Dales Three Peaks
Sunday 1st April 2007
Nine members of GMC set off on Sunday 1st April 2007 to take on The Three Peaks. The day was blessed with clear blue sky but a stiff wind made it hard going at times on the tops.
The tradition is to complete the walk under 12 hours but the target for us was around 10. Leaving the car park in Horton-in-Ribblesdale at 8am the first peak to be tackled was the 'Crouching Lion' of Pen-y-Ghent.
At 694m, this is probably the easiest of the three peaks not due to it being the lowest but it is the least demanding climb. The team were really flying and reached the summit in a little over an hour.
The name Pen-y-Ghent has Celtic origins meaning 'hill on the plain' or 'windy hill', the later being the most appropriate on this occasion. The stretch between P-y-G at Whernside is the longest and flattest bit of the walk but there is a 3 mile section of boggy ground with no regular path that makes going tough and if you're not careful, wet!
Lunch was had by the stream near the Ribblehead Railway Viaduct which dominates valley.
Completed in 1876 after 5 years of construction it cost at the time a massive £3.5M and at its height was worked on by 6,000 navies. It is just by the stream that the navies had their wild west style camp.
Lunch probably lasted slightly longer than scheduled so the pace was quickened up Whernside.
At 736 it is the highest peak in Yorkshire and the wind was really blowing as the summit was approached.
Fantastic views were on offer south to Yorkshire and north into Cumbria making it well worth the climb. A quick stop at the top followed by a pretty fast decent and then it was in to the pub at Chapel-le-Dale for welcome pint.
Now there was only Ingleborough to go and this is probably the toughest part of the walk due to the step assent and tired legs. That said pretty rapid progress was made and it wasn't long before the wide plateau was reached, a height of 724 meters.
Evidence of an iron age fort has been uncovered at the summit and legend has it that the locals used to have chariot races there, though judging by the rugged surface they must have had pretty strong wheels. After a quick rest and a couple of photos (see enclosed) the 5 mile march back to Horton got under way.
By this time we knew we wouldn't quite make the target of 10 hours but finally made it back in about 10 hors 30 minutes. Finally a well earned drink in the pub at Horton at the end of a very pleasant 25 miles walk in the beautiful Yorkshire dales.
Report by Richard Bramham