunday 3rd August 2008 Stewart completed the The Hairy Hikers Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, by reaching the summits of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in less than 12 hours.

Hairy Hikers: Stewart with support from Paul (Start to Ribblehead Viaduct) and Phil (Ribblehead Viaduct to Old Hill Inn)

Guests: Kelly Thornham and Lindsey Lambert (Ribblehead Viaduct to Old Hill Inn)

Support Team: Lindsey Connell, Kevin Moorhouse and Nicola Jacques

The Route: From the Pen-y-ghent cafe they turned right and by the Church went up the path and followed the track up to Brackenbottom and then up the foothills and over a few stiles until they reached the final steep section to the summit of Pen-y-ghent. By this point Stew was still very fresh and ready for the big challenge ahead and Paul was his usual self with comments like "1 mile down 23 and a half to go", which Stew ignored. They pressed on and up into the low clouds covering the summit. At this point all three of the peaks were covered in low cloud.

Only stopping a couple of times on the way up Pen-y-ghent saw the dynamic duo reach the summit of Pen-y-ghent in 1 hour and 10 minutes. At the summit Paul took the usual picture of Stew by the trig point (no British Heart Foundation checkpoint this week). The summit was quite busy and Paul noticed a group of girls, one of them wearing a Bradford City shirt. He said to them "You can't go anywhere without seeing someone else from Bradford and them City shirts get everywhere", it turned out they were the Bradford City Ladies team. Last week (Saturday 26th July) when the rest of the Hairy Hikers took on the challenge, they met a chap who was originally from Bradford on the way down Whernside, small world. One peak conquered, two more to go.

Stew laid down the gauntlet by saying to Paul "let's run down this next bit". Paul knowing that he was only doing the 10.5/11 miles to Ribblehead casually accepted the challenge and off they went. In no time they came to the hairpin bend and instead of going round the bend and attempting to cut out the bogs of Black Dub Moss, they headed straight forward along the traditional 3 peaks route. The grassy path was very boggy after all the rain during the week and overnight, so care was taken descending (no more running from here on). The Dynamic Duo sprang over a stile and set out on the path across a field. There was a bit of an "oh poo" moment (the actual words spoken were a bit stronger than that) when they clambered over another stile and reached what can be described as a small river or big beck, which was quite fast flowing due to all the recent rainfall. The water level was above boot height at the traditional crossing point, so they ventured up stream a bit to try and find a narrower place to cross. After a few minutes it became clear it was boots and socks off time. Stew whipped off his boots and socks, but Paul being clever or stupid (I suspect the later) tried to cross on some partially submerged rocks, he did ok until one rock was a bit too submerged and the water went over his right boot. Paul then filmed Stew crossing to his amusement (see video below). Stew dried off his feet as best he could and then they carried on.

They headed up a hill on the slightly muddy path and found out the reason why Black Dubb Moss is notorius for being called a boggy quagmire. To the amusement of the two intrepid Hairy Hikers a chap tried to jump a bog and slid landed short then fell forward up to his thighs, nice. A careful approach was taken and the pair reached the point where last weeks outing joined the path. Last week it was a dry mud path, this week it was a muddy stream like path. The two Hairy Hikers reached the boggy stream with the wire fence accross it that last week had a poor chap with an arm in the bog up to his shoulder trying to recover a shoe. Once accross this, the boggy area was mostly behind them. They followed the path and after a while came to God's Bridge over Brow Gill Beck. After crossing the beck and passing Nether Lodge they eventually came to the road and walked along it for about a mile to reach the first Checkpoint just by the t-junction where Paul would retire and Phil, Kelly Thornham and Lindsey Lambert would take over. It took 3 hours 45 minutes to reach the first checkpoint from the summit of Pen-y-ghent.

Photo of the Stewart on Whernside summit After a 15 minute break for a bite to eat, a quick drink, a change of socks and re-stocking of food and drink for the next section, they set off heading for the Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside beyond. Stewart and Phil plus guests Kelly and her sister Lindsey, departed for Whernside in much more favourable conditions than the previous week's scorching heat. Leaving the first checkpoint, passing by the viaduct and up past the Blea Moor signal box. Aside from Phil's failed attempt to leap over a large puddle - soaking his boots and bottoms of his trousers in the process - the climb was largely uneventful, but the rain of previous days had made some of the steps a bit slippy, so care had to be taken in ascending them.

The pair, followed closely by the sisters, stopped just short of the stile which bears to the left for a breather. Phil enjoyed one of his now world famous banana breaks while Stew opted to top up his fluid levels and nosh on Fruit Pastilles. Fed and watered, they then pressed onwards over the stile and up towards the summit of Whernside, where last week's decomposed sheep now resembled a putrid rack of lamb. Reaching the summit in around one and three quarter hours, the two hairy and the two not-so-hairy hikers, stopped for the obligatory snack break and snaps by the trig point before the girls led us off on Phil's favourite part of Whernside - the descent.

Having never experienced the mountain's tricky downward path before, Kelly and Lindsey descended surprisingly swiftly, while the hairy hikers trod more carefully; Phil, walking pole at the ready, keen to avoid a repeat of his tumble from weeks ago and Stew feeling some pressure on his knees. Successfully down the winding path, the hikers carried on past the farm buildings and the Philpin snack bar to the second checkpoint, recording an impressive time of 2 hours and 55 minutes and leaving Stew more than adequate time to take on Ingleborough, the final part of his epic trek.

Photo of the Stewart on Ingleborough summit Stew stopped for another 15 minute break to change socks, eat and drink and re-supply again before setting off alone for the last section. He passed The Old Hill Inn and over a stile onto the path up Ingleborough. Stew came accross some fellow 3 peakers that he and Paul had seen earlier in the day and got chatting to them. He made good time onto the summit of Ingleborough and continued to do well on the descent back to Horton in Ribblesdale. After the eventful first section invloving Black Dub Moss the rest of the walk seemed dull in comparison and before long Stew was met by Paul and Lindsey Connell on the hills just above Horton in Ribblesdale to escort him back to the Pen-y-ghent cafe. From the second checkpoint at the old Hill Inn to the finish at the Pen-y-ghent cafe, it took Stewart 3 hours 5 minutes.

Stewart recorded a time of 10 hours and 30 minutes, well ahead of the last week's time recorded by the rest of the Hairy Hikers. So it was off to the Crown Hotel for a drink and some pub grub, where we were joined by Gav and Laura. Paul and Gav have discussed having another crack at it after the oldest Hairy Hiker comfortably beat their time, but that is for another day.

Update: Paul took on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge again finishing in 11 hours 20 minutes on Sunday 19th July 2009 in aid of Great Horton Methodists Cricket Club and Macmillan Cancer Support.

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