St Catherine's 3 Peaks Challenge
Walking a complete round incorporating the Three Peaks of Whernside (736m), Ingleborough (723m) and Pen-y-ghent (694m) is the UK’s most popular challenge walk. It covers a distance of 25 miles/40k and along with the height ascended of 1600m is just about what a reasonably fit walker can do in a day.
On Saturday 30th September St Catherine’s Hospice is organising a Three Peaks Challenge as part of its fundraising effort. St Catherine’s like many hospices is a charity which is held dear in many people’s affections. I think there are two reasons for this. First many of us have had friends or relatives who have been looked after by the hospice in the final days of their lives. Second it is not hard for us to imagine ourselves in that situation and so would want to be cared for in the comfort and dignity that hospices provide. This is why we respond so positively to fundraising events.
Readers interested in participating need to know that the minimum sponsorship sum is £250 with a £50 deposit paid by 1st September. This will ensure the costs of the day are covered at the same time guaranteeing much needed funds are raised for the hospice. On registration you will receive an information sheet providing advice on training, equipment and the schedule for the day. Readers not interested in accepting the challenge might consider supporting someone who is and sponsoring them generously.
Next month I will feature two training walk routes to help prepare readers who sign up for the challenge.

Start: Chapel le Dale LA6 3AR
 

Fact file: Distance: 40k or 25 miles

Time: Between 8 and 10 hours depending on your pace.

Summary: Given the distance and 4,500 feet of ascent it is safe to state this walk is strenuous.

Map: OS OL2 The Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas although unnecessary since participants will be guided around the route.

 

 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

Directions: Likewise these are unnecessary as walkers will be divided into groups of approximately ten each with their own guide. However what follows is a course description that hopefully conveys a sense of what is involved.

 

From the car park the route joins the road in the direction of Ribblehead. After passing the Hill Inn turn right onto a footpath that soon after climbs onto an area of limestone pavement heading in a south westerly direction. After crossing a wall the trail turns resolutely towards the first objective of the day - Ingleborough. The way becomes steeper as a fairly direct path takes you up the flank below Green Hill to reach the ridge. Here you'll turn right following a rocky path bringing to the edge of the summit plateau. "Plateau" is apt - not a peak in sight.

 

The trig point is about 300yds to the west close to a stone shelter.

Yours is not to linger. Return to the edge of the plateau and a little to the right of the upward track take the rocky path that leads towards Horton-in-Ribblesdale to the east. This follows the flank of Simon Fell becomes less rocky and gives wide views across a magnificent limestone landscape.

 

The descent to Horton is straightforward though as you pass through the limestone pavement at Sulber be prepared for some awkward stretches over rock - have a care as limestone becomes quite greasy in damp conditions.

At Horton pass the station to join the main road through the village. Past the church

 

turn left onto the lane taking you to Brackenbottom. ½ mile up the lane a footpath on the left leads up to the second peak - Pen y ghent.

 

After 1 ¼ of effort there is a brief respite as you gain the ridge before completing the climb up the sharp end of the hill.

Now briefly on the Pennine Way after touching the trig point

 

go through a gate in the wall to start the long leg to Ribblehead. Years ago this was a section that was notorious for its boggy character. In recent times the track has been greatly improved aiding progress and route finding. Keep to the main track as it crosses Horton Moor to Birkwith and Ingham Lodge. Once on the road it's an easy stride to Ribblehead.

The route to the top of Whernside is less direct taking you past the majestic viaduct

 

and past Bleamoor Tunnel entrance to swing round Winterscales Pasture onto the whaleback ridge of Whernside. At the trig point

 

on the far side of the summit wall you'll be on a high having bagged the final peak - with just the small matter of returning to the starting point. Return to the main track and continue along the ridge for ¾ mile

 

to where the main track heads down to Bruntscar. From here Philipin lane will take you back to Chapel le Dale.

For more information about St Catherine's Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge contact Norman Cutler on 01772 323540 / norman.cutler@stcatherines.co.uk
Also check out www.stcatherines.co.uk