On Saturday 12th June, bright & early, the ManEx team set off to embark on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge! We met in Horton in Ribblesdale and headed towards Pen-y-ghent, heading straight up the steep hills to begin our ascent. The group was raring to go, morale was high and we were ready to face the first climb! After a steep scramble (requiring some shorter members of the group to go up on all fours!!) and a short climb, we made it up the 2,280ft mountain to our first trig point… wahooo! One down, two to go!
Ahead of schedule (and naively thinking, “maybe this would be easier than we thought?!?”), we started to make the descent. This was a beautiful track that would take us to Ribblehead Viaduct, and although it was an 8 mile walk to make it there, energy levels were high and the group was in great spirits knowing that we had already tackled a third of the challenge.
We made it to Ribblehead viaduct, a perfect point for us to meet our fellow teammates in the support team for a lunch break and to re-stock supplies! After lunch, we set off again ready to tackle Whernside, the highest of the three at 2,410ft. Although this was a more gradual climb, it was lengthy, and as the sun got hotter and our legs began to tire, we could feel the energy levels begin to drop… but not for long! The teamwork was incredible, with everyone encouraging each other and offering words of support, we knew that we would help each other every step of the way. And at long last, 736 metres later, we made it to the second trig point! Looking down we could see how far we had come, Pen-y-Ghent looked miles away (which it was!), and the viaduct that had looked so big from ground level looked like a spec in the distance. Equally, looking ahead at Ingleborough, we also knew how far we had to go!
The descent from Whernside consisted of steep, uneven rocky steps, which was challenging with our jelly legs from the long climb we had just accomplished! After a very careful climb down, we stopped for a well deserved ice cream, and a quick break to prepare ourselves for the final hurdle… the steepest mountain was yet to be climbed!
By this point – our feet were sore, our legs were weak, but our minds were strong! We knew that there was no going back now! The final peak was in sight, it looked overwhelming to say the least but with grit and determination, we carried on. Ingleborough looked like our biggest challenge yet, with steep rocky steps requiring a scramble to the top. Once again, the team came together and offered words of encouragement, helping the people who felt like it was impossible, make it possible. And eventually, after what felt like an almost vertical 2,370ft… we made it!!! Our final trig point!
Little did we know, the most mentally draining part of the walk was yet to come! A gruelling 6 mile walk back into the village, it felt never ending! Finally, we walked down the track and entered the rail station back in Horton in Ribblesdale. We cheered, we hugged, a few cried tears of relief.. but we had done it – 3 peaks, 24 miles, and about a hundred litres of water! The sense of achievement was immense, knowing we had completed this difficult challenge together, whilst raising over £1600 for Mind! This was a fantastic team bonding experience, and one that will be impossible to forget!