Countryside, Guided Walks, Local Interest, Skills for Walking

Three Peaks Challenge – what happens if you have to drop out and there is no back up.

Penyghent at Dawn

I originally published this blog last September but now that the 2016 Three Peaks season is well on its way I thought it was worth republishing and updating any links

If you are planning to do the Yorkshire Three Peaks then there are lots of things you need to consider. The “What happens if I cannot complete the walk” is well worth thinking about too, even if you are going on an organised event.

Whenever you go for a walk whether short or long you should consider the “what ifs” and have an escape route or plan. On the best Three Peaks walks you will have someone in a vehicle acting as support. They can carry spare water and snacks as well as pick up anyone who has maybe injured themselves or who knows they cannot complete the walk. There are two or three places where the support vehicle can meet you to check everyone is ok. It can be a thankless and boring job but the walkers will get a real boost seeing them between the peaks and knowing they have backup if needed.

Some organised walks tell you to carry a mobile phone and have some money on 20140614_120457you for a taxi or the train in case you are not keeping up or want to drop out. You maybe doing the walk with a few friends and not have anyone to provide a back up for you. A point to remember is that mobiles do not work at the road heads of Birkwith, Ribblehead and Chapel-le-Dale and the only public phone box is at the Station Inn at Ribblehead. There are taxis around here but they can be very busy, at peak times particularly, so you will need some money for a pint or two while you wait for one. The Hill Inn between Whernside and Ingleborough is available for drinks while you wait too.  Make sure you have the taxi numbers with you so you can call where you have a signal though. There are some trains at Ribblehead on the famous Settle Carlisle Railway so you can check the timetable.  There are also some buses but they are not that regular especially out of season but the Dales Bus has information. Dales Bus. Make sure you have this information with you before you set off.

Map and CompassWe are seeing more and more people walking along the roads, especially coming back down to Horton-in-Ribblesdale from Ribblehead. Perhaps they do not have any money or would rather not pay. Walking on the road is very hard on your feet and legs and is just under 5 1/2 miles long.  It has no verge to walk on most of the way, is quite narrow and winding and has numerous blind bends and summits. It is well used by tourist and local cars and cycles but it is also well know for being a popular motorbike route and has more than its fair share of riders who think they will live forever despite riding too fast and overtaking when they cannot see. Unfortunately we have also had more than our share of serious injuries and deaths too which is very sad. All in all this road is potentially very dangerous for walkers and is not the best route back to Horton-in-Ribblesdale either.

The Alternative – The easiest on your tired legs and feet is to follow the Three Peaks walk to High Birkwith and then take the Ribble Way to Sell Gill to join the Pennine Way down to Horton. At just under 6 1/4 miles it is a bit longer but far more pleasant and much, much safer.  Another idea is to follow the much less busy road down to the village from High Birkwith and this route is just over 6 miles but again much safer.

If you plan for the possibility of having to drop out of the walk and the unlikely happens then it does not mean that the day is totally spoilt by you having to work out what to do in a place with no signal and when you have no money or planned options.

Enjoy your walking. If you need a to develop your navigation skills, a guide or safety  cover for any walk, including the Three Peaks, please get in touch Contact Us

Caving Courses, Caving for Groups, Filming, Holiday Courses

Paul Rose on BBC Pennine Way programme goes caving with us.

Sean and Paul Rose after filming for BBC Pennine Way.Back in late November we received a call from the BBC who were producing the Pennine Way programme currently showing on BBC 1 in the North on Fridays at 7.30 pm.  Dave had been talking to Lucy from the production team earlier in the year but we understood there might not be enough room for a caving trip so thought that was that.  The call in November was to ask us if we could take Paul Rose the presenter caving in a few days. They realised, as they began filming, there was enough great material to fill another episode to make it last for 4 weeks.  Dave was on holiday so we asked Sean Whittle, who works with us regularly, if he was available and luckily he was. A star is born!

It is a great series and is available on the BBC iPlayer as well as still running for another 2 weeks on BBC1. We understand in the future it will be showing nationwide on BBC2.

Here is the link to the episode with Sean in and it also includes great footage of Malham Show, Climbing at Malham Cove, Pen-y-ghent Cafe and the Three Peaks.  Well worth a watch.

So if you fancy trying caving with us then get in touch. We have holiday evening caving trips that individuals, families and small groups can join in, you can join a course or you can book your own instructor for a day and time convenient for you. We also run navigation courses for those of you that might want to tackle the Pennine Way or maybe just parts of it.


Update on clearing litter at God’s Bridge

So I went back to God’s Bridge a week after the cleaning up and it was still clear which was a very pleasant surprise. While I was there I thought I would go through the gate and let my dog have a drink in the beck. A group of young people came along with a leader and he suggested they had a quick stop there so I walked up towards Browgill Cave instead.

When I got near the cave I saw some cows with their calves and after the incident the day before that CRO was involved in I backtracked to avoid them and I knew the group at God’s Bridge would not be there for long.

