Monday, July 07, 2008

In Yorkshire, If You Don't Walk In The Rain.....

...then you don't do walking at all.

As my car appears to have a length of wiring hanging loosely from its underside, my lovely wife offered to drive Lucy and myself up to Horton so we could have a go at the 3 Peaks. Lucy (lucky girl) is going trekking in Africa next week as part of a month long expedition so it was a good training walk for her.

We set off in overcast conditions at just past 7am and made really good time up and down Pen-Y-Ghent, we were back at the cafe at 9.30am. There had been a bit of mist and drizzle, and no view at all, on the top of the first peak. I don't know how many times I have climbed the 3 Peaks in summer, but as often as not they seem to be fog shrouded, windy and wet, and today was to be no exception.

We strode up the long and gently rising flank of Ingleborough in steadily increasing mist and rain, the wind was quite strong on the summit when we paused briefly to eat some of our packed lunch. Neither of us wanted to stop for too long on the top as the wind was cooling us down rapidly and we didn't want to get chilled before setting off again. The far side of Ingleborough is a right bugger, really steep, going down is much harder than coming up. A bit of tiredness has started to set in and you thump down with each step, I could feel a little bit of pain in my left knee and was trying to favour my other leg a bit.

We made it down into the next valley and the sun almost came out, it dried up and we stowed our waterproofs in our packs. Philpin Farm in Chapel-Le-Dale has a snack bar on a weekend to serve hungry and thirsty walkers, we stopped for a comfort break and ice lollies then pressed on up Whernside.

Whernside this year was almost identical to when I did it to years ago with Steve, the waterproofs were back on halfway up as a light rain set in, the the rain just kept getting harder. We didn't stop on the summit as the wind was driving the rain into our faces, stinging almost as if it were hail, the paths on the far side had turned in to streams.

Two years ago Steve and myself (and everyone else that walked up here) had to ford the largest of the streams between Whernside and Ribblehead, since then a foot bridge has been built close to the ford so we didn't have to plunge waist deep into the torrent this time around.

At Ribblehead the sun came out at last, we stopped for a break at The 4th Peak, the burger / bacon butty / tea van that has been here for 39 years, then did the dull and rather gruelling 6 mile road walk back into Horton where we had a couple of pints in The Crown.

Out time including breaks was 10 hours, so about nine and a quarter hours of walking for the 26 miles and thousands of feet climbed.

Well done Lucy, you're a good walking partner and great company and kept the pace up nicely, espcially on the steep uphill sections, good luck in Africa.

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