The start of a New Year is a great time to set yourself new challenges, and one of the most famous challenges on the doorstep of Layhead Farm Cottages is the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks walk, 24 miles in 12 hours or under. And it’s not for the faint hearted!
We often get groups staying with us specifically to do this challenge because they know they can come back to their Layhead Farm Cottage and soak in a hot bath and snuggle up on a comfy sofa.
The Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks consists of Pen-y-Gent, Whernside and Ingleborough. All three peaks are a challenge in themselves. The whole walk includes over 1600m (5000 feet) so you do need to be fit and able to navigate and cope with conditions on the fells.
Most people know that Yorkshire is well known for its rain and sometimes inclement weather, so be prepared for weather changes that can happen in minutes, particularly on the tops of the peaks. The sun may be shining whilst you are climbing to the summit, but when you get to the top it can be cold, generally windy and suddenly low cloud can descend faster than you can open your flask of tea. The key to dealing with this is to wear suitable clothing. Have layers of clothing you can take off and on as required and always ensure you have good waterproofs, including leggings, hat, gloves, spares socks, even if you are walking in summer. They don’t weigh much for carrying but you will be glad of them if you need them. Walking in flip flops, general day shoes and not carrying any extra layers or water is asking for trouble.
If you fancy doing the Three Peaks challenge and have never done anything like this before, or are not as fit as you used to be, plan to do your walk at the end of summer/ beginning of autumn when the weather is still fairly favourable, then build up to it. Start by doing shorter walks wearing the footwear you intend to wear on the big day. This way you can find out about any rubs. Test out different rucksacks too if you can. Over the coming months, lengthen the walks and include some hill walking. Although walking along a canal bank for miles is a great way to get out and about, it does not compare to hill walking, and can be quite a shock on the day if you are not used hills. You will tire very quickly, mentally and physically. Another good tip is learn to eat what your body needs to keep your energy levels going. You don’t need to buy the fancy energy drinks. Pack plenty of high protein snack bars, biscuits, carbohydrates, bananas and some chocolate as well as a good packed lunch and remember to eat something every couple of hours, even if you don’t want to. As you practice throughout the year on your practice walks, find out what works for you. Always ensure you carry plenty of water, especially on the day if it’s hot, a minimum of two litres. Encourage yourself to drink water throughout your practice walks. You will be amazed at how much you do drink.
It is an amazing feeling completing a challenge. You will feel so pleased with yourself when you do. If you want to find out more about the Three Peaks Challenge CLICK HERE to Yorkshire Dales website and click on The Three Peaks – take in all three summits in one go