The Three Peaks for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance: A review from Megan and Holly.

At Cross the UK our passion for all things outdoors extends to providing a platform for other people to share their adventures. In particular, nothing makes us more proud than when a group of young people who we’ve trained on the D of E decides to continue to explore the outdoors and let us know what they’ve been up to. Megan and Holly are two shining examples of why we’re proud of our work with young people as they have completed their Bronze and Gold D of E programs, are training to become D of E leaders and have continued to take on challenges in the outdoors. We’re super proud of you both and thank you for sharing your story with us here. Take it away Megan……

Following the completion of our Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition, we were itching to get our walking boots back on and challenge ourselves yet again. Myself (Megan Clibbens) and Holly Hargreaves decided to undertake the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, in order to complete this challenge we had to walk all three peaks in under 12 hours. We were inspired to fundraise for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance after Holly witnessed the service airlift 18-year-old Jack Tyreman to Hull Royal Infirmary after a critical road accident, near his Home in Burythorpe.  We aimed to raise £3000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, the average cost of one ambulance airlift to support the excellent service they provide to our community.

So on May 18th, 2019, Holly and I, along with our families and friends, put on our walking boots and began the challenge, starting at a steady pace with the ascent up Pen-y-Ghent.  It wasn’t too long before we reached the steep, rocky path that would take us to the summit and whilst the weather had been relatively clear up until that point, as we started our climb to the summit the mist closed in restricting our views as we ascended.  This part of the trail was very busy and we found ourselves in a queue at several points, whilst other climbers also negotiated their way through the large rocks.  This terrain was rough as well as wet, making it more challenging, but the sense of achievement on reaching the top as a group was rewarding and we were able to glimpse how far we’d climbed as the mist cleared in places.

After stopping briefly to take pictures beside the summit marker, we then started our gentle descent down the winding, white, stoney path, where some of us were to lose our footing on the loose stones, providing a little entertainment for the rest of the group!  Despite this, it was a relatively gentle descent and in just a couple of hours we were at our rendezvous point where we met with grandparents to refill our water bottles and have a quick bite to eat (including a delicious slice of homemade lemon came – thanks to Holly’s grandma) before heading on to the next peak, Whernside.

The 7-mile ascent up Whernside began fairly gently with a clearly laid, if somewhat stoney, path and there were still lots of other walkers and groups on the trail.  It wasn’t long before we reached the steeper ground, where groups began to thin out as the trail became more challenging with a long, slow and steep slog to the summit.  We did take a couple of short breaks as we ascended here so that we could regroup and take in the panoramic views below us before continuing on to the summit.

These seven miles of ascent up Whernside were long and tiresome due to the stair-like ascent, but it was with a real sense of achievement that we sat atop this peak and ate our sandwiches, nuts and much-appreciated jelly babies!  After taking the obligatory picture by the summit marker, we set off on our second descent of the day in pursuit of the third and final peak!

Whilst the descent down Whernside wasn’t particularly long, it was certainly challenging.  With loose stones and high stone slabs in the form of steps to negotiate, this was a very steep descent that proved testing for some, but we worked as a team and everyone returned safely to the bottom of the peak.

After a quick refreshment break with ‘Team Grandparents’ we quickly moved on to our third and final ascent up Ingleborough, passing groups of people with homemade banners and motivational slogans, cheering everyone on.  Ingleborough looms up fairly close from the outset and as we ascended the relatively short, steep walk through fields and onto a nicely laid out stone stair path it became clear just how formidable this last peak is!  With aching feet and a level of fear creeping in at the sheer scale of the challenge, we scrambled up the steep side before reaching a plateau at the foot of what would prove to be the steepest ascent throughout the whole challenge.  In order to reach the peak, we had to climb up and over a narrow outcrop of solid rock  – made all the more scary as it was two-way traffic with people passing by us on their descent.  I’m glad to say that it was well worth the challenge after standing atop Ingleborough with an unrivalled panorama across the dales, allowing us to truly appreciate what we had achieved so far.

It’s fair to say that our final descent got off to a pretty scary start as we found ourselves on the outside edge of the rocky outcrop that we had just climbed!  Thankfully, this was very short and in no time we were onto the last five miles of our journey.  With aching feet, suffering all the more from yet another stoney path, this felt like the longest part of the challenge although we marvelled at many things during this descent, from the discovery of tiny, wild orchids to the dedication of mountain bikers heading up Ingleborough with their bikes on their back!  As we neared the end, it was a comfort to see the 1-mile marker for Horton in Ribblesdale (where we had started the challenge that morning).  Our whole party completed the challenge comfortably within the 12 hours, with Holly managing an incredible 10 hours and  4 minutes!  Special congratulations must go to our youngest team members – our sisters Alex, age 11 and Eve age 12, who never wavered in their commitment to completing the challenge.   After walking 24.5 miles and totalling 5,000 feet of ascent, we all slept easily that night!

So far, we have raised £2,726.32 of our £3,000 goal.  If you would like to make a donation and support the incredible service provided by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance please click on the link below. We are truly thankful for all contributions.

With thanks,

Megan and Holly

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