Walking with; Gaz, Russ, Massy, Tango, Chappy, Geoff, Richie, Mike, Matt, Az, Tom and Dylan
The Yorkshire 3 Peaks is one of my favourite walks. It combines some spectacular scenery with a tough physical challenge and I have heard some truly inspirational stories from some of the teams I have worked with. Aside from walking rugby is my main passion in life so when the lads of Didsbury TOC H asked me to arrange a Y3P event it seemed like a great opportunity.
We set off as a party of 12 including at least three front row forwards and a motley assortment of degraded knees, damaged hips and bodies affected by a Summer of barbecues, cider in beer gardens and no training!! Leaving Horton-in-Ribblesdale we made our way up onto Pen-Y-Ghent which was wreathed in cloud and buffeted by the seemingly ever present winds. One of the theories for the name is that it roughly translates as “Hill of the winds” and in my experience there is definitely credence to that theory. As we descended and took on the long haul to Ribblehead the cloud started to lift and by the time we stopped for butties next to the viaduct, the Whernside summit was sitting in a pool of sunlight. We slogged up Whernside with plenty of other walkers and the occasional posse of fell runners and as we started the rough and rocky descent the knees started to crunch and the thighs to strain and by the time we reached The Old Hill Inn, the lure of a cold pint in the shade proved too tempting for Mike and Tango who agreed to meet us back in Horton!
The rest of us pressed on through the limestone pavement and up the steep, scrambly path onto the ridge that took us to the summit of Ingleborough, peak number three and my personal favourite. The five mile descent off the summit is not one of my favourites however….it seems to go on for ever! But buoyed by the prospect of a sub-10 hour finish the whole group pushed on and all managed to make it through the doors of the pub in a more than respectable time. The qualities of teamwork, camaraderie and the ability to push through the pain barrier are all part of the rugby playing ethos and I think I can say with some confidence that these were all qualities displayed in bucketloads by the gentlemen of TOC H on their Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge.