Lake Pickering Circuit 2: Where’s my Pole?

Post 275: 19 July 2018, Circular Walk from Coneysthorpe near Castle Howard.

We were still on our ‘summer recess’ from long walks and with the hot weather persisting decided to do a local walk so as to finish before or soon after the heat of the midday sun struck us down with exhaustion.

It was with some sadness that we were transported in Alf’s second car, his ‘runaround’. It had recently passed 100,000 miles and after a joyous celebration of two minutes we were informed that it had a terminal illness and would not pass its next MOT. It had been suffering for years from a red warning light which usely means, if you continue driving, the engine will explode. However, this is not a normal car – air conditioning involves opening the windows. The red light hadn’t been a problem under the old MOT rules but, under new rules recently introduced, on its next MOT it will be seized and transported to a scrap yard in somewhere like Siberia. Given that we are keen environmentalists,  unlike Trump, and like most of us is trying to save the planet Alf has no choice but to accept the outcome. The new MOT rules are something to do with car emissions. Now we are not saying that Alf’s car doesn’t give off emissions and we agree that given that is well over 10 years old it can’t compete with the emissions of newer cars, especially VW’s where the figures were ‘doctored’. Hopefully, following huge fines in America, this has been stopped.

We turned off the A64 at the much improved junction leading towards Castle Howard. It has a reputation for being a dangerous junction if coming from Castle Howard as cars hurtle along the A64 at 70-80 mph desperate to get to the coast asap after having being stuck in traffic jams for hours around York. Our quick assessment of the junction is that it is still dangerous and so we will be returning by a different route. Highways seems to love spending a few millions on improvements that are tinkering with the  problem rather than doing a proper long term solution; yes cheaper in the short term, but not in the long term.

Arriving at Coneysthorpe we donned our boots and I started looking for my trekking pole. I remember leaving the house with it in my boot bag but it had disappeared. It is strange that when you get to a certain age inanimate objects around you suddenly begin to have a life of their own and seem to move from where you left them. We have a set of car keys in the Lake District because when visiting friends there recently I put my wives car keys down on a book for her to collect and half way back to Yorkshire we realised we hadn’t got them. After much searching by our friends they found somehow the keys had moved from the book to down the back of a sofa. Incredible. It’s a good job our friends are visiting us soon and will return them.

So without my trekking pole we headed through the grounds of Castle Howard towards the Temple of Four Winds. Apparently, the interior walls are decorated with a type of artificial marble called scagliola and Castle Howard is believed to be the first place in England where this has been used.

P1120368P1120370We continued to the New  River Bridge.P1120371From where there are fine views towards Castle Howard,P1120372 P1120373And on the other side towards the Mausoleum.P1120376The Earls of Carlisle and their families are buried in the crypt. A little further on the Pyramid came into view. This contains a large bust of Lord William Howard (1563-1640) from whom the Castle Howard branch of the Howard family originates. P1120377We then entered Pretty Wood to reach the folly of Four Faces.P1120378We  were on the route of of the previous walk and again passed King Oak. This time Geordie Caz was with us so the tree got a hug.P1120379We then went through an overgrown area which for me in shorts was a bit tricky as nettles encroached on the path. At Hutton Hill Farm we reached arable land, which was much easier to walk through. P1120380In effect we were circling the mausoleum. P1120381A bit further on Alf  looked as though he had gone to the toilet. We were in fact looking for a lunch spot. He had found a bench on which only he could sit. For some reason he looked so pleased. Only trouble was that it was in the sun and so we moved on……P1120382After lunch on a log in the woods on the Ridge of Entrenchments, where flies were a bit annoying, we headed back to the car and a temporary water pipe indicated that we were indeed in a drought. It was after midday and certainly very hot – over 25 degrees. P1120383We finally arrived home and look what I found in my garden alongside the drive! My trekking pole had  gone for an early walk and jumped out of my boot bag. As I said earlier when you get to a certain age inanimate objects find a way of moving about on their own.P1120384

Miles Walked 10.1

Steps 19,427

Calories 2558

 

 

The Inn Way – 56th Long-distance Walk Completed, Use of Bus Passes, ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday Sun’, When is ‘Elevenses’, Sun Angels, Chardonnay?

