Yorkshire Three Peaks – 1997

I did get sponsorship but I cannot remember what for. We did train, and some of that was very enjoyable.

Most of us had been up the peaks individually and we knew what to expect. The long haul back to Horton after Ingleborough was the only unknown. Lots of us subscribed to the idea. The Thursday night team (five guys who retired at the same time) kept up their commitment, but the old running club – ‘The Steampigs’ – mustered two only, and an extra for the first leg.

The Thursday team made a weekend of it just north of Settle, and they had some extras as well. Dave Whalley and Allan Jones never had any intentions of doing it, but were going to man feeding and rest stations between each peak and at the end. The steampigs were Dave Babbins just for Penyghent and James Walsh and myself for the whole show, if we could make it.

Arriving at the car park in Horton to find a scrummage (7.30-8.00am). We’d chosen the same day as the BT challenge – teams of four from all over the country. They had a field to themselves, car park and huge marquee. The closest we got was to the café was the railway station actually on the road. My feet weren’t still right and I was in trainers.

The first two peaks were long processions, long lines in single file going up. Coming down we were able to pick up and jog-walk. The path up Penyghent is steep and narrow, and we overtook the Thursday night team on the descent. We did a long loop up the Settle-Carlisle railway before Whernside, the path up which is paved. On the top I first realised that James has worse fear of heights than I do. By the time we did Ingleborough, we’d got some space, most people either well in front or taking their time behind. It’s quite an effort and again I was on the outside protecting James from the drop. We ran the last six miles, though we did stop to console one poor sod who had knackered a knee – easily done – was he miserable or what?

The most abiding thought concerns the feeding stations. They were brilliant. Dave and Allan, there, reliably, food, water, friendly if somewhat incredulous faces, dry and clean shirts and socks. We carried the minimum around with us. Whatever misery we were feeling, we knew would only last until the next stop. It was after the second stop that we decided we would try and complete, such was its success in raising our morale. And they were there again at the finish.

8 hours 10 minutes.