17th Sep 2021 - 19th Sep 2021
3 days/United Kingdom /Moderate to Challenging
The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is a circular walk which involves reaching the summit of three peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, in fewer than 12 hours.
The challenge route is approximately 24 miles (38.4km) and includes a total ascent of approximately 1500m (5000ft). This is almost the equivalent of marathon distance but with lots of steep ascents and descents added in.
The walk must be completed within 12 hours to officially complete the ‘challenge’, but you can take a slower pace, however the tough Yorkshire Three Peaks trek is very achievable within 12 hours for fit and prepared walkers.
Whernside (the highest peak in the Dales) at 736m (2415ft)
This is the Yorkshire Dales highest mountain. It is a gigantic whale-back ridge with none of the dramatic cliffs that the other two peaks have. However, the views from Whernside are superb. Looking back across the Dales, you see Ingleborough clearly with Pen-y-Ghent away in the distance. Right down below you is the Ribblehead Viaduct. If you look to the west, you can see right out to the Lake District and Morecambe Bay. The origin of the name Whernside is probably from the fact that its summit gritstone rock was used to make ‘quern’ stones for grinding corn.
Ingleborough at 724m (2375ft) Ingleborough is the second highest peak in the Dales.
It is a more complex mountain, with several ridges and valleys and a variety of routes to the top. It has a graceful and majestic shape with a huge flat top. This plateau was once an Iron Age defended hill-top fort. Its name could be derived from two old English words – ing (meaning ‘peak’) and burh (meaning ‘fortified place’). On the slopes below, and just visible from the Y3P route, is the spot where the entrance to Gaping Gill is located. This is a vertical shaft into a deep cave system, where England’s tallest unbroken waterfall can be found underground.
Pen-y Ghent at 694m (2277ft) Pen-y-Ghent is the smallest of the three peaks and although it is one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, it isn’t one of the highest three in Yorkshire.
It’s actually only the 9th! The challenge isn’t to climb the three highest peaks, because this would actually entail a walk to Great Shunner Fell, a further 20km or so to the north! Pen-y-Ghent may be the smallest of the three, but many people view it as their favourite. Its steep sides give the impression of an impregnable castle, where the cap of gritstone cliffs sits on top of the limestone base.
Almost all the route is on good paths and tracks. There are a few stretches on tarmac roads; quite a lot on good quality tractor/land-rover tracks; and huge sections of gravel path or rock flag stones. More and more stones have been laid in recent years and the boggy sections are thankfully long gone. There are still some parts where the route crosses farmland on a public right of way; here the ‘path’ is a trail worn by millions of feet before yours. Finally, there are a couple of sections near the summits of Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent where you will need to use your hands, as you scramble over some steep rock steps.
The Yorkshire Three Peaks are fairly small peaks, even by UK standards. Some of the ascents are very gradual and you barely notice that you are gaining height but there are some short, sharp, steep sections that really get the heart and lungs going. Knowing how to manage your pace as the incline changes is very important, especially keeping in mind that you can’t walk the same pace on steep ascents as you can on flat terrain. Maintaining a steady pace is more energy efficient than walking too fast and having to frequently stop to catch your breath. Frequent starting and stopping it is also a poor use of the body’s energy supplies and you will find yourself far more fatigued by the end of the walk than if you took a gentler non-stop pace.
What really tests people on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge are the sections where there is a steep descent. Some struggle with the worry of slipping but many more struggle with discomfort in their knees. Ensuring that you have good core, leg and glute strength is helpful for this challenge.
This is a tough endurance challenge so you must be able to walk for extended periods of time on challenging terrain. This challenge is not suitable for first-time walkers or people who have not trained. Hill walking is the best training for this challenge, so please walk as much as possible on hilly terrain, building up so you able maintain a steady pace all the way along your route with only a few brief rest stops. In addition to hill walking, you are recommended to work on strengthening your legs, back and core muscles. Supplementary training may include speed walking, running, cycling, gym workouts, swimming, team sports, boot camps etc. If you do not train for this challenge, it’s possible you will not complete it.
Typically, September days are relatively warm (up to 18°C) and nights are cool (down to around 5°C). Strong, cold winds are possible on some parts of the route. Please note it is possible to experience extreme deviations from the normal climate pattern. Temperatures have been recorded above 30°C in this area on a few occasions (notably June 2020), and very cold conditions are not impossible. Climate and weather conditions during the trip are out of our control. It is extremely important that you take responsibility to prepare yourself for all weather conditions during this challenge.
