Yorkshire 3 Peaks - Solo

The forum to discuss the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge
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Joined: 14 Dec 2011, 21:14

Yorkshire 3 Peaks - Solo

Post by pjbennett » 14 Dec 2011, 21:24


Next Spring, I plan to complete the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge in memory of my baby niece. I would like to complete the challenge alone rather than with a group. My fitness levels are good (I am a Personal Trainer) and I will undertake a training programme prior to the walk. My main concern revolves around the fact that, in my naivety, I thought that the walk would be sign posted! Since looking deeper into the walk, I'm seeing more mention of compasses, maps and GPS! I was never much of a boy scout! Please could you advise me as to the depth of knowledge and equipment I would need to navigate the walk safely.

Many thanks


three peaks
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Re: Yorkshire 3 Peaks - Solo

Post by three peaks » 17 Dec 2011, 14:28

Generally speaking its not a good idea to walk in the hills alone. But assuming you are going to do it there are a few things to make the walk safer and more enjoyable over and above the usual advice. Most of this applies to groups, but is doubly important on your own.
  • Learn the route. There a plenty of good books, maps, DVDs etc to familiarise yourself with the route. If the weather comes in or you have problems it will help you get to safety fast. A GPS would obviously be great if you can stretch to one, but don't rely solely on it.
  • Take a torch and whistle, mobile etc to attract attention.
  • Support 'crew'. Leave someone sat in a cafe who knows when you set off and are expected back. Ideally they can meet you at various points near the roads. Contact them when you have a mobile signal and update them on your progress.
  • Check the weather. Depending on what you mean by 'spring' - wintery weather on your own is not good so postpone the walk.
  • Tag along. The three peaks walk can have plenty of people around, so don't feel shy to tag along with a group for a short time. Coming off the top of pen-y-ghent over black dubb moss and the top of ingleborough in cloud are 2 places where people often wander off in the wrong direction.

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Re: Yorkshire 3 Peaks - Solo

Post by mac.hawk » 18 Dec 2011, 21:04

It's not that poorly signposted where all the Rights of Way occur and once you're on the main trek up/down Pen y Ghent, Whernside & Ingleborough it's hard to see how anyone with a bit of common sense could go wrong even in poor weather. However, as three peaks say's, the route across Todber Moss/Black Dubb Moss and Ingleborough summit in poor weather can be a challenge.

I'd recommend you be confident in your map reading skills, hopefully you wont need them, but if you do wander off route you need to be able to competantly either find you way back to it or be able to locate you're current location by any landmarks etc on the map and amend your route accordingly.

Basic GPS as a backup is great but not worth the expence is you're only a 'part time hiker' along well defined routes. Compass - if you know how to use it, fine, but I've never used/needed one.

If possible pre-walk some of the route, I'd recomend parking in (or getting the train to) Horton and either doing the PyG to Ribblehead section or taking Horton Scar Lane to Horton Moor/Marble Quarry Hill then following the route across 'the bog' to High Birkwith and returning along the Ribble Way to Horton which will give you good experience of traversing the unwaymarked section of the route across the bog.

My guide contains a whole host of recommendations regarding what equipment to take, clothing, footwear, food, drink etc - available free by emailing me at 'mac.hawk@ntlworld,com'.

As for doing it solo, well my first 4 challenges were all done solo, and all done mid-week avoiding the crowds. There's something very rewarding doing the challenge solo and on a day when you'll see fewer people en-route. The challenge (for me) becomes far more a personal achievement than doing it in a group (which is still very enjoyable). I'd also be very wary of the weather, I'd be flexible in the day you're going to do it as only a fool would undertake the challenge in monsoon weather or if mist, fog, heavy snow or winds etc are predicted.

Finally, don't be afraid to 'jack it in' if the weather is really poor - it's a fool who puts themselves and others at risk when common sense says the big fella upstairs has shown you just who's in charge.
Last edited by mac.hawk on 12 Mar 2013, 22:31, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Yorkshire 3 Peaks - Solo

Post by Joe » 13 Feb 2012, 14:16


I did the 3 peaks solo October 2011. I set off from the cafe at 7:30 on a sunday morning, weather was overcast but not raining. I walked up the first peak (PYG) and then ran at a 10 minute per mile pace to the base of Whernside. The first problem I encountered between peak 1 and 2 was the bogs. This really slowed my progress as I needed to figure out my route across. There was another guy near me at the time and we helped each other, I did fall in one upto my left knee. Once past the bogs I carried on running to the viaduct and then walked upto the next summit. When I got the the summit of Whernside, the weather had changed and it was now raining quite heavily and very windy. I had also run out of water by this point. I dropped back down whernside at headed to Ingelbrough. Really in need of water now, I was considering quitting, but had no way of getting back to the start other than the route I was following. On the way upto Inglebrough, there was a stream which I was so happy to see! Filled my camelback with water and carried on. The ascent to Inglebrough is very steep and my legs were fairly tired by now, but I trudged on. When I had summited Inglebrough, it is then approx 5 miles back to the start, but seems to go on and on and on. The rain was now persistant and I think I'd probably ran too hard earlier, legs had little left in them. I got back to my car and it had taken me 6:53. With better supplies, better weather and maybe not going off so quickly when I started running, I think i could get this down to 6 hours. All in all, I really enjoyed doing it solo, there were plenty of people out, so never felt lost or alone, I had my music on which was good and I didn't have to wait or be waited for. Try and do it on a good weather day and you'll be fine and find it very enjoyable.

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