I did two walks in quick succession a couple of weeks ago. I went up to Halton Gill with forty colleagues from work for the weekend, staying in a lovely bunk barn. The aim on the Saturday was to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks. This is a popular challenge for fund-raising as it’s 24 miles long, to be walked in less than 12 hours, climbing Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. I didn’t take my camera this time so the photos are from last month, add hundreds of people for a more accurate picture!! I must admit I hadn’t realised just how popular it is…
The walk starts at Horton in Ribblesdale, we arrived at about 7am and the carparks were already pretty full. I can understand now why the villagers are getting pretty fed up of it, there was a steady stream of people making their way through the village to the path up to Pen-y-ghent. If this happens every Saturday and Sunday from spring to autumn, I can understand the villagers frustration.
I said from the start that I would only be doing one peak, I know my limits! Luckily two other girls wanted to just do one, so we would walk down together. The path up is steep and unrelenting with some scrambling over rocks in places, I was gradually getting further behind my group, which didn’t bother me as there were so many people on the path, but it did panic the others when there was confusion as to whether I was in front or behind!
I’ve never had to queue to get up a mountain before, it was that busy! If I stood aside to let someone pass, another 20 or 30 passed before I could get back in again! It wasn’t my idea of fell walking! It also made me appreciate even more my usual walking buddy, we know each others limitations, we walk at the slower ones pace (usually me!) we stop when we want a breather, we have a good system with drinks in passing each others water bottles, we have regular breaks, we joke that we have a sausage roll break, a sticky bun break, a coffee break, a sandwich break, a banana break….we graze and we take our time to enjoy the walk.
I was on the top of Pen-y-ghent by 9am, they all gave me a cheer (relief I think that I wasn’t lost!!) when I arrived, I was actually only about 15 minutes behind them. Those of us just doing one peak descended Pen-y-ghent and then walked along the contours of the fell over to Littondale, about 8.5 miles at a guestimate. It was lovely and quiet along that path!
I think most of the group managed to walk all three peaks, we’ve raised over £1000. One of our party was Noah, the son of one of our radiographers, he is 6 years old and he walked it all in about 10 hours. We think he’s broken the record of the youngest person to walk it! He was amazing!
Boy did I ache the next day!! I must have used my arms so much with my walking poles as both my arms and legs hurt! I’d arranged to walk with my usual walking buddy on the Monday, I was still aching a lot but I pushed my self and actually it was the best thing I could have done as it seemed to loosen everything off.
Last year we started the Welcome Way as a practice walk. Walkers Are Welcome is an organisation which encourages towns and villages to welcome walkers, they have local walks booklets, cafes and pubs that don’t mind muddy boots etc, Otley is a WAW town and they linked up with three nearby WAW towns to make a circular walk. The Welcome Way starts in Otley, walks over to Burley in Wharfedale, over the moors to Baildon and back through Guiseley to Otley. 28 miles in total.
Last year we walked from Otley to Denton bridge one day, and then over Ilkley moor to Baildon another day. We’d never got round to finishing it…
From Baildon we walked along old lanes, past golf courses and posh hotels! This are is really just outside the edge of Bradford, but it’s surprising how much countryside there still is.
We walked along side a dam, watched the moorhens and their chicks…
The path decends down to the village of Esholt. Followers of the TV programme Emmerdale may recognise the pub. This is the original Woolpack, the programme used to be filmed in the village up to about 10-15 years ago when they built a purpose built set village near Harewood.
From Esholt we walked up through woods to Guiseley, this took a little longer than it should as we ended up walking round in a circle, too much chatting!! Woods are notorious for this, there aren’t enough landmarks if you do take a wrong turn!
We skirted round the edge of Guiseley before walking up to the Chevin, I thought this would be quite a pull up a hill, knowing what the other side of the Chevin is like, in fact it was quite a gentle meander up through fields to the Royalty pub on the top of the Chevin. Up in the Chevin carpark the stone walls are lovely, there’s a ‘school of stone-walling’ up there so they practise on some of the walls up there.
From the top of the Chevin there’s good views over Otley (and right over to York Minster and the White Horse on a clear day!) It’s called Surprise View!
We meandered down through the woods, past the White House and down into Otley for the finish at the Butter Cross. As we both felt fine we then walked the 1.5 miles back to my house for tea and cake in the garden. It was just under 10 miles altogether.
So that’s another walk ticked off! If anyone fancies doing it, during Otley Walking Festival I think it’s part of the scheduled walks.