The Yorkshire Three Peaks is the original three peaks challenge. Dependant upon the precise route taken it is around 25 miles in length with around 1,600m (5,250ft) of ascent. The walk covers Pen-y-Ghent (694m/2,277ft), Whernside (736m/2,415ft) and Ingleborough (723m/2,372ft) which nestle in the heart of the Pennines. They are usually tackled in that order with a starting point in the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale though there are two other suitable starting points.
The first recorded ascent was in 1887 with a time of 10 hours. Generally the challenge is considered to have been achieved if the round is done in less than 12 hours. October is not the ideal time of the year to attempt this because of the weather and shorter daylight hours (but on the other hand you avoid the hordes who attempt the challenge in the summer months). But (showing my age here) the challenge is not quite as it was. Due to the popularity of the walk and the consequent erosion caused by the thousands of feet, parts of the route over the bogs have been made easier with flagstones laid or boardwalks constructed. In years past there was nothing like crossing the strength sapping bogs where one might regularly sink up to one’s thighs in some fetid oozing patch of peat and sphagnum moss – ah those were the days!
The record for the round is under two and half hours – which is a mind-bogglingly fast 9.6mph – set by a fell runner. There is also an annual cyclo-cross race over the three hills which I managed to coincide with on the last time I did the round. So the dog and I had to dodge bikes hurtling down Whernside on that occasion.
Well a ridge of high pressure passed over the north of the UK today. So with the weather set fair, if chilly, I decided to take the dog and have a go. Prior to this year I had done the round five times. This year I had done it twice before today, the first time with my brother Peter. Indeed today was the third time in the last five and a half weeks! All part of the attempt to get fit you understand.
The forecast was right and I managed a sub-nine hour round. Here are three short video clips taken from the top of each hill.