You’d think that I would have learned by now. Oh how you underestimate me!
Not satisfied with doing the mountains of Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough – oh and the 24.5 miles which go along with the 5,000 of ascent, once this summer, I’ve resolved to do it again..and this time for Charity, Macmillan! This time, there will be three of us, Darren, (my brother in law), Colin who has accompanied me over Great Gable and Cross Fell and myself. I am trying also to recruit another two people, beware lol!
The route as I understand it takes on a whole new character as we first tackle the stunning “Sulber Nick” complete with Limestone Pavement for a good few miles. Then. it’s up, up and up as we veer left to take us to the summit plateau of Ingleborough. I’m not banking on a view here. The last time I did Ingleborough the wind was so fierce that all I wanted to do was to get back down the mountain as soon as possible. The time before that was in 2009 with Chris, ‘The Nothing’ turned up as a giant wall of mist completely stole all views. So, like I say, I am not anticipating a view. I’m also not holding out for great weather – but if it’s dry, that’s really going to help us out on our next stage – the terrifying drop down ‘Frodo’s steps’. There is a slight possibility that it will take longer going down than it normally takes going up here – it really is that steep, but not unachievable as many people each year do this.
The reward will be the nice easy route from the bottom of the steps to ‘The Hill Inn’ at Chapel le Dale and it might only be at this point where we’ll start to meet with the early birds making their way towards Ingleborough having first dropped off Whernside. I’m under no illusions about Whernside – it might be my favourite of the three, but that route up is really tough. We’ll have already walked somewhere in-between nine and twelve miles here…let’s hope that the rain keeps off and that the sun is not beating down on us too hard.
The drop off Whernside to Ribblehead is the part of the route to which I am most looking forward, I’ve never done this yet so am looking forward to getting in some serious speed, although once again we could be bumping into throngs of people whom have just completed the slog over from Pen-y-Ghent here. And that’s our destination now, from Ribblehead there is about a mile’s worth of road walking then it’s off to Nether Londge and Ings and all of those wonderfully named places like God’s Bridge as we trek over Whitber hill and the others on the newer, spongy but not boggy path to lead us to the bottom of the slope up to Pen-y-Ghent. Here’s hoping that we do get a view from the summit of Pen-y-Ghent – as that’s our last hill! The route down is straight forward, however the scramble section has the potential to get a little bit ‘interesting’. My least favourite part of the conventional route is the hard slog up from Brackenbottom farm – but doing it this way around this could be a highlight – or an ankle twisting opportunity! Providing we’ve all survived two quite scary drops, we should then all be set to return to the Penyghent Café in Horton in Ribblesdale where we can clock back in – and hopefully it won’t be much more than ten hours.