On the day of the challenge, 18 September 2021, the day length will be 12 hours 29 minutes, with sunrise at 06:44 and sunset at 19:14.
The challenge can be undertaken by fit walkers aged 18+ (or 16+ if accompanied by an adult). You must be at a good level of fitness, able to self-manage (e.g. you know how to keep hydrated, nourished, warm and dry), be in good health, have oodles of determination and a positive and flexible can-do attitude. An ideal candidate would be someone who enjoys hill walking and wants to push themselves out of their comfort zone to achieve an exciting objective in a beautiful area of Yorkshire.
The campsite we will stay is located between Ingleborough and Whernside. It is 5 miles from Ingleton and 2 miles from Ribblehead Station and viaduct. There are hot showers, toilets, washing up facilities, a snack bar, Wi-Fi, phone charging locker facilities, and drinking water taps. There is strict no noise policy between 11pm and 7am, and there is only limited mobile reception.
You must arrive at the campsite and have pitched your tent by 6pm in time for dinner and the trip briefing. Full details of the campsite and directions will be provided 6-8 weeks prior to departure.
There is parking available adjacent to the campsite but not on the camping field itself. You must be able to carry your camping equipment from your car to the campsite yourself.
For the challenge itself will need to wear comfortable walking boots (not trainers) and non-cotton clothing. You will be responsible for carrying your own lunch, drinking water, waterproofs and warm layers, sunglasses, basic first aid kit, sunscreen etc. You will also need to bring your own camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, toiletries, towel etc.) for use at the campsite.
Please see the full suggested kit list below.
We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.
The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing this booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.
If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP. We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.
In the event that your medical issues represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your deposit will be refunded. Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.
Non-cotton underwear and socks
Non-cotton trek trousers
Non-cotton long sleeved warm layer
Hiking boots (well broken in)
Waterproof jacket and trousers
Lightweight insulated jacket or warm fleece
Sun hat and warm hat
Portable battery pack for mobile phone (optional)
3 litres of water
Packed lunch and snacks
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. Nuun, High5 etc.) (optional)
Day pack (25 –35 litres)
Waterproof rucksack liner / dry bag
Mobile phone – fully charged
LED head torch with new batteries inside
Wallet with cash and credit/debit card(s)
Nappy sacks or disposal bags to carry any used toilet paper*
Sunscreen (high SPF)
Small, basic first aid kit (pain killers, blister plasters, plasters, your own personal medication)
Feminine hygiene products*
Small pack of baby wipes (optional)
Hiking poles (optional)
Sleeping bag (warm enough for cold night temperatures)
Foam or inflatable sleeping mat (ideally both)
Sleeping bag liner
Toiletries (toothbrush*, toothpaste*, shower gel*, shampoo*, deodorant* etc.)
Cooking stove (optional)
Thermos flask / mug plus hot refreshment items e.g. tea, coffee, hot chocolate (optional)
Please note: This list is not exhaustive and does not account for your personal taste or preference. It should be used as a guideline only. If you have any questions or queries regarding this list which are not answered in the sections above please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.
Chapel le Dale arrival
You should arrive at the campsite and pitch your tent no later than 6pm, so there is time for you to meet the group and have a challenge briefing over dinner.
The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge
After an early breakfast we set off to take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, with our goal being to complete our walk in under 12 hours. This walk is not just a challenge it’s also very scenic. The enormous Ribblehead Viaduct is a spectacular railway bridge that carries the line from Settle to Carlisle and is one of the most famous sights along the route. Whernside offers particularly superb views (weather permitting!), including the other two peaks, the Ribblehead viaduct below, and right out to sea at Morecambe Bay. At the end of the trek, we return to the campsite for a well-earned dinner this evening.
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
Chapel le Dale departure
Today you can spend the day at leisure or opt to take part in another local activity (at your own expense) before setting off for your journey home. Check-out from the campsite is usually around 12pm.
If you wish to explore more of the local area, there are numerous places of interest including White Scar Cave, Clapham Cave and Ingleton Waterfalls. There are also countless walks in the area, and even a climbing wall and open-air heated pool in Ingleton. The pretty market town of Hawes is 20 mins by car, Settle is 17 miles or a short train journey on the famous Settle railway, or if you fancy a longer journey you’re only 30 minutes’ drive from the seaside at Morecambe, Lancashire.
Registration fee: £95
and then either…
Flexi: £230 trip costs and £230 sponsorship for a charity of your choice
This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.
This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.
This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.
If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
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