Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge – 66,000 steps in a day!

13th June 2023

Maciej Hoang

3 Peaks Challenge


What is the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge?

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks is indeed a challenge. Consisting of almost 25 miles of hiking, including 3 mountains, Pen-Y-Ghent (694m), Whernside (736m), and Ingleborough (724m), all to be completed in 12 hours or less, this is arguably the most difficult physical challenge one can attempt to do in a day.

Why did we do it?

We all decided to support a local Leeds charity, Simon on the Streets, which offers emotional and practical support for homeless and vulnerable people in the Leeds, Bradford, and Kirklees areas. They have helped thousands of people get back on their feet, so we wanted to show our support by getting up on our feet and attempting to conquer this famous challenge.

How was it?

When we were describing the challenge to our family and friends “…it’s a 25-mile walk, almost 1,600 meters of ascent to be done in 12 hours”, their support and responses of “just put one foot in front of the other” made it sound not as difficult as it was. With Maj being an avid and experienced hiker, Jane an experienced marathon runner, Lizzy and Hannah regularly walking long distances on weekends and Sarah completing this challenge once before, it seemed like we would breeze this. Oh, how wrong we were!

The challenge

We began our route from Horton-in-Ribblesdale setting off at 7:15 am. We walked on the road for the first 20 minutes or so and began making the steady ascent to Pen-Y-Ghent not long after. Although it was early morning, temperatures were already around 20 degrees which made us realize things would not be easy. After a steep scramble, we reached the summit of Pen-Y-Ghent at 9:08 am, which meant that we were on track, so far. We stopped for a 20-minute food and drink break and then began our descent.

The 7-mile hike between Pen-Y-Ghent and Ribblehead Viaduct was mostly flat and easy-going, but the temperature was slowly increasing, and the sight of a Yorkshire Dales ice cream van just before the Ribblehead Viaduct was just what we needed.

After consuming our ice creams and lollies, we crossed the road and began, what can only be described as ‘the slog’ up Whernside, the highest peak in Yorkshire. The views behind us as we made our ascent were incredible, but mother nature was relentless as the temperatures soon climbed past 25 degrees and the winds were brutal, making the ascent even more difficult.

Despite the struggle, we all made it to the summit of Whernside at 2:30 pm. Exhausted already, we stopped to replenish our energy for the final peak, changed our socks to avoid blisters, and set off again at 3:10 pm.

The descent of Whernside was steep and we were all taking our time to prevent injury. In front of us, the giant mass of a mountain, Ingleborough, was taunting us. The Philpin farm campsite just before we began the ascent of Ingleborough was a lifesaver, with toilets and more snacks and drinks available, which we took full advantage of. A pint of ice-cold orange squash never tasted so good!

The ascent of Ingleborough was the steepest and toughest ascent yet. My legs were shaking, my back was hurting, and it was at this point I almost gave up. But I didn’t. None of us did. With my colleagues motivating me, and my hiking poles now in hand, I carried on, albeit with regular stops. The pace really slowed down as we all really struggled, but we would not let this mountain defeat us.

After the most energy-sapping ascent I have ever completed in my life, we were at the summit of Ingleborough at 6:30 pm. We knew then that we would not complete the challenge within 12 hours. But in the moment, we were just so happy we managed to get to the top of all 3. All that was left now was to go back to the car park, which was easier said than done. The hike back seemed to be never-ending, even after passing signs of “Horton-In-Ribblesdale 2 miles” it felt more like 20!

Eventually, we reached the village of Horton-In-Ribblesdale and not long after, the car park. I have never been so happy with the sight of my car before! Although we didn’t complete the challenge in 12 hours, we completed it, and that is a huge achievement. Well done team, we did ourselves proud.

There is still time to donate if you haven’t had chance yet and we would be so grateful for your support: https://www.justgiving.com/page/andiamo-letsgo-sots  

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