Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

As I write my legs are throbbing. I have just got back from completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge!

This very demanding but rewarding walk takes in the summits of Pen-y-ghent (694 metres – 2,276 feet), Whernside (736 metres – 2,415 feet) and Ingleborough (723 metres  2,372 feet) in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, in a 24.5 mile circular route. The aim of the challenge to finish in under 12 hours.

As the throbbing suggests, the walk was tough but still very enjoyable, passing through some rugged and spectacular countryside with great panoramic views from each peak.

At the summit of Pen-y-ghent
Ascending Whernside
View from the final summit of Ingleborough

Particularly interesting were some of the large sections of limestone pavement we passed on the final section of the walk…

Expanse of limestone pavement

Limestone pavement is a very interesting type of landform and one rarely found in the UK (the examples in the Yorkshire Dales are some of the best in the UK). The limestone pavement is formed by a process of weathering which creates the distinctive slabs of rock (clints), separated by vertical cracks (grikes).

Taking a quick look within some of the grikes we found a sheltered, specialised micro-habitat home to a variety of wild flowers usually found elsewhere, including Dog’s Mercury, Wood Anemone and Rue-leaved Saxifrage. We didn’t have time to take a longer look due to the time constraints of the challenge, but I feel the need to pay a visit back to this area to delve deeper into this amazing habitat!

Rue-leaved saxifrage

We completed the route with minutes to spare, checking in with a time of 11 hours and 47 minutes. Phew. A great walk with great company and finished off with the obligatory pint of ale and plate of pie in a local pub at the end.

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