Friday 9th September:
Well the bags are packed and I set off to pick up Dave (The Mountain Goat) the drive to Yorkshire was pretty quite just idle chatter about how we’re going to attack the challenge and how we are going to do it in less than 10 hours. We arrive at the B&B around 1600 and see our very compact home for the next two nights with a great view of Inglebrough from the window and not to mention the very 1970’s decor
Above Left: The view from our window of Inglebourgh
Above Right: Our very Compact Room and home for the next two nights
We decide to go on a reccy to find our start point for the morning and check the peaks out, as we really did not want to be getting lost on route in the morning. The excitement kicked in as we drove round the landmarks (ribblehead viaduct, Whernside, Pen y Gent cafe and Pen y Gent. By the time we got back to the digs it’s a quick shower, change and head into he village for scoff, pasta being the food we were hunting for. In the one horse town of Ingle, there’s is 3 pubs, one chippy, a few shops and a restaurant, as luck would have it the restaurant was Italian, all 5 tables of it, so pasta it was. After a fill spaghetti and a few bottles of beer it was back to the digs, a quick kit check and head down, alarm clock set for 0330!
After a pretty restless sleep the dreaded alarm went off, the kettle went on and I headed off to the shower, after a quick brew we set off to Horton 0415. 25 mins later we park up in the P&D car park, not much conversation at this point, not sure if that was because of the un-godly hour or nerves. A short walk up the road to the Pen y Gent cafe and after a quick search around eventually found the letterbox where I posted our details to be registered for the walk 0500 on the dot.
Above 0500 and posting the form at the cafe
Leg 1 Pen y Gent
After turning into the lane at the start the rain started, so not wanting to get too wet at the start we decided to get the wet gear on, and as the rucky was open, time for the first snack of the day, for me and much to Dave’s discussed, it was a banana stuffed into a bread roll. Up the lane and onto the dales to start the long uphill climb to the foot of PYG, apart from the howling wind and rain not much really happen apart from the Frog that leaped at Dave. and Dave looking like something from Close encounters
Above: Dave’s new friend, the Killer frog & Close Encounters Of the hiker Kind
Turning left at the sign post which read 1¾ miles to summit we’d got to the foot of the hill, no idea of where we was going as it was still dark we started the climb up PYG, the climb was steep, two lots of scrambles and a long drag , after a while we saw in the murky distance our first trig point, 1 hour 36 after starting out, so a quick pic and off.
Above: Peak one, Pen y Gent, weather was not the best
Leg two PYG to Wernside
As we set off over the top of the Monster as it was now known to us we headed down the track, quite happy with our progress and feeling chipper. we could hear some other walkers now heading our way, then a group of three harden fell walkers came by us with tales of woe and how they were looking at doing the walk in under 8 hours and pointed us in a direction where the bog fields were not too bad. Ribblehead viaduct was 8 miles away and our next real landmark, and the fact a chuck wagon was there and a nice hot brew awaited us. After a mile or so the group of fell walkers had all but disappear into the distance, and we were angle deep in bog, it was at this point I checked the GPS, an average of 1.7 miles an hour, now it does not take a lot of working out that if we didn’t up the pace we could be in trouble, and having crossed what we thought was the famous bog field we up’d the pace, about ½ a mile up the track it became apparent that what we thought was the Bog land was just a muddy field, we were now in the bog lands!, after all the rain over the last few weeks this was like a lake of mud, some deep mud, some large puddles of ankle depth and some very deep mud, so progress was slow, not helped by the strong head wind, and the fact I found the deepest bog of the walk, down to my knee, much to the amusement of Dave, and the disappointment he didn’t have the camera ( later saying I sprang out of it like a rat out of a drain), we carried on with the slog, finally getting onto hard ground and even better hit the tarmac section to Ribblehead viaduct, hitting the road we set to a fast march, GPS was hitting an average of 5.3 MPH so making up for lost time. Up ahead we could see the chuck wagon, after a quick conversation it was decided we wouldn’t stop and went straight past, the smell of fresh cooked bacon and burgers was torture but we had to get cracking. We made the viaduct 10mile marker in 5 hours .