Post 273: 5th June 2018, The Inn Way, Dales, Kettlewell to Grassington 

We had decided to walk the last section of the Inn Way, my 56th long-distance walk, as a linear actually using our bus passes (with the exception of Geordie Caz who is far too young to have one – there are some advantages of getting old, albeit not many) to get from Grassington to Kettlewell. We decoded the bus timetables with its various permutations:

In blue only between 7th May and 30 September, only on/in SSHs, certain buses do not stop at this bus stop, please catch the bus at the shelter (is this a World War II shelter?) etc etc.

The first bus was not until 10.15am, a bit late for us as we usually start walking by about 9-9.30am.Given that the forecast was for temperatures to be in the mid 20 degrees this had implications for later.

We arrived at the main Grassington car park and Information Centre at about 9.50am in good time, despite having to skirt around an accident a few hundred yards from home. The gents toilet were out of action, which Sid the Yorkshireman was delighted about as it saved him 20p in toilet charges. They had provided free portaloos. He even suggested Geordie Caz could use the portaloos to save 20p.  I think it is worth paying at least a 40p to avoid having to use portaloos, possibly more if I was a female.

Naively I was expecting a proper bus, but when it arrived it was a ‘volunteer’ driven bus, more like a large people carrier. There wasn’t much room for the rucksacks but we did have safety belts, unlike normal buses. We then had to wait until past 10.15am for the Skipton bus to arrive so that one person could transfer from it to our bus. A true integrated transport system. 

When we did eventually get going we drove to the square in Grassington where a car and van blocked our route. There were then endless discussions between the bus driver and the drivers of the other vehicles before we could get on our way again. It was clearly going to be a novel journey. This was confirmed when a local passenger got on and discussed all the local goings on in the area. If you want to know anything about the Grassington area just catch this bus!

Eventually, we arrived at Kettlewell and started walking at 10.40am.

We were soon ascending in warm weather. ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday Sun’ came to mind. However, the views were good as we headed towards Langcliffe and Conistone Moors.

P1120287P1120288P1120289The previous day Alf had been on a walking navigation course and so we put him through the ‘Spanish Inquisition’ to see if there was anything we could learn. One thing that cropped up was how should you descend these large stiles. Facing frontwards or backwards. His course leader said facing frontwards as on turning round at the top he had seen walkers catch their rucksacks and fall off. We disagreed and thought backwards as shown by Sid the Yorkshireman below. We then discussed whether if we followed the course leaders advice and had an accident, could we sue him. However, it was decided this might not work so we decided not to sacrifice Sid the Yorkshireman. P1120290The question then arose as to when you should have ‘elevenses’, that is the coffee and banana break, given that we had started late. By 11am I was ready as having had breakfast at about 7.00am, over 4 hours earlier I was in need of a break and food, especially given the hot weather. The others wanted to carry on and complete more mileage before having a break. With missed one good viewpoint with nice soft grass but come 11.30am I went on ‘strike’ and just halted and got my banana and coffee out and said I would catch them up. I think the clue is in the title ‘elevenses’. The others reluctantly parked up and ‘Sid the Yorkshireman’ was duly punished by having thistles stuck in his foam mat. It is a brave walker who do not comply with the Chair of the Ethics Committee wishes.

We reached Capplestone Gate at just after midday where there were fine extensive views. But it was hot, well over 20 degrees.  P1120291We descended to a fine limestone pavement.P1120292 We briefly joined the Dales Way and recognised we had come this way on the first day of the Inn Way back on 19 March 2018, when we had started the walk. P1120294It was a bit different then when we had become Snow Angels! 

This time we became Sun Angels!

It was at this point that Alf decided he should postpone retirement and continue working. We then came across one of a number of well preserved examples of the industrial past of this area. This was a hint of the industrial past which we would soon come upon on a grand scale. It must have been hard manual work in both the heat of summer and the cold of winter in such an exposed location.  P1120302

P1120303We then started ascending to Bale House.P1120304P1120305Where at about 2pm, at the nearby High Barn, we stopped for lunch.

We then descended to Yarnbury and an extensive area of mine workings. It is difficult to imagine the hard industrial largely manual work that our forefathers must have endured to make Britain a rich and industrial nation. But hopefully these posters and photographs will give you a flavour.

