Thursday, 8 March 2012

A Pen-Y-Ghent Expedition

This was supposed to be a glorious report of a triumphant tour of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, however it wasn't to be. On the drive over the rain and wind was beating down so hard on the car, not to mention having to drive around plenty of water on the roads, so it was soon apparent this wouldn't be a classic walk.

We parked up at the arranged meeting point of Ribbleshead Viaduct, and I managed to get soaked just carting my equipment from one car to the other. We had arranged to walk with our friend Dave, veteran from our Lyke Wake Walk.

Once arrived at Horton-In-Ribblesdale the weather had calmed down a little, and it somehow felt like the Three Peaks were back on! Soon after setting out towards Pen-Y-Ghent though, it was evident that this would be a slog. The paths were extremely muddy, the rock was slick and slippery and the rain which had briefly abated came back for seconds. Despite our raised spirits and banter about the Lyke Wake Walk, this didn't help lift the gloom and cloud off Pen-Y-Ghent. As we got higher up the winds picked up and we even debated whether it would be too risky to hit the higher ground. Oddly enough one of the only other walkers we saw that day was a bloke in shorts!

Ascend we did, and it was quite an adventure! After clambering over limestone, the last section up to the summit was relatively easy, but the cold, wind and wet meant we didn't linger. At this point we had both independantly come to the conclusion that there was no point in continuing as we were soaked through, and had not even reached the boggy section! Despite the relief in knowing we would be back at the car soon, the wind picked up on our way down, with absolutely no shelter available.

We were happy to reach lower ground, and by the time we reached the track at Horton Scar Lane the wind had died down considerably.

The walk back was by far the most pleasant aspect and we had some good views of the pots and holes of limestone country. There was the occasional watery hurdle to overcome...

Soon enough we were back at Horton and glad to be back in the warmth of the car. Sod's law of course meant the cloud lifted within a couple of hours revealing a nice blue sky, but soaked through as we were, the Three Peaks were left for another day.

In the end instead of doing the Three Peaks we ended up following walk #28 as described in Wainwright's "Walks in Limestone Country" and despite the conditions, it was a great little route.

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