The Three Peaks of Yorkshire Challenge Walk

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The Three Peaks of Yorkshire challenge walk (not to be confused with the Three National Peaks) is a scenic 26 mile walk over three of Yorkshire's highest mountains, a walk which has to be completed within 12 hours.

The circuit takes in over 5200 feet of ascent and reaches the peaks of Pen-y-Ghent (2,277ft), Whernside (2415ft) and Ingleborough (2372ft).

Anyone who is reasonably fit can achieve this feat although it is strenuous and quite arduous in parts. There is a little section of scrambling up rocks on Pen-y-Ghent and a very steep ascent of Ingleborough which will take the breath away and get you sweating.

The challenge attracts walkers from all over the country and is very popular as a charity walk.

The first recorded circuit was completed in 1887 and I have been following suit since the mid 1960's.

I have completed this walk a total of 31 times now and I can honestly say that I have never been bored as there are new sights, sounds and vistas to see every time.

Weather plays a huge part of the day and this being Yorkshire, this can involve every sort of condition, often in the same day.

Due to erosion of the footpaths, which at one time were simply tracks across the moors and peat bogs, some parts now have duck-boards or stone paving slabs, so the going underfoot is much drier than it used to be.

The usual starting point is Horton in Ribblesdale, which has a car park and an additional field used for parking in Summer. An alternative is to travel by train to Ribblehead on the Leeds to Carlisle line and start from the Station Inn, going up Whernside first. There is also a tradition of wild camping in the field behind the pub.

The Pen-y-Ghent cafe at Horton in Ribbledale is the official starting point and walkers can clock in using an ancient machine before starting out and becoming a member of The Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club. This club was created by the then owner of the cafe in 1968 and is still in the same family hands.

The usual route is Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and then Ingleborough, but it can be completed in any direction and in any order.

Quite an undertaking then and one not to be undertaken lightly, but the sense of achievement to be gained by completing it is second to none.

Beautiful scenery, waterfalls, peat bogs, wonderful long range views (when not misty or raining) and great Yorkshire beers and food to finish, what more could one ask for?

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