P1120308

P1120306P1120307

P1120309P1120310P1120311P1120312P1120313We then descended to Hebden Beck and followed it to Hebden. P1120314At Hebden Sid the Yorksman  got his Chardonnay bottle out, swearing it was water. But when he mentioned he had gone a bit faint I did wonder. P1120315We descended further to the fine suspension bridge over the River Wharfe, where people were cooling off by swimming in the river.

The temperature increased further as we ascended the other side of the valley towards Thorpe. It was now Geordie Caz’s to have an enforced stop as her energy simply disappeared. My water was almost out too. We still had 2-3 miles to go.

Getting going again we had a long ascent and then descent to Linton and the walk had become a struggle as the heat intensified. However, Linton has an oasis in the last and 26th pub on the Inn Way, The Fountain Inn. Somewhat unusually we stopped for liquid repleshment. In my case a pint of orange squash, A sign of the hot weather!

Linton is quite picturesque.

It was now about 5pm and so we pressed on towards Grassington. We had to cross back over the River Wharfe ,which here had largely disappeared. P1120329P1120328What water was left was being made good use of by the locals to cool off.P1120324P1120325P1120331

We arrived back at the car park at about 5.15 pm and were too late for a celebratory ice-cream. My 56th long distance-walks completed. 

Miles Walked 13 

Steps 31,808

Calories 4,497

Lakeland Walks (Day 2), A Penance for Our Sins, A Good Boy, A Mountain Climbed or Not? Counting the Cost.

Post 272: 23 June 2018  Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and High Street. 

After my fairly energetic previous day climbing Ullock Pike and Skiddaw, I would probably have benefited from a rest day, but Cumbria Man has something else in mind.

We parked in the Keswick Rugby Club car park and wandered through Keswick with the ladies heading off to the shops before agreeing to meet up with us at Mary Mount near the Lodore Falls Hotel for lunch at 2.30pm. Our lift back.

We followed the road which goes between the A5271 and the Borrowdale Road B5259 past St John’s Church and then turned right along Springs Road to cross over Brockle Beck. It looked like there had been a few gales, but not today. Not easy for someone over six foot to get under. P1120251We then ascended with Brockle Beck on our left to take a right turn to Rakefoot. We continued to ascend on open ground with fine views over Derwentwater to Cat Bells

P1120252We passed some Duke of Edinburgh participants who were administering blister pads to their feet. A fairly common sight at this time of year. A few blisters and suffering on the fells is character building so I am told! I just think it is painful and should be avoided at all costs – the blisters that is.

We kept to the wall on the right and took a path through a gate to above Walla Crag.  We could look back to Keswick and Skiddaw, which I had summited the previous day. I felt very pleased that the day I summited Skiddaw the weather had been so much clearer and sunnier. However, we were still in for a dry and warm day even if not quite so clear.

P1120256Walla Crag’s height is easy to remember at 1234 feet and  comprises a rocky, heather clad and forested area.

 

We returned back to the main path to Bleaberry Fell, which at 1932 feet was our next objective.  The path was dry and easy to follow, unlike many of the swampy boggy areas normally hereabouts.

P1120263We soon reached the summit cairn where, at just after midday, it was time for a late coffee and banana break, with excellent views all round. The only problem was that I had forgot to bring my coffee.

P1120267

P1120269There are extensive 360 degree views from here, including of Great Cable (top middle in the photograph).P1120264 We were soon on our way to our main objective of the day High Seat. According to Wainwright the route is all swampy and is recommended only as a penance for sins. Fortunately, I had been a good boy and so the swamps weren’t that bad. Alternatively, the recent dry weather had made it acceptable. However, I could imagine with a little rain it would be a nightmare. We reached it at just before 1pm and by this time I had been ‘converted’. Not to a new religion for my sins, but to shorts as it was getting warmer.

P1120271The summit is at 1995 feet but with my extra 6 feet I think that means at least my head had climbed a mountain, which is generally regarded as being over 2,000 feet.

For those bright sparks (there are some) who say I should have climbed onto the trig pillar, I did that once when I was much younger on Pillar, but the problem is getting off again without causing injury. Even more so now I am older.  

