Yorkshire Three Peaks
Every year thousands of visitors come to the Yorkshire Dales with a sole purpose in mind: to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, covering the 24 mile route to climb Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in under 12 hours. Along the route they take in some of the most dramatic and beautiful countryside in England, ascending over 5200 ft in total. Most follow the same route, starting with Pen-y-Ghent, then Whernside and Ingleborough but you don't have to walk these peaks all in one go.
There are fantastic signed routes to the summit of each of them. Many start with Pen-y-Ghent, setting out from Horton-in-Ribblesdale and go by Hull Pot on the way down. The Whernside route starts at the incredible Ribblehead Viaduct. Being the highest point in Yorkshire, there are amaazing views as far as Morecambe Bay on a clear day from the summit. Clapham is the starting point for the route up Ingleborough, where you'll see remarkable limestone scenery.
While everyone appreciates that these routes are much loved, a small minority of visitors do cause problems for locals by irresponsible parking, and sometimes litter. The volume of visitors can cause issues with path erosion, and the Yorkshire Dales National Park's rangers and volunteers are kept busy repairing and maintaining the paths and rights of way. Everyone is encouraged to follow the Yorkshire Three Peaks Code of Conduct, and to consider how they can reduce their impact by using designated parking areas and planning well for their walk. Yorkshire Dales weather can change very quickly, and many people don't appreciate the huge potential difference in weather between the bottom of a peak and the summit.
Mountain Rescue Services (volunteers) are frequently called out for silly reasons - because people haven't planned properly, don't wear the right clothing or take sufficient provisions. I've heard of them getting called out to people who set out to climb a significant peak in flip flops (because it was sunny when they set out) and then struggled on scree, or because they'd run out of sandwiches! The volunteer rescuers have plenty of call outs for more serious medical reasons so it's worth being properly prepared to avoid adding to their burden.
The Three Peaks app gives information on the routes, accommodation, maps and points of interest along the way. It would be good if we could help spread the word about the Code of Conduct, to encourage walkers to make a donation to the Mountain Rescue Services, and to take a look at the Three Peaks online shop. Proceeds from items bought go to help fund the work of the rangers and maintain the routes.