It’s been a few weeks since our wonderful supporter Rachael Booth took on the mammoth task of climbing Yorkshire’s Three Peaks to raise money for our cause. Since then, she’s been busy moving to a different country! Now settled in her new Luxembourg home, she’s been able to find the time to share her experience with us, in her own words.
‘I started the day off in Horton in Ribblesdale, arriving at around 6.25am. I gathered my things together and set off ten minutes later, unable to even see Pen y Ghent from Horton in Ribblesdale through the thick fog! I walked alongside the river and by a nearby farm to start the first ascent, which is the steepest of all 3 peaks. I had a nice view looking down to Horton, although as I started to get closer to the base of the peak (where the route meets the Pennine Way), I couldn’t see much further than 4 metres ahead because of the fog.
My climb up the side of Pen y Ghent was perilous, with very strong winds and sideways rain! I was met with no view at the top at all but I’d bagged the first trig point (triangulation station). I felt relieved as I’d been most worried about that bit, particularly the final scramble to the top – and then continued down on the (very) long stretch between Pen y Ghent and Whernside.
After descending, I left the fog and rain behind and had a really nice long hike along this stretch. I had lovely views of the Yorkshire Dales, with only the sheep to keep me company. I kept an eye out for each signpost with the number of miles left til Ribblehead viaduct (1st meeting point).
I got there in good time so I had a break to refuel, took some pictures of the train passing over the viaduct, then set off walking alongside it to start the Whernside ascent. It was nice and clear and even a little sunny at this point, but soon enough, Whernside was covered completely in cloud with its own microclimate. I started the four and a half mile climb to Whernside following the trainline, passing an old station box, again lots of sheep and a really beautiful waterfall. By this time lots of other walkers were about (which was nice after being completely alone for first section!)
As I reached the top of Whernside, it was very chilly with some really strong winds. I couldn’t see anything from the top or see very far in front of me. I got to the trig point and decided not to hang around for long, but then I encountered a mini rainstorm on the way down and got absolutely drenched. The descent was tricky as it was very wet and slippery. I was starting to feel the strain when I got to the bottom, on the way to Chapel le Dale.
The rain started pouring heavily and I got so wet I had to have a change of clothes at the final meeting point in Chapel le Dale. I refueled & warmed up and started on the final leg of the journey through the route diversion and ascent to Ingleborough. The ground was very boggy here because of the rain and the diversion, and it really slowed me down. I ended up ankle-deep in muddy bogs at several points, it was really difficult to avoid.
The ascent to Ingleborough was intense and incredibly steep. At the top, I was again met with the same strong winds and zero visibility but it was even worse here. Walking poles were being blown away and it was a struggle to walk into the wind towards the summit! I made it to the trig point and had a moment of celebration, resting in the storm shelter. I then started my descent at a rather slow and careful pace as I felt quite battered by the weather at this point and going down is definitely worse than going up!
But I was relieved when the fog cleared and there was a lovely sunny scene ahead of me as I started the walk back to Horton in Ribblesdale. I could see Pen y Ghent’s summit in the distance by this point. I navigated some seriously boggy terrain on the way back, got caked in mud and felt very sore. I passed through the final fields and into Horton in Ribblesdale’s train station, then through the village back to the starting point. I arrived at 6.27pm making the total duration 11 hours 50 minutes. All in all, it was a great experience, although very difficult given the weather conditions. I was happy and relieved to have completed the challenge of climbing all Three Peaks in under 12 hours. I was also very appreciative of all the support I received from people along the way (walkers, meeting points etc).
Most of all, I was (and still am) so incredibly grateful for all the donations that have been made to the Bethlehem Care and Hospice Trust. Their mission to establish the first ever hospice in the city of Bethlehem is a cause that is very close to my heart, and the whole reason I signed up to do this challenge.
I know that things are hard for everyone right now, which makes your encouragement, donations and support all the more special. Thank you for helping me on my epic journey!’
Rachael’s JustGiving page will be open for another couple of weeks. If you would like to donate, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rachaelbcht