“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” – Edmund Hilary
Who doesn’t love mountains? The first mountain I ever climbed very nearly killed me. Well it at least very nearly made me pass out. It was on a school trip, either to Ned Nook or Humphrey Head. I would have been 11/12 or 16 depending which trip it was and the mountain in question would have been either Ingleborough or Scafell Pike. Now I know I climbed both of those, I just can’t remember which one resigned me to a teenage life of hating exercise and instead I took the path of destruction toward alcohol, smoking and an addiction to sugar. I wasn’t a juvenile delinquent, I was just lazy and easily lead. Anyway, fast forward 15-16 years later and a friend of mine was signing up to take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, basically you challenge yourself to complete all three peaks within 12 hours. These three peaks are Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough (Yes, the one that may or may not have tried to kill me). Forgetting my pain and anguish from many years ago, possibly down to killing off one too many brain cells as a teenager, I decided I wanted to sign myself up too. I had quit smoking 6 months previously and I had never felt healthier. I didn’t even give training a second thought until a week or so before we were due to attempt the walk people started questioning my training regime, how had I been getting ready? Panic set in, I hadn’t done any! I’d bought some walking boots and walked around the house in them…did that count? I wasn’t aware that I needed special training. Nobody had mentioned this. After all it’s just walking right? I do that every day. One foot in front of the other. It’s not rocket science. Well no, it’s not rocket science but bloody hell is it painful. Mentally and physically exhausting. The fitness needed for that challenge is equally about your willpower as it is your physical fitness, in fact I’d say even more so. I have since taken on the challenge four times since 2011 and I have witnessed people of all ages, shapes and sizes tackle those mountains. Some of which were taking each tentative step at a snails pace but their mental ability is what kept them going. Yes, there is that challenge in place to complete in under 12 hours but it is not a race, it’s an achievement to make it through them all. So well done to anyone who has finished them, be that all in one go or individually.
Each time that I have started out my ascent to Pen-Y-Ghent up that first field I have thought to myself “What the bleeding hell am I doing”? But it is so worth it, even if you’re not taking on all three peaks I highly recommend the circular walk from Horton In Ribblesdale. It is beautiful. If you ever find yourself in that neck of the woods and you have about 3 hours to kill, give it a go, you wont regret it.
Each time I have finished the Yorkshire Three Peaks I have always threatened that that would be the last time. Yet I always find myself back there, it’s like a drug.
Although one year I betrayed my beloved Yorkshire and found myself taking on the National Three Peaks. Snowdon, Scafell Pike (again the possible Kate Killer) and Ben Nevis. They are some seriously awesome mountains! Basically mountains are awesome.
I’d love to say that my next mountainous challenge is Kilimanjaro ( I have seriously considered it) or Everest (ha!). Unfortunately I can afford neither. However I am walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks again on the 2nd of July and this will be the final time I participate for charity, maybe… after that it will be for my own masochistic enjoyment, yes really 😛
I encourage all people to embrace our mountains, not literally because that would hurt, but get out there, climb them, walk them, run them if you’re mad enough or just enjoy their beauty. These incredible protruding edifices that have been growing for thousands of years are wondrous places to visit. They are so peaceful, like magical gentle giants offering us a piece of tranquil escapism from the deafening roar of every day life back down on the flat ground.
*Safety and environmental notice. Please, if you are venturing out in to the mountainous regions of our earth please take care, be sensible, research the area, be prepared, ( the Scouts know their shiz) always let someone know where you plan to go and your plan B,C and D. Also please be respectful of your environment. Just remember that they were here first and they’ll be here a lot longer than we will, we’re just visiting. Bask in their beauty and keep it beautiful ♥∞
Don’t ever let anyone make you think you’re not good enough.
Follow your dreams right now! Don’t wait until tomorrow,
next week, next year. Stop planning, start doing 🙂
‘Blind faith is no way to run a world’ – Victor Stenger