We were now running late for our ‘meet’ with the wives and so hurried on, downhill all the way now. P1120273One final look back to the summitP1120274We descended to Ashness GillP1120276It was steep and long and the two days of walking were catching up with me. P1120277At neatly 2pm we reached Ashness Bridge, one of the most photographed scenes in LakelandP1120281P1120282It was a quick dash down to the Borrowdale Road (at this point I could have used my bus pass for the last mile or so but there was no bus) and then left past the Borrowdale Youth Hostel to Mary Mount and late lunch.P1120283 We were slightly late for our ‘meet’, but not by much. We looked for the shopping bags of the wives and counted the cost. It was much cheaper on the fells.

Miles Walked 10.7

Calories Burnt 2,993 (quickly replaced by steak pie and chips – the wives had salad!)

Steps 22,609.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lakeland Walks, A Woolfest, The World Cup, Villa Park, On the Edge, Great Cockup, Ullock Pike and Skiddaw, Scotland, £300 Million for a Glass of Water! Beer on the Summit of Skiddaw.

Post 272: 22 June 2018, Ullock Pike and Skiddaw (Again!)

First of all apologies for the delay in posting this and the next walk; both to regular readers (believe it or to there are one or two – actually over 9,000 reads since August  2015) and also walkers I met on these walks and promised to post photographs of the walk and fabulous views. After the walks I headed to the Midlands to take my 95 year old Mom to hospital for treatment over 5 days. The good news is that the treatment seems to have worked and there will be a review in about 6 weeks.  She is one ‘tough cookie’. The World Cup is also taking up many hours of the afternoons and nights, football and the World Cup being one of my other passions (I even attended three matches at Villa Park in the 1966 World Cup when we won!)

Two weeks after the Keswick Mountain Festival, my wife Celia and myself had been invited to stay with friends in the far west of the Lake District. The wives would be attending the Woolfest. Cumbria Man (trail name)  and myself along with hundreds of other male fell walkers decided the excitement of a Woolfest would be too much for us and we would go walking instead. What I did not know when all this was planned months ago was that the weather would be superb and probably the best I had ever walked in.

On the Friday Cumbria Man was still at work and, after pouring over maps, I decided I would go and climb Ullock Pike at 2230 feet. It is south-east of Bassenthwaite village. I had noticed its fine ridge when climbing Skiddaw up the tourist route from Latrigg two weeks earlier. This ridge is is known as the Edge and the dark peak is Ullock Pike. Wainwright describes “this slender pyramid as one of the simplest yet finest mountain forms in Lakeland”.

P1120188Parking at Bassenthwaite I was soon going through pastures with cows and calves, a little tense, particularly when walking solo. However, the already hot weather seemed to have tired them. What would it do to me?! I couldn’t use my bus pass here. P1120250I passed through Barthwaite, Hole House, Barkbeth Farm and around Barkbeth Hill through pleasant pastures. The views looked good towards Great Cockup in the west and Skiddaw to the south-east.IMG_E2781IMG_E2785P1120187P1120191Then the ascent began and Scotland, across the Solway Firth, in the far distance and Bassenthwaite Lake came into view. P1120189P1120190An unusual but natural out crop of rocks called the Watches was reached and the first good sightings of Ullock Pike (right) and Skiddaw (left) seen. P1120193P1120194I had a gradual climb towards the summit of Ullock Pike with changing views, including of the new £300 million water supply line being laid by United Utilities from Thirlmere to West Cumbria.  This is to stop water being taken from Ennerdale Water, which is now a protected wildlife habitat. It is due to be completed in 2022. if this heatwave continues I wonder if they will need water from Ennerdale and Thirlmere?! £300 million for a glass of water seems a bit steep to me. Time for a coffee break – much cheaper.

My ‘altitude training’  a few weeks ago in Bavaria (see blogs 254 to 265) was paying dividends as I was full of energy and passed two young ladies from the Leeds area.P1120200P1120201A few more puffs and fabulous views and I was at the summit of Ullock Pike. P1120203P1120206P1120207P1120210Another Woolfest husband had escaped to here. What now? With this weather there was only one thing to do –  carry on up to the summit of Skiddaw (3053 feet), which was 823 feet above me. The fourth highest peak in Lakeland, but only a little lower than the highest peak Scafell Pike (3208 feet) . There was a somewhat steep path to get there!P1120238 Even the sheep were feeling the heat at Carlside Tarn, especially with that wool coat! Just remember what the sheep (and husbands) have to put up with all you ladies at the Woolfest!

