Yorkshire Three Peaks: Conquered!

After thirty years I finally hiked the Yorkshire Three Peaks again. Last time I did it I was twelve years old. I can remember being pretty worn out back then, and this time I am sunburnt and currently on crutches due to me getting absolutely dreadfully painful, unwalkable blisters as a result. That aside, I feel so great. I also recorded a vlog that I intend to edit and upload to YouTube very shortly.

My friend John and I did the classic route, Pen Y Ghent > Whernside > Ingleborough, only this time the regular Ingleborough ascent was closed. We were diverted and had to complete the most horrendous climb and scramble that I have ever done. I will never forget that for as long as I live (see mile 19 in the Strava data below). Quite where we both summoned up the determination, patience and sheer bull-headed stubbornness to not be beaten by it is beyond me, but we did it nonetheless. Despite the extra distance and my hobbling the final five miles on my poor, blistered feet, we beat the twelve hour time target quite comfortably, and fortunately my Garmin Vivoactive HR watch had just enough battery to record the whole thing.

Data from Strava

Map

Summary

Pace, Heart Rate and Cadence

Splits

Mile Times

A Couple of Lovely Photographs

I guess I need a new challenge!

Lockdown Lifestyle

So, here we are, a family in a semi rural town with time on our hands. Of course I have been hiking and cycling.

Climbing Ingleborough

Strava Data

Map and Splits

Pace, Heart Rate and Cadence

This was a hard slog for whatever reason, but ultimately rewarding. I am definitely not 100% healthy, my immunity is low and I feel a background malaise but still it was great to get out hiking. Isolation from the rest of the world is the thing I love about hiking the most so it is obviously fine in respect to social distancing. I think we saw perhaps three other people, two at the summit and one on his mountain bike ascending after us.

Cycling

As I previously posted, I bought myself a folding bicycle so naturally the thing to do is buy another bike also, which I did – a tourer hybrid. This means that I can now go cycling off road. It’s no good for mountains or whatever but for towpaths and dirt tracks it’s just fine. The Leeds-Liverpool canal is like an artery running through my town, linking it to almost all of the North West of England so it’s useful to be able to access it, not only for my convenience but also because it is much safer for taking the kids cycling. My daughters love it. The oldest is the cautious, cerebral one and we cycle more or less together. All the while her younger sister – the absolute little shitbag – slams the pedals hard and flies off into the distance. I love her bravery and fearlessness as much as I love her sister’s gentle, caring nature. It’s fascinating how different they can be. Anyway, below are data for a couple of rides. I have done more - you can visit my Strava if you really want to see the lot.

May 12th 2020

Bolton Map

This ride was very strange. Firstly I was testing out my tourer over distance. It’s not only a slow ride compared to what I would have done on my racer, but also because the last eight miles were me cycling slowly, hopelessly lost. For some reason, once I arrived near to my destination my Garmin Edge 1000 took me on an eight mile track which was basically an orbit of my actual intended destination. It was the most bizarre navigation error I have ever experienced.

In terms of features the Edge 1000 is streets ahead of the Edge 800 it replaced, but the navigation performance has been very iffy. The 800 was genuinely a fantastic addition to my gear. Every single destination I used to to reach was in there and I arrived literally at the front door every time. The 1000 has taken me on some exceptionally unusual routes. For example, when I was working in Todmorden it took me over an unbelievably difficult and hilly ride because it was around .25 miles shorter than the much flatter, faster alternative. Obviously the hills added a lot of time to the journey, and I can’t believe that the Garmin algorithm did that. Now it has taken me eight miles around my destination for no reason, and when I was plotting the route originally it struggled to find the address. The 800 always accepted the postcode and took me there. For me the jury is out right now on the 1000. I got it because the 800 has no Bluetooth or WiFi and I used to have to boot my computer and plug it in just to upload routes which drove me batty in the wireless era of technology. Right now I would happily go back rather than have the current issues I am facing. I hope that things improve quickly.

Nature and Mental Health

Being outside is great for your mental health. The evidence is growing, despite the fact that, to me at least, it seems intuitively so. Some of the best times of my life came. when I was most at peace were in Sweden, and specifically during the winter in Abisko National Park.

Mountains in Abisko. The blue hue was a beautiful optical effect

Natural beauty seems to have a profoundly restorative effect on the mental health and wellness of human beings. To commit to spending a good portion of one’s life outdoors is a transformative habit in which to engage oneself.

Frozen Lake in Abisko
Frozen Lake in Abisko

The whole world has stunning locations that are cheap and easy to reach. Below is Pirin Mountain, Bulgaria, where I hiked up to meet my friend snowboarding from the top. This trip cost me less than £200.

The Forest on Pirin Mountain
The Forest on Pirin Mountain
The Forest on Pirin Mountain

The beauty of the natural world is that it is everywhere, however. There is no need to travel far. One the the great things about living in England is how well preserved our countryside has been down the years.

Janet’s Foss in Malham, Yorkshire
Janet’s Foss in Malham, Yorkshire

In Lancashire where I live natural surroundings are a fifteen minute walk in any direction, the Yorkshire Dales a 45 minute drive away, and Cumbria around 90 minutes. It’s everywhere, all you have to do is look for it.

Double Rainbow by Pen Y Ghent
Double Rainbow by Pen Y Ghent

Hiking is free you know! It is also access to priceless sights and experiences.

Hawdraw Force

The most satisfying part of the hiking experience for me is when I arrive home and the kids and the dog fall asleep almost immediately and then do not stir all night! The last hiking season we did we used to take our hound and she would literally not move for two days after expeditions – such a great feeling. Obviously the whole day spent outdoors is fantastic and the feel good factor of having walked miles or climbed a mountain is great, as is the endorphin hit. It also feels like a day well spent and I can tell you now that no workout in the world that you will ever do can compare to the resistance exercise obtained climbing and scrambling over rocky fells and mountains. God that is seriously hard work, and your muscles will thank you for years.

