When: 7 – 9 November 2008

Present: Dave H (organiser), Alan, Mark, Tony, Sarah, Andrea, Annie, Richard C, Adriana, Martin L, Bruce, Andrew Mc.

Location: Dub Cote Barn, Horton-in-Ribblesdale

After a remarkably good run up the country for most people, the group spent Friday evening having a couple of drinks, examining the map, and getting somewhat competitive about the vast quantity of food rations for the next day. The plan for Saturday was to attempt the Three Peaks, something Alan has done about six times before but a new challenge for most others in the group. The weather forecast was not particularly promising, and the get-out points were clearly identified before everyone went to bed around midnight…

…and then got up again less than six hours later, a time of day christened “stupid o’clock”. This author has never got up so early in the name of NMC unless there’s been a flight involved for a Bob trip. The weather lived down to expectations; one person, naming no names, had forgotten their waterproof trousers, but fashioned an interesting alternative using a second jacket and possibly invented the first waterproof skirt. After a few suggestions for design enhancements and the placement of a sporran, the whole group left the bunkhouse at 6.30am.

By the time we reached the top of Pen-y-Ghent it was mostly light, and we’d already lost Mark, whose pace was much faster than everyone else’s. Although it was very wet, we had to stop for Alan to eat his breakfast pastie before continuing. The long route from Pen-y-Ghent to Whernside involved a lot of map-reading and bog-hopping, and one river crossing which took at least 20 minutes of deliberation and resulted in several pairs of wet feet. We then parted company with Alan and Tony, who had a different route in mind from the one on Dave’s map. The terrain and the river put us rather behind schedule, and by the time we reached Ribblehead Viaduct, the group split into those who believed they had the pace and stamina to complete the route, and those who were suffering from wet feet, blisters, and a raging desire for a pint. Annie, Adriana, Andrea, Sarah and Bruce changed their plans from “Three Peaks” to “One Peak and Two Pubs”, and had a drink at Ribblehead before catching the train back to Horton and doing the same thing there. (The frozen cider at Ribblehead is very nice and does not, contrary to initial belief, cost £4.50 for a half pint.) They got back to the bunkhouse shortly after Mark, who had completed the full route in excellent time and bought Three Peaks beer in celebration.

Martin was the next person to arrive back, having done Whernside and then caught the train. The rest of the group finally returned just before 8pm, by which time we’d had a sweepstake running for several hours: Dave, Andrew and Richard had reconvened with Alan and Tony on the way up Ingleborough. Well done to all of them, especially Richard who was suffering badly with his Achilles tendons by the end.

Although there was no communal meal, there were two main offerings of curry or pasta; some people managed both. As the evening progressed and the red wine and port flowed, Tony’s CD collection was thoroughly investigated at a more than reasonable volume. Those who went to bed early actually slept through the communal Bohemian Rhapsody Massacre, although the sound of the cheese grater being used as a percussion instrument did rather echo through the whole bunkhouse. Bedtime for most was shortly after midnight.

The closest some of us got to the Three Peaks.

Janet’s Foss.

Contemplating Gordale Scar.

On Sunday, a smaller group of Dave, Adriana, Bruce, Martin, Andrew, Annie, Sarah and Andrea went to Malham and did the classic Janet’s Foss, Malham Tarn and Gordale Scar walk, approximately 7 miles. The scramble up the waterfall at Gordale Scar looks a lot worse than it actually is, although the water was flowing strongly after recent rains and pretty much guaranteed a drenching. Annie decided she’d rather go round and explore Malham Cove from the bottom. Martin should probably have put his waterproof trousers on before pausing halfway up to advise Sarah on the route; a wall of water from the upper waterfall absolutely soaked him. Everyone enjoyed the scramble (well, Sarah did once she got over the first move), and carried on upwards to the limestone flats and the tarn. The weather closed in again, and we experienced not only rain, but hail and sleet before dripping back into Malham to join Annie and Richard for a cup of tea. The weather then produced even worse excesses on the journey home, but hopefully the elements didn’t detract too much from everyone’s enjoyment of a great trip.

Sarah Davies

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