On Saturday I walked the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
… The Valleys, not the mountains.
One of my 30 Before 30 goals was to do a big walk, so a few months ago I signed up for the Yorkshire Three Peaks Valleys walk organised by Heart Research UK. It’s a guided 16 mile walk around the bottom of the Yorkshire Three Peaks – Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent – and an easier version of going up-and-over the peaks themselves (which is a 26 mile, 12-hour challenge!). So at 6.30am on a grey Saturday morning, along with my friends Laura and Clare, I set off for the starting point.
After parking up and registering at the Heart Research tent, we joined the rest of the walkers and set off at 9.15am. It was a mixed ability group with people of all ages and fitness levels, with our guides leading the way at a brisk pace. The first 5 miles was reasonably challenging as we climbed uphill over rocky ground, but after the first checkpoint things evened out and it was nice to just amble along without much effort for a while.
I had high hopes for the weather clearing up, but sadly grey clouds hung over us for the whole 16 miles and we didn’t get a glimpse of the amazing views beyond the mist. It also rained. A lot. Despite the weather, there was still loads to see while walking – cute cows with their calves, lambs frolicking together, gorgeous houses nestled into the hillside and beautiful meadows full of buttercups.
After our lunch stop we decided the guided walk was moving a little too slowly for us, so armed with our instructions and a vague idea of where we were heading, we split away from the group and carried on alone. We could walk at a faster pace and spread out a little more, which meant we blasted the last 6 miles quickly and soon rounded in on the finish point, a little stiff but pretty elated.
The Valleys walk was a great introduction to the Yorkshire Three Peaks area and a really easy way to take on a long distance without the added challenge of tough hills. I’m notoriously bad at hills (when walking, running and cycling) but after doing the Valleys challenge I think I could tackle at least one of the peaks and work my way up to taking on all three.
Fingers crossed for sunshine next time, though!