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

Photo of the Hairy Hikers on Pen-y-ghent summit On Saturday 26th July 2008 The Hairy Hikers completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The team raised a target busting £4120.66 by reaching the summits of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in less than 12 hours.

Hairy Hikers: Paul Jacques, Andy Lambert, Phil Sunderland, Gav Riach, Russell Parker and Matt Hintze. Stewart Buttrick was ill, so he completed it the following Sunday, see how he got on.

Support Team: Nicola Jacques, Laura Riach, Kelly Thornham and Lindsey Lambert (Kelly and Lindsey joined The Hairy Hikers up Pen-y-ghent then returned to Horton in Ribblesdale)

The Route: From the Pen-y-ghent cafe we turned right and then left 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 we reached the final steep section to the summit of Pen-y-ghent. The Hairy Hikers were in good spirits despite setting off 20 minutes late and missing Stewart who was ill and unfortunately was unable to join us. After pushing on through the boulder field and up the last scramble to the start of the last gentle incline we reached the summit in a good time (1 hour 18 minutes). At the summit we posed for the usual photo, unfortunately the British Heart Foundation were hogging the trig point with a checkpoint, which was rather inconsiderate to other people on the summit. One peak conquered, two more to go.

Photo of the Hairy Hikers on Whernside summit We continued down Pen-y-ghent along the well defined path and at the hairpin bend instead of going straight forward along the traditional 3 peaks route, we followed the path down until we reached the signpost that pointed left back to Horton in Ribblesdale or right to Hull Pot. We turned right and headed to Hull Pot where we headed along a faint track up into the moorland. This route is supposed to avoid the boggy Black Dub Moss area. All was going well until the track disappeared and we where faced by boggy moorland. We could see walkers on the traditional 3 peaks path a few hundred yards to our right, so we headed across the open boggy moorland and onto the path. We followed the path and came to a boggy stream like area with a wire fence across it on the right hand side. There was a chap with his arm up to his shoulder in the mud. Upon asking if he was ok, he told us he had lost a shoe in the bog, the poor fellow. We had to move a bit up to the left before trying to cross the boggy section. We crossed without incident and carried on. We passed various British Heart Foundation Checkpoints and came to God's Bridge over Brow Gill Beck. After crossing the beck and passing Nether Lodge we eventually came to the road. We walked along the road for about a mile to reach our first Checkpoint just by the t-junction. It took us 2 hours 52 minutes to get here from Pen-y-ghent.

After a short break involving a bite to eat, a quick drink, a change of socks and re-supplying with food and drink for the next section, we set off heading for the Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside beyond. We passed the all too familiar Ribblehead Viaduct and up the path by the railway line. We ploughed on passed the Blea Moor Tunnel and Force Gill waterfall and up to the stile over the wire fence. We stopped here for a drink and some grub as usual and let Russ get his breath back and recover from a stitch. We carried on up the steepening path passed the section of paving stones and up onto the spine of Whernside, passing a decomposing and rather bad smelling sheep just over the wire fence. Russ was now suffering with a painful knee, so Andy kindly lent him a knee support. We reached the second summit 2 hours 40 minutes after leaving the first checkpoint and after the usual photo, had a quick breather and refueled with food and drink before making our descent and on towards our second and final checkpoint. Two down, one to go.

Photo of the Hairy Hikers on Ingleborough summit Our descent of Whernside was uneventful. Matt and Russ were both struggling down with bad knees. We reached the double ladder stile at the end of the steep section and Russ said he may not be able to continue. We decided to see how he felt when we got to the checkpoint. Paul gave Russ some pain killers and a squirted some freeze spray on his knee. We carried on down and passed the farm at Bruntscar. We came to the Philpin snack bar where some of the guys purchased some supplies. Paul was sick of lucozade sport orange so bought a lucozade original for a change and Russ bought an ice cream and pint of orange squash, which half of ended up spilling on Paul's rucksack when his ice cream cone cracked. After a short stop we continued on the farm track to the second checkpoint at the roadside by The Old Hill Inn. From Whernside summit to the second checkpoint took us 1 hour 40 minutes.

We reached the second checkpoint and Russ decided to pull out, rather than struggle on and slow the rest of the team down and jeopardise finishing under 12 hours. We stopped for a short break to change socks, eat and drink and re-supply again before setting off passed The Old Hill Inn and over a stile onto the path up Ingleborough. Going over the stile Paul screamed out in agony, he had a nasty cramp in his right hamstring. After a short while and a few stretches he was ok to continue. We gradually climbed the foothills towards Ingleborough heading through limestone paving and passing a large pot hole called Braithwaite Wife Hole. We passed the crossed the boggy section with boards across it and finally came to the bottom of the steep zig zag path known as The Wall. We had a break at the bottom before making our steep ascent up onto the ridge. Paul suffered from cramp again, this time in his thighs, but he made it to the top. We had a break before pushing on up the final section onto the plateau of Ingleborough. We crossed the plateau and reached the trig point. The final peak conquered 2 hours after leaving the second checkpoint. Three peaks down, time to return to Horton in Ribblesdale.

After a short break we headed back down to the path to Horton in Ribblesdale. By now we where running out of time, our slower than expected descent of Whernside due to dodgy knees didn't help. We pulled out all the stops and motored down the path. We overtook a lot of people who where doing the walk for the British Heart Foundation. After a while Andy, Gav and Matt moved ahead slightly and Phil and Paul dropped off a bit at the back. We reached a signpost that said 2.5 miles to Horton in Ribblesdale, we had about an hour to get back before the 12 hour mark. Paul lagged behind the rest with Phil a bit in front of him and the others what seemed like way ahead. Eventually a signpost saying 1.25 miles to Horton in Ribblesdale was passed and then eventually Horton in Ribblesdale came into view. It was through the Railway Station onto the road and onto the path passed the pay and display car park and back to the Pen-y-ghent Cafe. Andy, Gav and Matt finished first with Phil a few minutes behind them and miraculously Paul came into sight with about 4 minutes left. Andy waited at the car park and told him to drop his rucksack and walking poles and run because he had about 4 minutes to get there. Paul immediately got cramp again when he started running but made it the last few yards and through the door to clock back in before collapsing on a table in agony from cramp in both legs. He made it with 3 minutes to spare! The total time was just under 12 hours.

All in all, a great achievement from the lads on what was a very hot day. Even though Russ did have to pull out, he still did well to complete two peaks and he has informed us he will give it another go in the future. Stewart completed his Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge on Sunday 3rd August, find out how he got on.

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