Specialized Yorkshire 3 Peak Challenge

There are certain things that epitomise what Specialized is all about. The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge was one of them.
Our intrepid walkers and climbers pushed themselves beyond what they thought were normal capabilities to conquer this event.
Here is a look back from Phil Smith who organised the event and hosts the Pop Quiz at The Big One Festival every year.

As a keen walker The Yorkshire 3 Peaks has long been a goal for me. So I was delighted when, having made the decision to finally do it and tell Willo I,d like to make it a fundraiser for Specialized, lots of friends I,ve made through my love of music agreed to join me.
Plans were made, and on the 5 April we met up in Horton-In-Ribblesdale. Some came from the South, some from the Midlands, some from further North, all with a common goal…to help Specialized.
Our accommodation was a bunk barn, and despite some initial misgivings about all being in one room, we had our evening meal and settled down for the night, alarms set for 5.30!

After a ‘challenging’ night’s sleep, thanks to an exuberant group of lads in the upstairs bunkroom ( and a lot of snoring from those in our group who did manage to drop off ) we rose at dawn to begin our big day. By 6.30 we were on the road, Pen Y Ghent our first goal……
Despite a steep climb towards the summit, we all arrived at the peak in just under 2 hours, the sun just breaking as we clambered up the final few rocks. Peak 1 done! It was, however, very cold, so we pushed on to our next objective ( Whernside ) , a distant dot on the horizon.
After a steady descent, we finally arrived at our next checkpoint, the imposing Ribblehead Viaduct. By now it had become apparent that our best-laid plans of all staying together was never going to work, and over the course of 24 miles, some would be faster than others. So after checking that everyone was ( reasonably) ok, we pushed on to Whernside. This involved a slow, steady climb, and by now the weather had turned surprisingly hot. However, the view from the top was breathtaking, looking out over the Peak District and as far as Morecambe Bay, over 30 miles away.

Whereas the ascent had been a winding, slow climb, we soon realised the descent was pretty much a sheer drop, putting lots of strain in the knees and back and ensuring you watched every step. Thank goodness for the walking poles I’d invested in, they really helped.
After a while, we reached flatter, less rocky paths, and after deciding (sensibly) not to pop in the pub for ‘one’ we pushed on to our final peak, Ingleborough.

Now we could see the peak in the distance, but as we got steadily nearer we realised we really hadn’t gained much height, and as we approached the foot of the mountain we understood why….it was a near-vertical climb to the top !! I can honestly say that after 8 hours on the road this was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Each huge step burned the leg muscles and it felt as if my heart was going to burst through my chest. It wasn’t helped by the fact that Ingleborough had a false peak, so you think its only a few more steps only to discover you are only half-way up!

Finally, covered in sweat and snot we reached the top…..time for a quick photo before starting our final descent back to Horton. By now tiredness had really kicked in, but we kept a good pace back down, the village getting slowly nearer with every step of the long, undulating path…..

Dave,Jeff and I clocked back into the village at 17.43, 11 hours and 13 minutes after we’d started, tired but full of pride in what we’d achieved. After a much-needed shower, we headed to the pub to await the others. Steadily they all came back, the last coming back in near darkness, but they had achieved something incredible…I don’t think any of us realised just how punishing the day would be. I couldn’t be prouder of them, and I hope they are proud of themselves, they certainly should be.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part, you are all heroes. Big thanks too to Cheltenham Flooring for sponsoring our food for the weekend, and to each and every person who took the time and money to sponsor us…we hope we did you proud. Thank you for making a difference.

Dedicated to John, Jeff, Nigel, Gill, Mark, Sam, Toby, Natalie, Charlie, Steve, Mick, Ruth, Katie, Kevin, Sarah and Dave. Thanks for the memories x

Phil Smith – Event Organiser.