As soon as they left I went through the gate I was shocked, and it takes a lot to shock me, to see that some sort of foam had been used to “Graffiti” the grass with a graphic picture of  male genitals. I have a photo but did not want to get censored for bad taste!  I am not sure what it had been done with as my initial thought was that squirty cream you can buy. When I tried to get rid of it the substance was oily and I can only presume it was shaving foam or something similar. I had to wipe it off my shoe as it did not want to wash off very easily.

This is a new one on me. I guess they thought it was funny and it would eventually go away but that is not how it works, especially during a dry spell.

I was surprised the leader of the group did not check the site before leaving but the most puzzling thing is why would you be carrying shaving/shower cream around the Three Peaks with you?!! It takes all sorts.


Doing our bit to clear litter from a part of the Three Peaks route

Last week I posted a picture of the litter left by some walkers at God’s Bridge on the Yorkshire Three Peaks route.  The section this blog is about is just a very short section of the route. Previously we have picked plastic water bottles discarded along the route from Pen-y-ghent to Birkwith and beyond. The summit of Pen-y-Ghent is always littered with food wrappings, banana skins and bottles, some of which are just stuffed into the dry stone wall by the stile. If it is bad on this section it is unlikely to be any better on the rest of the route. Thousands and thousands of people walk this route every year and it only takes a few to spoil it for everyone.

God’s Bridge Saturday 25th May 2013

I decided that it was important to not only report on the litter at God’s Bridge but to do something about it. Last Saturday I went armed with gloves and bin bags to “do my bit”. When I got there it was obvious that someone had done some cleaning up but it had been added to again over the week. I went around 12.00 noon so most walkers had gone through.

Gods Bridge Litter
God’s Bridge litter Saturday 1st June 2013

As was mentioned on Twitter the only way to try and stop people dropping their litter is to remove it all and especially anything that looks like a container. Someone on Facebook asked why we pay our rates, maybe this was a tongue in cheek comment but obviously some people do think there are people cleaning up after them! I have to point out that this spot is a long way from any vehicle access and the rubbish has to be carried out on foot by volunteers.

After I had finished I had 2 bags of rubbish which included a carrier bag with 2 stainless steel 0.5l flasks inside, with their price tags still on, plastic and glass bottles, food wrappers, socks, foil containers and tissues. The area was completed cleared to try and stop the copycat litter throwers.

God's Bridge cleared 1st June 2013
God’s Bridge cleared 1st June 2013

I decided to carry on clearing the route back towards the next gate and on the way picked up cans, a broken walking pole and sweet wrappers. When I got to the gate/stile/wall corner I found more bottles and wrappers and a pile of human excrement topped with soiled paper serviettes. I removed the paper but drew the line at the rest!

To finish off I thought I would drive up to the track junction at High Birkwith as I had picked up several items of abandoned clothing the previous week. This is an area used by many for their first waterstop and checkpoint.Even I was amazed at the next sight I got. Right in the middle of the track was a box full of fresh empty bottles. Somebody must have found an empty animal feed container and thought it would make a good bin and being on a track that if they left it in the middle then someone would take it away.

High Birkwith "Litter Bin"
High Birkwith “Litter Bin”
High Birkwith "bin" with Whernside in the background
High Birkwith “bin” with Whernside in the background

Before I left I checked over the stile near Birkwith Cave. You often see people popping over there, and sometimes being sent by the check point people, to relieve themselves. Yes, you guessed it, there was another pile of human waste right by the stile. This cave is popular with novice groups and novice groups tend to be young people so that’s a great health hazard and a pretty disgusting sight for us all too.

Please spread the word – Take your litter home with you. There are no bins on the Three Peaks route. Anything dumped can potentially hurt livestock and even other walkers. There are no official toilets on the route either so come prepared to clean up after yourself.  I might be wrong but I feel it is not “true walkers” who are doing this but a few people who have just signed up for the Challenge and do not regularly visit or appreciate the beauty of the countryside. They are not necessarily “townies” as many people from urban areas do appreciate the countryside so lets not label them. This is a problem for the National Three Peaks too and seems to be in places where a few people are so focused on the challenge element and doing it as fast as possible they do not even “see” their surroundings.

All the rubbish has now been disposed of and this included 57 bottles and 8 cans being recycled. I will go back this weekend to see if the area is still clear- fingers crossed. There are obviously other people clearing up the litter as they go along  so thank you for “doing your bit” too. Lets hope we can all see an improvement over the summer months.

Pam    June 2013

Total Rubbish

Mountain & Cave Rescue, Uncategorized

Help the local mountain rescue team for the Three Peaks and your favourite charity

Lots and lots of people visit our area to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks and often they are raising money for very worthwhile causes and some are just doing it for the personal challenge. Some people just come to enjoy a shorter walk or pursue another outdoor activity in this beautiful place.

Cave Rescue Organisation who are the local mountain and cave rescue team for the area, are on hand 24/7 365 days of the year to help anyone, walker, caver, climber, mountain biker or even animal in difficulties. We know the name is a bit misleading but reputably being the oldest cave rescue team in the world, as formed in 1935, it is hard to lose the name. The vast majority of our work however is above ground. In the Yorkshire Dales the three teams who cover the area all take part in rescues above and below ground and like all Mountain or Cave Rescue teams are all volunteers who have to raise the money to keep the team operational as well as complete the rescues.

