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Ascent of Pen-y-ghent on 2014-09-21

Climber: Peter Stone

Others in Party:James Stone
Date:Sunday, September 21, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pen-y-ghent
    Location:UK-England
    Elevation:2277 ft / 694 m

Ascent Trip Report

I've climbed pretty much every significant hill in Yorkshire by now (including this one) but somehow I've never got around to doing the undoubted classic "Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk". This demanding but rewarding hike in the Yorkshire Dales National Park takes in the summits of Yorkshire's three most famous mountains, Ingleborough (723 metres), Whernside (736 metres) and Pen-y-ghent (694 metres), all in one circular route. This particular three peaks challenge predates the now more famous National Three Peaks Challenge by many years and is of similar (walking) distance but with half the amount of ascent, much less environmental impact and no driving between mountains.

The traditional starting/finishing point is Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where the Pen-y-ghent Café operates a clocking-in and -out system to time the challenge if you wish to formally record your achievement, but Ribblehead is a popular alternative. The walk is about 37.5 km (23.3 mi) to 42 km (26.1 mi) long (depending on exact route) with nearly 1,600 metres of ascent. The usual goal and mark of success is to complete it within 12 hours.

A last minute invitation from my brother to join him on a pre-expedition training walk led to a 07:00 arrival in Horton-in-Ribblesdale. Although it's more common to tackle the summits in an anti-clockwise direction, he (having done the Walk numerous times before) suggested the order listed above. We parked in the large National Park car park; it costs £4.20 for the day but at least you have the moral satisfaction of knowing that you're contributing towards path maintenance and environmental conservation to offset the effects of all those thousands of walkers' feet.

The weather was fine, partly cloudy, a brisk breeze but remarkably warm and dry underfoot for late September. Route finding is a little more challenging doing it clockwise but nevertheless a grand trip accomplished in 10 hours and 10 minutes, despite numerous pauses for drink, food and photos.

Next stop Latin America (for my brother but alas not for me)!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1522 ft / 463 m
    Route:Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk
    Trailhead:Horton-in-Ribblesdale  755 ft / 230 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Animal/Pet
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy



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