The Helvellyn range looked fabulous in the background. P1120214Views ahead, and back where I had climbed, distracted from the heavy breathing as I climbed steeply. I passed two young men descending, one of whom was hobbling on his trekking poles with a knee bandage on. Not the most encouraging sight.

Finally the summit along the ridge came into view and views towards Blencathra and the Caldbeck Fells:P1120221P1120222P1120223A quick photoshoot on the summit and it was time for lunch. It was now 1.42pm and I had started walking at about 10.30am. P1120225Of course I had booked the best table in the restaurant on my previous visit here two weeks ago, but a young couple had taken it over! P1120227However, they let me join them at the table, out of the cooling breeze. Of course they only had T shirts on, but by the time I sat down I had 4 top layers of clothing on. There is no way I will get cold over lunch.

According to Mountainsafety.co.uk:

The temperature drop is 1 to 3  degrees centigrade per 1,000 feet under normal conditions?! For dry air temperature the drop is higher, saturated air the drop is more likely to be 1 degree in practice. This means that the temperature at the top of a 3,000 foot (900 metre) mountain (i.e. Skiddaw) will be at least 3 degrees centrigrade cooler than in the valley, but could be up to 9 degrees colder. A good rule of thumb is to assume 2 degrees drop per 1,000 feet (300m).

The couple were Patrick and April Brosnan, travelling from Boston, Massachusetts, but originally from Bradford in West Yorkshire and Knoxville, Tenessee.

It was their first hike in the Lake District. Well if they bring fantastic weather like this they are most welcome to come again! One of the nice things about walking, even more so solo, is that you meet people from all around the world with a similar interest in the ‘Great Outdoors’.

I read on Facebook later that April (what a lovely name) found this walk “a tough one”! How does she think I found it, especially as I couldn’t use my bus pass?!

However, they still managed a beer on the summit. All I had was Yorkshire Tea! They must have drunk the beer before I got there! She owes me a pint.

Now all I had to do was get back down this little descent! I took it very slowly as it as very steep and ‘crumbly’. P1120229P1120230I passed the two ladies I had passed earlier still ascending and encouraged them to carry on. I hope they made the summit? One was having asthma issues, which was affecting her breathing.

At the bottom of the steep descent I found a great viewpoint looking towards Keswick and Derwentwater.P1120231P1120233It was a long descent back over Ullock Pike, but in continuing good weather the views were stunning.  P1120243P1120241P1120242I dropped off the ridge to find an alternative path back to the car using a section of the Allerdale Ramble. At the junction I stopped for a rest and a nice couple asked if I wanted my photograph taken as I was solo, a nice thought.

P1120247 So I took a photograph of them too. P1120245By now the sun was dropping and creating lovely reflections on Bassenthaite Lake P1120248It was about 5.30pm by the time I got back to the car. Celia phoned me to ask where I was!

I was at the end of a fine walk in some of the best weather I had ever encountered in the Lake District.

Miles Walked 12.63

Steps 26,668

Calories Burnt 3963

The next day I was due to go to an area which Wainright described as universal swampiness…………….sounds interesting!

Day 13 – The Inn Way – The Spaghetti Junction of Paths, Anti Wind Hat, The Highest Chapel in England, Blowing a Hoolie.

Post 271: 17th June 2018, Little Hunters Sleets to Kettlewell via Great Whernside

Having seen Dan successfully complete the Three Peaks of Yorkshire at ‘bus pass age’ the previous day, I had an early start next morning with breakfast at the excellent bed and breakfast at Middle Stud Farm near Horton-in-Ribblesdale. I wonder how it got its name? Were there Higher and Lower Stud Farms?

In any event I had to get to Kettlewell by 9.30am to meet up with Sid the Yorkshireman and Geordie Caz.