Want a new challenge? How about combining supporting your favourite charity as well as supporting the local MR team who are there as a safety net whenever you go out. On Saturday 11th May 2013 CRO have organised their second Ingleborough Marathon and 12 mile Clapham Circuit. These are off road routes you may well have never done before. You can run them or walk them, its your choice. All they ask for is a minimum registration/donation of £25.00 for the Marathon or just £10.00 for the Clapham Circuit. Everyone who completes their route will get a certificate and medal. The event is marshalled and safety covered by the team members so you have that assurance when you set off.

As members of CRO and also part of the organising group we think you will really enjoy this event. Its different, still challenging and you will have the support of CRO while you help us raise money for the team. It is not too late to join us but you do need to hurry. Why not spend the weekend in the area and our site has some suggestions of local places to stay.

For more information and to enter visit the CRO Challenge site

Skills for Walking

Day and Weekend Navigation Courses for 2013

Navigation Skills Courses
Navigation skills courses

We have just published a full list of all our open Navigation Skills day and weekend courses in 2013. All our courses are practically based from start to finish. Build up your confidence so you can explore beyond the well beaten tracks and take advantage of the areas that Open Access has brought you.

These courses are aimed to be enjoyable as well as informative. We run them at a leisurely pace as the important thing is that you learn how to navigate confidently. You do not need the added pressure of trying to keep up with people all the time. That is not to say we do everything slowly but we break the journey up with practicing map work, feature recognition or whatever is appropriate for your course. We have worked with ultra trail runners, triathlon competitors, students, families and retired people. Our triathlon pair said it was nice to actually walk for a change and see the scenery around them! There are quie a few comments about our navigation skill courses on our What people say about us page.

By working with a maximum of 6 people we can adapt the programme to meet your needs. We do not have a minimum number either so once someone has booked on a course we will run it even if no one else books on. This way you can book accommodation or make plans without worrying if things will get cancelled.

We supply map, compass, basic GPS for the duration of the courses.

If you cannot see a date to suit you then get in touch and we will see what we can do.

Getting Started with Navigation Days

Never used a map before – then this is the day for you

These days are designed for people who want to learn the basics of navigation.

Developing Your Compass Skills Days

Understand how to use a map and the basics of navigation but never really used a compass before – then this is the day for you.

These days are for people who have used a map to navigate and now want to gain skills in using a compass.

Walking with a GPS Days

Do you have a GPS which you have not really used much? Do you have a phobia about manuals? Do you want to know if you would find a GPS useful? – Then this is the day for you.

These days are designed for people who want to learn the basics of a GPS while on a walk. Instruction given at your own pace.

Safety on the Hills Days

Happy about your navigation skills but need to gain some confidence around your knowledge of personal safety when out walking on the hills – then this day if for you.

These days will be very practical and look at planning and preparation for going into more remote area and simple procedures for unforeseen incidents.

All these day courses cost £60.00 incl. vat per person . Dates and information here   

Dates and information for the NNAS courses here The Bronze/Silver courses are £115.00 incl. vat each. The Gold Course is £125.00 incl. vat

National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS)

Want to develop your navigation skills in more depth and would like some accreditation too – then these are the courses for you.

The NNAS is an incentive scheme designed to help people develop their skills from basic understanding at Bronze level through to a higher level of skills at Silver and Gold level. They are 2 day non-residential courses at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. More information about the scheme at Certificate and badge on successful completion of the course at your appropriate level.

All our courses are practically based from start to finish.

Caving Courses, Caving for Groups



Introductory and Intermediate Holiday Evening Caving Sessions.

You may have seen us taking Ade Edmondson caving on ITV’s The Dales on Monday night and would like to try caving too. If you are on holiday in the Three Peaks area of the Yorkshire Dales during any of the holidays or you or someone you know who lives locally has wanted to try caving then this is the trip for you.
You can book one of our early evening caving sessions that we run during the holidays.  The next one is Monday 7th May 2012. These trips are particularly aimed at families where perhaps only some want to give it a go. The minimum age is 8 years old. The caving trips are also open for couples and individuals.
Climbing down to Dr Bannisters
If you have been before and would like to visit another cave with some vertical sections then in the summer holidays we will be running theses intermediate sessions on Tuesday evenings.
Each Introductory or Intermediate Caving Experience costs £25.00 per person for a 3 hours with a qualified and experienced instructor and includes a caving oversuit, wellies, helmet, belt and light. They start at 5.00 pm and finish by around 8.00 pm
If you have younger children or a bigger family or group we would suggest you book a session for just you.
These trips cost from £160.00 for a group of up to 6 people which is less than £27.00 per person with all kit listed above plus fleece undersuits and a CD of photos of your adventure. The trip can then be geared towards your group and at a time and date suitable for you.
Read more at Caving Courses