The Yorkshire 3 peaks is a walk that has been on my radar for a while, and not only mine, but also Mikes (GINGERBUSHCRAFT). Originally, the plan was for most of our Rat Pack group to make the trip to the Yorkshire Dales, and complete the 3 peaks over two days with a wild camp in the middle. Sadly it wasn’t to be, this was mainly down to other commitments. Also some lads did not want to risk it being a red hot day in the hills, as the days leading up to the weekend had been super hot, and not ideal for a 12 mile plus day. In the end the group was whittled down to just me and Mike, and after a quick chat, we decided to meet at 08:30 on the Saturday morning, in the village of Horton in Ribblesdale. Now being from Nottingham, the Yorkshire Dales are around three and a half hours away, so i decided to head up on the Friday after work.
Friday soon came around, and once i was home from work i started to pack the car. I loaded two sets of gear, one lot for the campsite, and another for the wild camp. I made a quick call to Holme Farm campsite to check availability, and to see if they’d still have the gates open at about 7pm. The news was good, they had space and they would also be open 🙂
As i got closer to Horton, it started to rain, and it was still raining when i arrived on the campsite at 18:50, thankfully it was only light rain. I quickly got my tent set up, and put everything in i’d need for the night, before then heading off to the reception to pay for my stay. After i’d paid, i made a quick call to my partner to let her know id arrived safely, and then decided to head to the pub for some food. The pub in question is the “Golden Lion Hotel”, and inside it was extremely busy. When i asked for food at the bar, i was informed they’d sold out…..gutted i thought 😦 Ah well, so i asked for a pint and found myself a place to sit. Now whilst i had phone signal, i didn’t have any internet, luckily the pub had free WiFi, so i put in the code and spent the next hour or so in the pub. After a couple of pints i made my way back to the campsite, i had quick bottle of beer id brought with me and a couple of sausage rolls before laying down on my bed to sleep ready for the next days walk.
The next morning, i awoke to the baaing of all the sheep in the neighboring field, it sounded like they were having quite the conversation. The good news though, was that it had stopped raining, i only hoped it would stay dry for the rest of the day. I made myself a coffee and some breakfast, before then packing all my gear away, and driving to the car park of the Golden Lion. It was a good job i was only next door, as the car park was already nearly full, and i was worried Mike may not get a space too. Whilst waiting for him to arrive, i shot a bit of footage around the village, and as i looked at the time, Mike came driving around the corner, perfectly on time. I pointed to where the car park was and quickly followed on to greet him. Thankfully he managed to squeeze in, and after a quick chat, we had our packs on and we were ready to hit the trail. It was only a short walk through the village to the beginning of the path. Pen-y-ghent was the first peak we would have to tackle, and it wasn’t far down the path before we saw the famous sign, designating the route we should approach from. With the red route selected, we made our way up towards the Pen-y-ghent, which was shrouded in low cloud. It looked as though we wouldn’t be getting any views from the top. Taking it nice and steady, we soon reached the base of the path up to the summit. I suggested to Mike that we stop for a quick rest before tackling the steep route, to which he agreed. After about five minutes, and letting a group of faster walkers in front, we decided to carry on up to the top. The southern end of Pen-y-ghent is shaped almost like two big steps, and this first part, whilst steep, isn’t quite so bad as the second half. After a steady plod up to the half way point, we decided to have another short break. We were soon back on the move again, and the higher we got, the worse the wind got, and as we entered the cloud, you could really see it moving past us at great speed, some of it forming droplets in my beard. The second half of the path is much steeper, and as we neared the top, we were forced to do a little scrambling. There was no major technical parts, but with a big pack on, it was still a little tricky in places. Thankfully we made the top in one piece, but we weren’t quite at the summit just yet. The summit was another few hundred meters or so away, but with the low cloud getting us quite damp, and with the wind howling through, we decided to put our coats on, and also our back pack covers. The way to the summit was a gradual incline, and seemed very easy compared to short sharp ascent we had just done. Sure enough we soon made the trig point, which we obviously had to have our photo taken with 🙂 The last time i came up, i stopped for lunch, this time however, we would be heading pretty much straight off. We did manage to stop just long enough for the low cloud to blow through though, and i quickly managed to shoot a bit of footage before more low cloud came back in. We made our way back down, and with one peak in the bag, it was time to make our way to Whernside. Not far from Pen-y-ghent is Hull pot, which was my destination last time i was in the area, so i asked Mike if he fancied a short detour to check it out, i was hoping that Hull pot beck would be flowing in to it this time. Mike agreed, so upon reaching the path, we