Above The Ribblehead Viaduct & I’m looking directly at that chuck wagon
We both knew the 10 hour target we’d set ourselves was well out of the window now and even 12hrs was looking dodgy. Its 4 miles to Whernside summit and a very long drag all uphill, after another 2 hours of some steep climbing we had made the trig point 14 miles 6 1/2 hours and now time was really against us, we had to make some distance to stand a remote chance of beating the 12 hours, but we were not defeated. By now several groups were on the walk and had passed us on the steep climb to whernside one of which was telling us how easy this peak was compared to hell which awaited us next. Again a quick photo and we set off heading to Inglebourgh or Hell
Leg 2 Whernside to Inglebourogh
We started to head down from Whernside at a relentless pace; passing everyone that had overtaken us on the way up, feeling confident we set on this next section full of optimism. By now the blisters had returned and my knee was really starting to hurt, mainly because I’d twisted it on the way down from PYG, a handful of ibuprofen sorted that. once again a long drag across moorland with spots of rain on and off and now back to a strong headwind.
Time really against us it was food on the go.
After a few miles the pace was getting slower as we hit yet more bog land, we got to a farm track and like an oasis, there was another chuck wagon set back in a barn, as tempting as it was we just grabbed a bottle of lucozade and set off once more.
We got to another road section, 500 yards up the road over a stile and that is the foot of inglebourgh, trouble was there is a pub with home cooked food between us and the stile. “shut your eyes Dave, we going past it”. And so we did. After a short uphill walk we came to the first of what was to be a lot of steep climbs.
We looked at our timing, 19 miles done 1 and 3/4 miles to summit and now the time was just coming up to 1400, can we do 7 miles in 3 hours? 2 of them were straight up? We felt like crap, tired and down, it had just start to rain again, quite light at first then a sudden down pour. We stopped to get the wets on again once more, both having to sit down to get the bottoms on, trouble is that’s where we stayed, both now feeling pretty low, we chatted about the task and both agreed that we were not going to hit the target time so there was point in us “ knocking our Pipe out” as I said to Dave, we laid back sat and finished the rest of our food off and even took time to sit and have a quick smoke, much to the amazement of passersby. After about 10 mins we eventually stood up and started to head upwards, after about ½ hour of walking I started to feel the effects of too many energy bars and sugary snacks, not very pleasant. It was at this point Dave turned to me and told me not to look ahead at the next section, well like any nosey kid, what’s the first thing I done? yep looked ahead, at first all I could see was a waterfall, then as I looked closer could see beside it was what looked like a rock stair case going straight up, my head dropped once more, the very thought of it, but that’s the only way up so stop moaning and walk, come on mate its only one foot in front of the other! As we got closer to the devils staircase as Dave had now named it you could hear the chatter of other walkers dreading what lay ahead, which kind of made me feel good.
above the Walk to Inglebourgh in the far distanced is the devils staircase
We got to the foot of this climb and up we went, to be honest, it was a great climb, all the walkers chatting and encouraging each other up, and the views were amazing. Once at the top 50 yards to trig, was I happy?, yea just a tat, but disappointed the target time seemed way off, a photo at trig and walk across to start the final leg back to Horton, but not before I treated Dave to the promise mountain Jig at the top, much to his laughter as I mimicked some sort of Morris danced crossed with a river dance.
Back to Horton.
5 miles to Horton 1 ¾ hours till zero hour, could it be done? we needed to average 3 mph cross-country. with new-found energy we set off at a speed march, no talking just moving passing groups of people limping and hobbling, somehow the pains had eased ( maybe the pain killers I’d been shoving down my neck) it was going to be close but for the first time in hours I had a confidants we could do it, then up and over a stile, Then horror! mother nature had another throw of the dice and rolled a pair of sixes, the next section was a flooded field deep muddy tracks covered the field, slopes covered with skid-marks where others had tried to avoid the mud and fell, well there was no other choice, go straight for it, the pace had now slowed right down, the mud zapping the last of any energy, A sign 2 miles to Horton I checked the watch 50 mins to go, the going got better although still quite slippery under foot not as bad, the paced was up’d once more, then the next sign post 1 mile to go 35 mins left, it was a steep downhill section, almost a jog now, down the hill, then out of nowhere the train station marking the village of Horton, across the track and 100 yards to the cafe to clock in.
The clock in time was 1645 so 11 hour 45 minutes from posting our start card we’d covered just shy of 26 miles over 3 peaks climbing a total of 4943 feet up and 4883 down with gradients of 35%
Yea we’d done it,
Photos in the car park
So Job Done, battle scars, yea a few blisters, skinned a toe, As for Dave, think he had a blister………that night we both had just one beer before we decided our night of drinking and disco dancing was off……..don’t think I remember closing my eyes that night.
Just a footnote to say Thanks to Dave for his support on this challenge and all the other people that have helped along the way You know who you are! To date I have raised just ove £800 thanks