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Whernside: My Favourite Hike

March 8, 2017 Comments (0) Interesting, Video

Yorkshire Three Peaks Charity Hike

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Yorkshire Three Peaks Charity Hike

On Saturday 26th July 2014 I attempted to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks, which consisted of climbing the three highest peaks in the Yorkshire; Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside (the highest), and Ingleborough. The route is approximately 24 miles in length, with an ascent total of almost 5,000ft.

On Saturday 26th July 2014 I attempted to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks, which consisted of climbing the three highest peaks in Yorkshire, for charity. Take a look at the video and read my take on the whole experience.

This was to raise funds for the Saying Goodbye charity, who offer support and services to those who have suffered baby loss at early pregnancy/birth, something that my wife Sara and I have personal experience of. Accompanied by my brother in-law Simon, and with my wife and son Ben providing ground support and refreshments-refills on a swelteringly hot day, this video show you how we got on hiking the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

Little did we know that we had chosen the hottest day of the year to attempt this challenge; temperatures reached 27°C (80.6°F), and not being at the height of peak fitness (ok, that was an understatement!) I was beginning to think that this may have been a bad idea. But, it was for charity…so, sticking out my chest (and my moobs…I must lose weight!), we set off for Pen-Y-Ghent.

Surprisingly I made it to the bottom of the actual ascent up the mountain in my best time, which filled me with some much needed reassurance…even cockiness. This soon disappeared, as Simon and I headed on up Pen-Y-Ghent, the first of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. It is worth mentioning at this point that perhaps Simon was not the ideal match for me as a climbing buddy; he was as lean as a racing-snake, almost all muscle, and a Muay Thai, Brazilian Jui Jitsu and MMA practitioner …oh yeah, and he’s a former trainer for the military. Me on the other hand was like a champion racehorse; carrying more weight than everyone else, albeit natural weight.

Eventually we reached the trig point, had a little rest, and took in the views; we seriously have some beautiful countryside in Britain. Before you could say supercalifraji…that long word from Mary Poppins, we were off, this time heading for the highest of the Three Peaks; Whernside.

Talk about a long slog (can you tell this was the first time I had done Whernside?). The walk from Pen-Y-Ghent to the Ribblehead Viaduct seemed to go on forever. At this point we managed to get in contact with Sara and Ben via the walkie-talkies we were carrying…and they let us know that we were not too far off from where they were waiting with refreshments and food.

The heat, the sun were relentless.

After some drinks and food Simon and I once again put our best foot forward and made our way towards Whernside. There were throngs of people either coming up or heading back down the track from Whernside. I was by now sweating like a sweaty thing, but luckily every so often I had the chance to soak my cap in a freezing, running stream. Bliss. Whernside meanwhile was acting like the horizon; it never seemed to get any closer. But, finally it loomed upon us…albeit slowly, and always at a slight incline!

After stopping to take in the wonderful views of the lake/pool at the foot of the mountain, we ascended to the trig point. Aaaaand rest. Ok, things were amazingly hot, sticky, and humid…but I felt ok-ish. Then we started to descend.

My legs were becoming like lead stalks, and needed increasingly more coaxing to lift them high enough to walk above the jutting, uneven terrain beneath my feet. In fact at one point as I was heading down a particularly steep, tricky set of step-like rocks, I managed to put my foot down sideways, flush against a rock…and by some miracle (literally) managed to regain my balance, preventing myself from pitching headfirst down the rest of the section. My feet were also becoming sore…and hot…and uncomfortable.

As a grim reminder of what I nearly ended up doing, the mountain rescue/air ambulance helicopter came in to view, and landed on Whernside top; we later learned that someone had pitched over and broken something (ankle or leg, maybe), and had to be airlifted off the mountain.

At this point we had been walking approximately 10hrs, and I had gone through 10ltrs of water. My legs had given in, and I was finding that it was taking all my concentration just to walk in a straight line, such was the tiredness in my legs and feet. My mind wanted to go on…my body couldn’t.

Still, as Meatloaf famously sang: ‘Two out of three ain’t bad’…for an unfit bloke’s first-time attempt. In fact, looking back now on the whole day some three years later, I quite enjoyed it!

postscript: Simon went on to complete all of the Yorkshire Three Peaks after I had to graciously withdraw. Nice one pal!

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