made our way towards it. It was just my luck that it was dry again……..I couldn’t believe it!!! Though personally i think it was still worth the detour, it is after all a very impressive piece of the landscape. After a quick look around we made our way back to the 3 peaks route. We got around a mile further down the trail before we decided to stop for dinner. We found a really sheltered dip just off the path, that was almost totally out of the wind. I had my usual wraps, whilst Mike heated up a ration pack meal, and made both of us a cup of coffee out of the water he’d used. The weather did threaten to rain on us at this point, with a few spits in the air, but thankfully it held off. I had checked the forecast before coming out, and there was at least a 50% chance of rain all day, with a spike of 90% at a time i had completely forgotten 😉 With food eaten and coffee drank, it was time to carry on, and whilst the sky was very cloudy, the views were really good, when not on top of a peak. As we weren’t doing the 12 hour challenge, i didn’t have a route guide, but i did have my OS map and it was pretty well signposted. Not that it stopped me having a few map checks, hoping we were on the correct path, it wasn’t that i didn’t know where we were, i just wanted to follow the correct 3 peaks route. For a while the weather did start to brighten up, with even a few patches of blue sky daring to show their face, as we made our way through the beautiful rolling fields and across babbling streams as they snaked their way through the landscape. After some beautiful path miles, we joined the road for a short section, whilst the views were still great, i don’t really enjoy walking along roads. Thankfully it was only a short section, of roughly just over a mile, which took us to the Ribblehead viaduct. We stopped here for a coffee and a slice of carrot cake which Mike very kindly brought from the little mobile cafe ……. thanks Mike 🙂 We sat next to the stream enjoying the break, with a great view of the viaduct, just a short distance away. Feeling more refreshed it was time to carry on, we made our way towards the viaduct, and i remember saying to Mike, it would be great bit of video footage if a train went over. Well it seemed someone must have heard me, as about 5 minutes later a train came rolling down the lines. Grateful for the chance to film a train crossing the viaduct, we carried on. This next section followed the train lines for about a mile and a half, up to the Victorian aqueduct, where the stream crosses the train lines. As the crossing is so wide, with half for the stream and the other wide enough for farm vehicles, i didn’t immediately notice we were crossing the train lines. Perhaps if it wasn’t for Mike pointing it out, i may not have noticed at all! I was however in complete awe of the ingenuity of the Victorian engineering, it was very impressive. Shortly after crossing the viaduct, the route took a upward gradient. It was from here the route started to get harder, as we started the climb up Whernside, with the steepness of the path gradually increasing as we went on. Needless to say we had quite a few quick stops on this section, and we hadn’t even reached the really steep part yet. Yet again we were walking up to a cloud covered summit, but with the wind still quite bad, there was always a chance it could all change. As we made our way up the steep section to the ridge line, we entered the cloud, and at first visibility was very poor. However as we carried on, the cloud did clear for a short window, long enough to get a few pictures and some video footage. This short window soon disappeared, and by the time we reached the trig point at the summit of Whernside, visibility was back to nothing again. It felt great to finally reach the top, but we were also both very tired, this was Mikes longest walk by quite a long way, and one of my longest with a full pack. This was as far as we had planned to come on the first day, the plan now was to make our way down and look for a nice place to stop for a wild camp. This was easier said than done, as the route down from Whernside was extremely steep. The path, whilst having steps, (if you can call them that) were very uneven and stuck out all over the place, and it felt like one wrong foot placement and you’d be rolling down. This seemed a very real possibility for me, as my knees were really starting to hurt from the steep decent. After what felt like a very long time, we were nearly at the bottom, and for the last bit i thought i’d try the grass. I hoped it would be easier, but it wasn’t, as my foot slipped and i fell backwards, my hand stopping me from getting a muddy bum. Eventually though we were back on level ground, and the search for a wild camping spot began. As we were looking, we saw a nice big woodland, and thought it would be good to get that between us and the wind. As we approached via the road, we happened to see a field with tents in, we both looked at each other, perhaps not wanting to suggest it, but in the end we both decided to check out the campsite. The campsite was called Philpin farm, and it was only £6 per night. So we decided to set up on the lower side at first, that was until the midges started to eat us alive, so we decided to head for the higher and sightly winder end. This worked and we were soon tucking into our food. We didn’t stay up for long though, and after a couple of beers we had an early night, ready for the next days walk, and last peak, before returning to Horton-in -ribblesdale.
