It's a bit of a drive for us to the area so we wanted to do a 2 day hike in the area and as thus far we had only climbed Ingleborough it seemed reasonable to climb the other 2 of the three peaks.
Most folks aiming to complete the Yorkshire three peak challenge in a day will start at a campsite in Horton-in-Ribblesdale. This sits under Pen-y-Ghent which most will then tackle as their first peak. We would use the same site as most, but walking to it with our camping gear from the Ribblehead viaduct via Whernside and Ingleborough.
Pen-y-Ghent to Ribblehead viaduct would be day 2.
The Ribble head to Whernside phase of the hike was a pleasant start to the day, albeit with lots of company which for some (myself included!) can detract from the joy of hiking into the hills.
Throughout the walk we saw a lot of people that were taking part in a charity challenge 3 peak walk. Many of whom seemed inappropriately attired to my eye for such a walk (trainers and jeans anyone?!).
Descending Whernside is a painful experience. Lots of stones arranged to protect the path but it is so steep in places it can be rather unsettling, glad I had the poles with me to help balance, but still suffered from knee pain I seem to get a lot when descending steeply.
Navigation really isn't a problem, just follow the well trodden/well defined path.
Following the path to Ingleborough we came across a small shop (think roadside burger van) selling various snacks and drinks but also amusingly 'new dry socks' at £1.50 a pair. I guess they see a lot of unprepared walkers doing the this route too!
A break here to refill the water bladders and we start towards Ingleborough. Then the rain starts. We slowly climb the West side of Ingleborough with masses of 3-peakers in the rain, we are at least comfy and warm in our waterproofs. I wonder how the guys in jeans and trainers were feeling at this point.
By the time we got to the top of Ingleborough it was shrouded in fog, as it was last time we were here. one day we'll get to see the view from the top!
The second peak climbed, it's time to head for the campsite. So we have to double back on ourselves for a few hundred metres to find the right path heading east off the soggy hill. There is a 1 metre high stone that marks a fork in the path, to the left was where we came from, to the right the way to the campsite.
We went right. As did the people behind us.
I looked back and commented to them that I hope they weren't following us as we may not be going where they wanted to - they had indeed chosen to follow us on the assumption we were doing the same route. Lucky for them this time we were.
As we got close to the train station in Horton, we were kindle instructed by one of the charity marshalls that "the end is just over the ridge". Again, someone assuming that everyone that on that path was doing the same thing, stopping in the same place etc.
Soaked through we got to the campsite and setup for the night. The rain/wind/sweat had beaten my Paramo Alta ii jacket.
Today was all about Pen-y-Ghent and the seemingly never ending hike from there to Ribblehead (and the car we left there).
After heading up the path opposite the cafe in Horton, we came to a fork in the path with a sign telling us left for long and less steep route or right for short and steep. This time we went left.
The climb was lovely and we enjoyed a cracking view from the summit, after a short lunch break we decided to move on before the threatening rain arrived. Which it did just as we got off the peak.
Rather than head back down the path we came up, we forked off and headed down the wetter route into the bogs at the foot of Pen-y-Ghent. We lost a lot of time here trying to navigate the bogs and came to understand why so many of the charity walkers were as filthy as they were - it must have been like a scene from a wilderbeast migration when the masses hit this bog/water crossing!
Very pleased with my new Scarpa SL boots. Stayed bone dry throughout the bog-trotting! For the next mile or two it was all about the mud/bog. Thankfully the sun had come out, I think rain at this point would have spoilt the walk.
Now it was just a matter of following the long winding path back to Ribblehead. As it was into the afternoon now, we didn't see anyone else for most of this section of the walk - the charity walkers had either been through earlier today as they take on Pen-y-Ghent first thing in the morning or they had been through the day before.
We weren't complaining. We finally had what we enjoy most in our hill walks, a bit of an escape from the crowds of city living.