The View from the Ascent of Ingleborough
The View from the Ascent of Ingleborough
The View from the Descent of Ingleborough
The View from the Descent of Ingleborough
The View From Pen Y Ghent
The View From Pen Y Ghent
The Whernside Viaduct
The Whernside Viaduct

So get outside and see the true beauty of the natural world.

A Dumbass Went Over Ingleborough…

Today’s hike was over Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales and I managed to pause my Apple Watch and forget to restart when we stopped for lunch, so god knows what these figures and the map means. You can safely double the elevation gain, likely the calories too as I missed recording the hardest, most technical part of the mountain to climb, and I think I would probably add around two miles or so.

It was a grand day out nonetheless.

Incidentally, Apple Watch in its current iteration is a quantum leap ahead of the turd I bought in the form of the first generation model. Superb battery life and excellent functionality. I got home after recording this hike and the battery had depleted to 68%. My previous watch used to last three hours recording workouts. This is a huge improvement.

Week in Review

Another week of incremental gains passes. Today was to be the day we climb Cat Bells fell in Cumbria but personal circumstances have put paid to that. Thankfully we got a beast of a hike in yesterday, ascending Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales. Once the kids are older we are going to try to move over there. It’s such a beautiful place.

Losses and Gains

My swimming and running performance saw steady gains. One thing I will say is that I can definitely feel my age in the pool. This has become that little bit harder and I feel the work I have to do for sure. That being said, the gains are tangible. Yesterday I went through my wardrobe and set aside several pieces, sports jackets and blazers mainly, which I will donate to charity. I’ve gained so much muscle in the last fortnight that I can no longer get them over my shoulders. It has been noted by my good lady that I have changed substantially. She can hardly get her arms around my shoulders now. Add to that the fact that my swimming shorts are falling down rather easily whilst swimming – usually during tumble turns or when I push off from the side – and it’s clear that I’m getting somewhere.

Targets

I’m hoping to push my running into the four mile bracket and hit 1800 metres in the pool in order to prepare for an assault on the 2000 metre mark in the following week.

At some point I will have to decide whether to keep swimming relatively short intervals or to push for longer endurance swims. Previously I have always plumped for the latter, with limited weight loss success. Maybe I can do both. One distance swim and one interval soon would make for an interesting experiment.

What I’d love to do one day is open water swimming. Perhaps that’s something I can treat as a summit to be reached. I have always preferred being outside to indoor exercise. How on earth people have the patience for exercising in a gym is beyond me. I’ve tried it several times and it drives me crazy to be cooped up like that. If you enjoy that sort of thing them have at it. Enjoy your exercise and reward, I’m sure it does you good but I don’t really envy you at all.

Next week I also aim to get Cat Bells fell in the bag. As soon as the days are long enough we are looking to ascend Skiddaw. We live two hours away from Cumbria so the days are too short as yet for a seven hour climb. That’s why our early season hikes are in the Dales. It’s only an hour away with no monstrous peaks. Once the days are long them not only can we tackle the giants, we can also go for weekend camping trips to get the best of the late nights and early starts.

Ingleborough Conquered. The Revenge of the Stick People.

This ‘conquered’ post is a slight cheat as we have successfully ascended Ingleborough before, however this time we took a different route to the previous straight up and down climb that we did. Sadly I have no map to post today as I forgot to take along my GPS watch to record the route we took.

Revenge of the Stick People

Seriously, what is going on with people hiking with sticks? I hiked as a kid and never saw anyone using sticks, whereas now every bugger and his dog seems to have them. Has the human race mutated into stick people who can’t walk anywhere unaided? Did I miss the memo or something?

I take a very dim view of this kind of thing. Unless a disability is in play you do not need sticks to hike. Get a grip people.

Photographs

At the summit.

Summit panorama

Whernside in the distance

A beautiful day for hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.

Christ I’m sunburnt.

Week in Review

Summary

Last week I moved from 600 to 1000 metres in the pool, from 2 to 3 miles running and I completed a rigorous 8.4 miles family hike over Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales. This was a good week with which to start a long summer of outdoor activities.

Coming Next

This year I want to break out of the Dales and conquer more of the Lake District. The big targets are Skiddaw and Blencathra, each of which are approximately 900 metre climbs so they are ones to work up to. I take the kids hiking so it wouldn’t be a problem for adults to climb those two but the sprogs need to work up to climbs like that. Luckily there is the gorgeous Cat Bells fell, around a 500 metre elevation.

I can’t wait to ascend this fell over the weekend and get some photographs of the stunning Lake District views. In addition to that I want to push up to 4 miles running and 1500 metres swimming. That leaves me with one hike to plan for the weekend. Time to research…

Ingleborough: Conquered!

Yet another hiking triumph! This time we successfully ascended Ingleborough, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, and returned, all before teatime. This was one hell of an exertion, and at 6.25 miles hiked and 1736 feet climbed it was about as taxing as a hike can get for under-10s to do without at least one of them suffering a complete meltdown. iOS health kindly informed me that it was the equivalent if climbing 112 flights of stairs (where each flight is classed as climbing a floor).

This was every bit as challenging as I remember it when I completed the Three Peaks as a teenager, with Ingleborough being the final climb and therefore gut-wrenchingly difficult, and I will forever associate it with extreme fatigue and throbbing pain in my feet! Of course, that pain is really not pain at all, it’s the glow of achievement. I will stress, however, if you experience real pain during exercise then stop immediately and seek medical attention.

Map and Data

  • 6.24 miles
  • 3:6:9 hours
  • 29.49 minute miles
  • 1265 calories burned
  • 1736 feet climbed