The next morning i was up early, we’d had a little light rain through the night, but it had stopped by the morning. I’d had my breakfast and my morning coffee, then packed most of my gear away before Mike got up at about 09:00. One of the campsite owners came through as Mike was preparing his breakfast, and as we hadn’t paid the night before, due to not being able to find anyone, we gave her the money now. We’d had a nice leisurely start to the day, and it was nice not to have to rush around, as we’d done most of the mileage the day before. We packed all our gear away, and got ready to set off to Ingleborough, the last of the 3 peaks, and just after 10am and we were back on the trail. Looking back at Whernside where we had been the day before, it was now clear of cloud, and it seemed it had moved to the top of Ingleborough………. typical! we thought. Undeterred we carried on, the first part being on the road, which led us to the path, where we saw a rather unnerving sign on entry to the field……. BULLS!!! Thankfully we didn’t see any, and on we went towards Ingleborough, passing through the nature reserve and the impressive rock formations of Southerscales scars. We soon reached the base of the climb up to Ingleborough, and if the route up had been a little steep so far to get here, then what we were about to climb was looking near on vertical. We decided to have a short break first, and also ate a snack bar for some quick energy. Normally i carry my camera on its tripod in my hands everywhere, but as this part was looking so steep, i thought it best to stow it in my bag, and get out my walking poles for this section. I was really glad i did, as the poles made it a lot easier, and after only a couple of short breather stops, we had done it. We then only had one more slightly less steep but a lot shorter section, before then crossing a few hundred meters of gradual incline, and then we’d made it. At last we were on the final peak, and it felt great to be on the summit of Ingleborough, and even better, the clouds had cleared!. We got the usual trig point shot, and then had a good wander around, taking in all the views, as the sky had cleared a lot and we could see the other 2 peaks from our vantage point. Out of all the peaks we spent the longest on Ingleborough, mainly due to the clearer weather and amazing views, but it was still really windy up high, so we decided it was time to head back to Horton. It was downhill all the way now, but not so steep as to be painful to the knees. We had one last look at Ingleborough, before it disappeared behind the rolling ground behind us as we got lower an lower. By the time we were into the last 3 miles the weather was the best it had been all weekend, we were out of the wind, and the sun was out making the last stretch quite hot work. After so many miles the day before, my feet were quite sore across the balls of my toes, and i was forced to stop a few times on this last section, not that it was a massive problem with the nice weather. Even with the stops we were soon back in Horton, as we first passed through the train station, before then getting onto the main road and back to the Golden Lion Hotel car park. I must admit it felt great to take our bags and big walking boots off. Before leaving we had a quick drink in the pub, but only a coke as we both had long journeys ahead of us. We then said our goodbyes and set off on our journeys home.
So that is the end of this Blog, me and Mike had a really amazing time, and despite the low clouds on the summits, we were very lucky with the weather. I hope you have enjoyed reading this story of our journey, and if you made it this far down the page, thank you very much. As always i shall leave a link to the video of this trip at the bottom of the page . So thanks again for reading and until next time goodbye 🙂
Link below to my 3 peaks video