I set the sat nav and off I drove to Langcliffe which, after passing through, joined  a single track road with passing places. It went on for miles, through gates, hairpin bends, fabulous views of the Three Peaks, complete remoteness and steep drops to the side, eventually dropping down to Arncliffe. However,  the tarmac was of a very high standard, presumably because the Tour de Yorkshire cycling must have passed through there. P1120160I arrived at Kettlewell exactly at 9.30am but Sid the Yorkshireman and Geordie Caz had been delayed due to traffic. However, we soon passed three inns on The Inn Way, The King’s Head (21st on the walk), the Blue Bell Inn (22nd) and the Racehorses Hotel (24th).

P1120161P1120162IMG_E1993Kettlewell is the Spaghetti Junction of Wharfedale with two streams and numerous paths radiating from it. After some debate as to which side of the stream we should follow (either is possible) and which path, we eventually found a sign to Great Whernside and then the navigating is straightforward – head straight up! P1120163It is important to keep looking back to capture the views back to Kettlewell and Wharefdale and even me! With high winds forecast, I had deliberately worn my Rohan ‘anti- wind hat’, which would only blow off if my head blew off as well. IMG_E2760 P1120164Eventually after much climbing we reached Hag Dyke Hostel which, at 1533 feet, has the highest chapel in England. The hostel is one of the highest in England. However, the highest hostel accolade goes to Skiddaw House in the Lake District at 1550 feet (which I have stayed in). P1120166P1120168P1120169After our coffee and banana break on a sheltered bench next to the chapel, we continued our ascent with increasing winds.

Again the views were better looking backP1120172We arrived at the summit at 11.42am for a customary, but windy, photoshoot. Its summit is the highest point of the Eastern flank of Wharfedale at 2,310 feet (704 metres) which might explain the high winds. It was ‘blowing a hoolie’.

They say the camera never lies, but am I really so much bigger than Geordie Caz or have I been inflated by the wind? IMG_E2761 Continuing along the summit ridge we left it on a descending signed path just before a pile of stones. P1120177The wind was whistling up the valley and it was quite difficult to stand at times. It was certainly strength sapping.

We eventually descended to where we had got to on the last Inn Way walk and stopped for lunch in shelter from the wind. After lunch we resumed the Inn Way route above towards the Starbottom  Road (track) and Cam Head. The views along Wharfedale were stunning. P1120178We then had a lovely descent down the Top Mere Raod to KettlewellP1120179P1120181However, the stony track is a bit hard on the feet. But nature finds a way of surviving even on stony tracks.P1120182A really good circular walk. We now only had about 12 miles to walk to the end of the Inn Way at Grassington. We might even use our bus passes one way to do that section next time.

Of course I had an extra spring in my step on this walk as, after having been told I had skin cancer (sun related as walkers are in the high risk group) a few weeks ago and had minor surgery, I had since, after further post surgery tests, been told that in fact I hadn’t in fact had or got cancer. My good looks (what goods looks I hear you say?) might even return after a little healing in the winds of Yorkshire. I will of course continue to wear one of my 14 hats and apply sun cream liberally. And so should you in the sun.  

Miles Walked  10

Calories Burnt 3320

Steps 21,679 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Three Peaks of Yorkshire at ‘Bus Pass Age’.

Post 270: 16 June 2018

I sat quietly reading the Rescue 2018 booklet of Incidents Attended during 2017 in the area of the The Three Peaks of Yorkshire. The peaks are Pen-y-ghent (694 m or 2,277 fit), Whernside (736 m or 2,415 ft) and Ingleborough (723 m or 2,372 ft). The challenge is to walk to the summits of each of the peaks in less than 12 hours. The walk covers a distance of 23.3 (37.5km) to 26.1 Miles (42 km), depending on the route taken.

Here are some of the reports:

Male Age 68 – Walker was reported to have passed out and then regained consciousness…Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) carried him by stretcher to a waiting air ambulance.

Male Age 79 – A walker was reported to be in difficulty near the summit of Whernside. It appeared he had tripped and fallen. He was assisted to an air ambulance.

Male Age 78 – suffered a lower leg injury and was unable to progress to the top of Whernside. He was carried on a stretcher back to team vehicles and driven to a road ambulance.

Male walker aged 82 – requested help due to feeling faint when trying to walk. He was reported to have fallen earlier. He was brought down in a private vehicle.

Male aged 70 – was reported to have collapsed on the path. The helicopter flew him to hospital.

