---in three weeks!
My days of attempting the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge - 24 miles in under 12 hours - are long gone but my love of climbing Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and Whernside remains, so it was a bit of a no-brainer that when we were looking for walks to celebrate the lifting of the stay local rule that we headed for the Three Peaks.
First Pen-y-ghent, the easiest and most satisfying of the three mountains. It's a short, sharp walk up from Horton-in Ribblesdale with a rocky scramble to make you feel like you've climbed a real mountain, then a gentle descent making a 6.6 mile circular. Just right for the first trip out. An added bonus was that we caught the end of the purple saxifrage flowering season. This alpine plant is commonly found in lime rich habitats in Scotland and Wales and the Yorkshire Three Peaks area is its most southern habitat in England.
Next Ingleborough, my favourite of the Three Peaks, where we also spotted a wild flower, the tiny, exquisite bird's eye primrose, and had fun watching the helicopter on its round trip from the nearby quarry where it was scooping up donated crushed stone and dropping it on the footpath at Sulber Nick. The aim is to improve this heavily eroded area which attracts thousands of walkers every year.
Our final peak was Whernside, the highest of the three but the least mountain-like. While Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough offer a rocky summit the great whale of Whernside is more of a moorland walk. It's a fine circular from Ribblehead climbing steadily alongside the viaduct and Blea Moor signal box to pass Force Gill waterfall before heading for the summit. The descent is very steep but much improved recently and the walk back to Ribblehead through farmland is a joy at this time of year with the fields full of young lambs.
We might not have broken any records but our Three Peaks in three weeks gave us some fine days out. Highly recommended.