Yorkshire Three Peaks

Just as it was getting bright enough to see, Matt and I set off from the café in Ribblesdale. Our clocking in time was 05:50.
Our first peak, Pen-y-Ghent had us out of breath right from the start. It had a very sharp incline and didn’t let up until we got to the first trig point. It was a bit of a scramble and the wind was picking up.
After the essential ‘summit selfie’, we started our descent towards the second peak. But before we could contemplate setting foot on it, we had a four hour hike to get there. The scenery was amazing and you could see for miles. Along our journey we came across a series of crevices and small waterfalls and we even sat down with a cold drink and a view of the Ribblehead viaduct.
Standing at 736 meters - the highest of the three - Whernside is considered a ‘long’ peak and it felt like we were on it forever before we even reached its trig point. The ascent was very gradual and required effort to maintain a good pace, but the views from the top were so rewarding. I could see Pen-y-Ghent which was partially tucked behind the daunting Ingleborough. At this point we had been walking for just over 5 hours and were quietly confident we could complete this in under the allotted 12 hours.
I set what I thought was an ambitious finishing time of under 10 hours, but Matt - having done the Three Peaks Challenge a few years before in a cool 10 hours 2 minutes - was like a man possessed. He was gunning for the 9 hour mark.
Looking up from the base of Ingleborough, I could see the slabs of concrete which lead to the top. As we moved on, more and more of the route came into view and I could see the vertical zig zag climb which would take us up and over and to the right. The time was 13:25 when we reached the final trig point.
Matt asked me if I wanted to stop and rest but I said no; by this point I could smell victory and I wasn’t going to let a five minute rest add on to my time. So with that, we headed back down over the other side and started a slow jog back to the village. It was still quite a ways away but what’s another 4 miles when you’ve already walked 20?
Staggering back into the café 9 hours, 9 minutes since we were last there, I exceeded my expectations and Matt had smashed his previous record. Exhausted smiles all round. WORDS BY CATHERINE