Male aged 68 – felt unwell, approaching the summit of Pen-y-ghent but continued to the top. Very soon after beginning the descent, he collapsed and lost consciousness. Despite CPR he did not recover.

Female aged 66 – slipped, while descending the stone-pitched path from Ingleborough falling and rolling 30m to sustain head, hand and leg injuries. She was flown to hospital.

Male aged 68 collapsed with chest pains… he was carried by stretcher to a road ambulance.

Female aged 73 had fallen and injured her ankle. She was extracted by vehicle.

Dan, the next poor young and innocent ‘victim’, sat opposite me at breakfast quite unaware of the contents of the Rescue book. Actually he wasn’t even that young, being of ‘bus pass age’. 

IMG_2738I say ‘victim’ because I felt a little bit responsible for encouraging him to attempt the Three Peaks.  For many years I had cajoled him into attempting this great Yorkshire  Challenge, without success. He had lived in the ‘flatlands’ or ‘lowlands’ of Suffolk and Norwich, where the best thing to recently come out of the area, as far I can tell, is Ed Sheeran. 

I can only think that he was a late developer when it came to walking and now he was making up for lost time.  Males tend to have a lot of competitive ‘banter’ when walking, unlike when walking with females where I find there isn’t the competitive element. It is interesting that there are far fewer females who appear in the Rescue Reports.

After two previous successful Three Peak walks, I last completed the Three Peaks on 20 June 1998 in 7 hours 56 minutes, at the young age of 46. I felt I would never better that time and so retired from the activity! That’s my excuse.

However, in Dan’s favour he had a pretty impressive walking CV:

Trek to Everest Base Camp

Near summiting of Mont Blanc, only missing the summit because his walking partner, who he was roped to, was taken ill.

High route from Chamonix to Zermatt trek.

The second half of my ‘On Foot from Coast to Coast: The North of England Way’ 

Circuit of Mont Blanc. 

Climbed Kilminjaro

Critically, three weeks ago, he had completed Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast (192-200 miles depending on the route taken).

I pointed out to him in our ‘competitive banter’ that he couldn’t really be considered to be a ‘proper serious walker’, unless he completed The Three Peaks of Yorkshire.  After completing coast to coast he was probably as fit as he would ever be and the Three Peaks were as dry as they had ever been and therefore this was his best and possibly only ever chance.  The forecast was reasonable too – low cloud, if a little breezy. At least it wouldn’t be too hot!

At the last minute he booked his bed and breakfast at Middle Studford Farm (about a mile from the start Horton-in-Ribblesdale). This was an inspired choice as when I later joined him I thought it was one of, if not the best, bed and breakfast I had stayed in, especially for walkers (more of that later). .

We parked near the church with the first peak Pen- y- ghent looming in the background. P1120154Then Dan clocked in at the Pen-ghent Cafe at 8.30am.P1120153P1040689As we ascended a couple of youngsters had not got their dog on a lead and it ran off, uncontrolled, to chase sheep. We were very concerned about that. They did recover the dog so hopefully no damage was done to the sheep. Some people do need to take more control of their dogs.P1040690Standing below the increasingly steep path with rain starting I think Dan had some thoughts. Such as ‘What the heck am I doing here?”  P1120142However, with a bit of ‘winding up’ he soon started to smile again. P1120143Soon after I donned full waterproofs as the wind and rain increased, Dan confessed to having left his waterproof trousers at home. Several points deducted there and jokes and banter about living in the flat lowlands he wouldn’t be aware of the vagaries of the weather in the northern hills and how tough it is ‘Up North’.

There is then a steepish rock scramble where care is needed when it is wet. With the wind now making us both look like ‘Michelin Men’, we managed a quick photoshoot at the summit. P1120146P1120149Before descending amongst the mist and rain. Not what we had anticipated given the forecasts. P1120150At the bottom I departed for my bacon butties in the Pen-y-ghent Cafe and Dan carried on towards Whernside.  This was my second breakfast as I had got up at 4.45am and had a early breakfast to drive 2 hours to the bed and breakfast on time. The sun came out and all was well with the world again!

P1120151P1120152Except that a youngster was hobbling down the track a couple of inches every 5 minutes with two trekking poles either side. I asked if he  was okay and had he taken pain killers, which he had.  I asked if he was still in pain and he said, presumably referring to his girlfriend, she was the pain!

