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8 Apr

1 Charity, 18 Walkers and 3 Peaks

At 7am on Saturday 2nd April, 18 intrepid hikers set out to climb Yorkshire’s 3 Peaks; Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

The walk was in aid of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s work with grass roots women and girls’ cricket.

A 13 hour trek, fighting against the elements all the way was documented by event organiser and YCF Assistant Project Officer, Joanne Swinbank.

4.27am – My alarm goes off bright and early with a hard wake up to follow, pitch black outside with the rain thrashing on my window… Today is the day to walk the Yorkshire 3 Peaks! All set and ready after a bowl of fruit and fibre.

5.02am – An hour and half drive to get to Horton in Riddlesdale the starting point for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge, with two sleepy passengers and only radio 1 Saturday night party music to keep me company.

6.30am – We finally arrive through the twisted country road; that’s when you know you’re in Yorkshire! Parked up to meet the rest of the sleepy looking 17 members walking the Yorkshire 3 Peaks with day light just about breaking through.

7.00am – After a quick pep talk from the tour guides letting us know the plan for the day… WE ARE OFF! Heading for the first peak Pen-y-ghent and the rain has finally stopped!

7.45am – My first feelings of the walk… tiring, not sure my body was quite yet awake to walk 25 miles but getting there. Everyone seems in good spirits and all seemingly in the right gear… for now. I was surprised at the sheer amount of other walkers taking on the peaks, all very friendly. Half way up the first peak and it’s raining hard. We meet instant thick fog making visibility poor and clothes pretty damp.

8.46am – After clambering up a steep last 50 metres, we make it to our first peak! People in great spirits with one of the group opening his first of three cans of beer – one per peak! The view is non-existent due to the fog and the wind is howling!

10.02am – The groups start to separate with the speedier walkers first and slower ones at the back. It’s a good 10 mile walk to Whernside, the next mountain. This is when we had our first walker suffer from the dreaded B word – BLISTERS! Our tour guide stepped in and took control of the situation, removing her socks and replacing them with plastic bags on her feet to stop the blisters rubbing on her boots. The rain keeps on coming.

11.37am – We see some civilisation… a farm! By this point it has been none stop rain soaking us through and making all parts of the body cold. Time to crack open the first packet of wine gums!

12.22pm – The Ribblehead Viaduct is in sight! A couple of us went to the pub to use the toilets and get warm! All the train times to Leeds were on the wall…tempting. We stop for a bit of lunch next to the viaduct but I wasn’t too keen to eat and very cold. A fatal error was made by one of the walkers who decided to take all of his socks off and on inspection he found a good couple of blisters. This proved to be a terrible mistake and one that would see a premature end of the walk for this poor hiker.

12.30pm – The long trek to the hardest peak I thought… the dreaded Whernside when things started to get seriously cold back into the thick layer of fog.

1.46pm – After a hard struggle to the never ending top of the peak in thick fog and freezing conditions, I thought my hands were going to drop off! Fatigue really started to set in and I can’t feel the back of my legs. We FINALLY made it to the top.

1.48pm – I wasn’t staying for long… my whole body froze up. I had to keep walking!

3.04pm – We make it to the bottom of the second peak after a hard rocky steep descent with feet and legs screaming and people very cold but morale was high. Lots of sweets and flapjack to keep people going.

4.11pm – The struggle is real! We’re two mountains down and one to go but a couple of the group are flagging. After another couple of miles of flat walking, through another farm and country setting we reach a pub – the last opportunity to quit. A tough call for many – quit and end the pain or walk on and complete the challenge.

4:30pm – 16 of the 18 walkers set off to confront our third and final peak – Ingleborough. Saying goodbye to our two fallen comrades and with the incessant rain in our faces, it was time to plough on.

5.28pm –It is amazing what your body can do when you don’t think it’s got anything left in the tank. On route to the final peak – we can do this!

5.44pm – As I stare at the large steep peak in front of me with a 50% incline, we all motivated each other to push on with the song ‘if I could turn back time, if I could find away’.

6.22pm – We have nearly made it!!! Thick fog and awful conditions, everyone is at their limit and freezing cold. Shock! It’s raining making the final peak a real challenge.

6.33pm – WE MADE IT! Ingleborough complete!! A group photo was had and high fives all round. Now for the 5 mile descent and get back to the carpark.

7.13pm – The last few miles are definitely the toughest. After hitting over 12 hours pretty much none stop walking, I was motivated and in high spirits throughout, but my body ached and I realised how hard and far another few miles would be with an aching body. Each step was pain.

7.55pm – WHERE IS THE END AND THE CARPARK!? The sun starting to go down with damp cold clothes on, I thought it would never end! Speaking to the tour guide, the conditions of our walk added another 4 miles… I am not sure how to feel!

8.14pm – WE HAVE MADE IT! My whole body aches and is so cold but we did it! A great accomplishment by all and a real sense of pride in myself for overcoming all the challenges we faced over the last 13 hours. Now get me to McDonanalds!!


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