What a great trip we had completing the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks in Three Days
Day One: Whernside “The Roof of Yorkshire” 736m/2415ft
A somewhat damp start from Ribblehead but “after a drought of half an hour there came a most refreshing shower” and so it continued throughout the day – well, it was an English Bank Holiday and therefore traditional! We met lots of fellow walkers “enjoying the atmosphere” as we crossed Batty Wife Moss (very appropriate) alongside the viaduct and climbed uphill past the tunnel entrance by way of the aqueduct bridging the railway line to approach the cloudbase sitting just above Greensett Tarn at 580 metres. There was no silver lining in the cloud but it was very windy. Lunch was taken adjacent to the summit trig point in the lee of the wall watching thirty-mile-an-hour fog, there was no view. Actually lunch was almost taken (stolen even) by a sheep and her lamb out scavenging, we have photos to prove it.
The descent was steep, wet and slippery down towards Bruntscar Farm and then through the fields back towards the Ribblehead Viaduct – some optimists were actually pitching their tents under the arches for protection from the elements. A quick drive back to our excellent accommodation in Ingleton, a shower, rest or shopping for those experiencing withdrawal, change of clothes and a pleasant meal in a local pub completed the day. It had actually stopped raining for our short walk to the pub and back.
Day Two: Pen-y-ghent 694m/2277ft
Popularly interpreted as Hill of the Winds we drove to Horton in Ribblesdale via Ribblehead to get the photographs we couldn’t on the previous day due to rain and low cloud. It was a much better day, sunny, dry and breezy. The ascent via the Pennine Way passing Hull and Hunt Pots en-route was straightforward with the stepped profile of the hill clearly silhouetted against a largely clear sky. Behind us were the huge quarries west of the Horton to Settle road. Crossing the “basket of eggs topography” of the drumlin field below the final steep ascent to the P-y-g and Plover Hill col led to the final ramp up onto the summit. A Cocker Spaniel dashed backwards and forwards in front of us for ages and covered miles whilst we climbed the last hundred metres and made us al feel inadequate.3 Peaks 027
Lunch at the summit, this time we had an excellent view, the visibility was exceptional. To the north we could just see the Civil Aviation Authority’s radar station on top of Great Dun Fell and the Cross Fell ridge line of the Eden fault. To the north north west were the flat plateau-like summits of the Howgill Fells, Wainright’s “sleeping elephants.” Further west again the skyline of the Lake District was distinct enough to be able to pick out the main summits. The tide was out in Morecambe Bay with lots of sand easily visible. We could pick out Grange Over Sands glinting in the sunlight and the location of Barrow-in-Furness too. The nuclear power station at Heysham looked positively close in the clear air, it was only 45 kilometres away. To the south we could see Pendle Hill in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but fountains fell blocked our view to the east.
After lots more photographs , including summit shots of the successful team and an incredulous one of someone cooking bacon for bacon butties (we were in Yorkshire after all) just around the corner we started the initially steep descent, thank goodness it was dry underfoot, unlike yesterday. It was a lot quieter as we made our way down Long Lane to Helwith Bridge and visit the local pub of the same name. With all, except the guide, suitably fortified we followed the Ribble Way over the floodplain back to the transport only getting wet briefly just before reaching the minibus. We stopped on the way back to Ingleton to photograph the double rainbow over Horton Moor which lasted much longer than usual. The evening events was a re-run of the previous one without the need to dry-out wet kit. Another good meal, lots of laughs and so to bed.
Day Three: Ingleborough 723m/2372ft
The weather on the final day was the best of the Bank Holiday with initially gin clear skies and distant views. We walked direct from our accommodation through the village and onto the hill at Storr’s Common overlooking Ingleton with good views towards the U-shaped glaciated valley of Chapel-le-Dale and the quarry. From her we could easily see the summit ridge of Whernside and the descent route we used on the way down two days previously in cloud and heavy rain! We passed the isolated farm of Crina Bottom just after squeezing aside to let a huge 4X4 American pick-up truck purr past us going down the “lane.” The almost horizontal outcrops of limestone and teh scars they produced stood out in the sunshine as did the limestone pavement above them. Quaking Pot signalled the steeper part of the ascent and revealed the substantial landslip on Ingleborough’s north-west corner. The summit plateau came in a rush and we spent a pleasant hour taking photographs throughout the 360° view before another lunch on another summit.3 Peaks 046
We’d achieved the Three Peaks in Three Days – hardly the twelve hour challenge event but a lot more enjoyable and form here we could see all of the weekend’s summits in one scan. The dappled sunshine and shade enhanced the views and much use was made of wide-angle lenses by the photographic experts! On the way down to Clapham we stopped-off to view the caving teams dismantling the winch system they use to lower customers 330ft (100m) into the cave below for a fee of £10! From there it was down through Trow Gill, a glacial overflow channel, past the commercial Ingleborough Cave and back to Clapham via the Clapdale farm track.
We had a brilliant time, the client mix was excellent and we had a lot of laughs. We seemed to have been together for a lot more than a long weekend (in the best sense of the term), a refreshing and enjoyable mini-break in dramatic surroundings with like-minded people – we even had fog-bathing as well as sunbathing included in the itinerary!!!!