He said he had sprained his ankle, a reminder that 3 Peaks walks are a serious challenge even for the young, perhaps more so because of their inexperience. Even though he had good boots on, I thought he had broken his ankle as his foot was at a very extreme ankle. He then said a land-rover was coming to pick him up and I suggested he stop and wait for it to arrive. I passed the land-rover about 10 minutes later on the way down and advised them where I had last seen him.

I met up with Dan in a lay-by after Nether Lodge and Hunter Hill, which looks up towards the second peak, Whernside. It is sometimes described as a beached whale and who would ever want to climb a beached whale? P1040692Dan was going well and would go even better after he had some of my home-made Mary Berry fruit cake. It has miraculous properties (brandy) and would guarantee he got to the end. It is even rumoured it got me a free holiday in Bavaria, but that is another story…. P1050618_9627_edited-1I was then able to track him on his ascent of Whernside using my big zoom camera lens. P1040691P1040692That’s Dan with the bright orange rucksack cover and white trousers (well they were white when he started). P1040693P1040694I did photograph some walkers on the summit ridge at 14.05. This reminded me of the last sightings of Mallory going to the top of Everest, to perish there. P1040695P1040696Dan indicated he summited with this photograph at 14.35. Crucial evidence if he was to satisfy the Ethic’s Committee of his completion of the 3 peaks.IMG_20180617_143734517It was to be several hours before I was to see him again. I waited in the car (catching up on sleep) just after the pub, north-east of Chapel le Dale.

I wandered over to look at the local bull and cows, a lime kiln and the last peak, Ingleborough.

P1120157P1120155P1120156P1120158However, Dan took the lower route directly opposite Chapel le Dale. I had no telephone signal and so at 16.40 I decided to head to the next rendezvous point after his descent from Ingleborough.

Dan later confirmed he summited Ingleborough at 17.20pm. I need to give him some photography training for, when under pressure and tired, his photograph is a bit out of focus.  IMG_20180617_172437682_HDRHis final summit time came in just after I had started a sweepstake amongst walking friends as to what time he would finish. Huge stakes of £1 per bet. Bets of finishing time ranged from mine of 10 hours 30 minutes (too optimistic as the weather closed in) up to 11 hours 45 minutes. No one bet on him not finishing!

However, given the weather conditions as seen from my car (and no doubt much worse at higher altitude) I starting working on a contingency plan – Plan B. After 10 hours 30 mins I had lost my sweepstake and so put my mind to less urgent matters.

What happens if he slips on the wet rock or grass or gets lost in the poor visibility? I decided I would make a decision after 12 hours, that is 20.30. If the conditions were still bad and he hadn’t turned up I would contact Mountain Rescue. He could be appearing in next years Rescue booklet! Fame at last. IMG_2743 But Then, like a mole appearing from the ground, a little head appeared! P1040698Then a very determined person. P1040699Then on spotting my Volvo a tired smile (I keep telling him to swop his VW for a Volvo).P1040700All that remained now was to walk another 10 minutes to the Pen-y-ghent Cafe to book in at the end, whilst I drove there!

Every picture tells a story and what a story this was. He finished at 19.28. Total time of a very respectable 10 hours 58 minutes given the poor conditions at the start and finish. At least one much younger group gave up after Whernside because of the weather conditions. IMG_2750The evening was finished off with a fabulous meal at the bed and breakfast cooked to order by the excellent chef owner. Even fruit crumble and ice-cream one of my favourites, not forgetting our first courses of delicious sweet potato soup and mushrooms garlic and tomato, all washed down with a well earned bottle of wine. I had been up since 4.45am! IMG_2751IMG_2753

IMG_2754As I said one of the best bed and breakfasts I have stayed in.

Did I think Dan would complete the walk in 12 hours? I put my prediction in his birthday card which he will open on Saturday. Another year gone past the ‘bus pass age’.

Miles Walked:

Dan 23 to 26

Me 10     

I was saving myself for Great Whernside on the Inn Way next day with Carol Caz and Sid the Yorkshireman – blog to follow.

PS I have suggested that Dan HAS to now to climb Great Whernside and Little Whernside (the boggy one). No doubt he will accept the challenge before he is 70, by which time we might have him trained as a serious walker.