Last Saturday, Connect colleagues joined together to take on the mammoth task of the Yorkshire Three Peaks to raise money for Arthritis Research UK. The 24mile long walk takes on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, and includes 5,200ft (1,585m) of ascent, all to be completed in less than 12 hours!
With 10 members of staff taking on the challenge, we spoke with Marketing Executive, Chloe Ireland about her experience of the walk:
“I’ve never been a keen walker so the Three Peaks presented a new challenge for me. Before the event, I didn’t even own a pair of walking boots or have the suitable waterproofs for the challenge so I knew I’d need all the help I could get.
We arrived at Horton-in-Ribblesdale around 7.30am and after a quick toilet stop, we donned our walking boots and waterproof coats and began our walk up Pen-y-ghent. This started as a gradual, grassy ascent, however Dave (who has organised the event) had pre-warned us that both Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough were steep climbs, so we were prepared for the rocky hike when it came. As we got around halfway up the rain started, making it even more difficult to climb up the rocks towards the peak. However, within an hour, we’d reached the top!
After a quick banana break (and selfie), we began the 7-mile walk down the first peak. Although long, the walk from Pen-y-ghent to Whernside was probably the most enjoyable and relaxed part of the day. By that point most of the rain and mist had cleared and we were able to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery.
At the bottom of Pen-y-ghent, we took the opportunity to stop at the bus for some needed carb-loading and change our wet t-shirts before we started our walk again, this time taking on Whernside.
The first part of the walk up Whernside was muddy, but steady. However, once we’d crossed a stile about a mile or so in, the path became steep and rain started again. The levels of Whernside and mist didn’t help the situation. Every time I thought we’d made it up the steepest part of the peak, there were more and more steps waiting for us.
When we did eventually reach the summit, our boots, socks and clothes were soaked through. The rain and wind at the top of the second peak were particularly bad, so after another quick selfie, we pushed on.
After the difficult ascent of Whernside, I thought the hardest part was of the walk was over, but I was wrong. The descent from the summit was incredibly steep and the rain didn’t help the situation. I slipped twice on the rocks on the long walk down and saw a man literally roll down the hill after slipping on a particularly muddy patch of ground (he was fine). Needless to say, once we’d reached the bottom I was very relieved!
After a toilet stop at the bottom of Whernside, we started on the path towards Ingleborough. By this point the rain had cleared and we were back on a grassy path so we were able to enjoy the first part of the walk. Like Pen-y-ghent, however, the walk got gradually steeper the nearer we got to the summit. In some areas we were using our hands and feet to climb up the steep zigzagged rock and it took all of our strength to get to the top.
When we did finally reach the third peak, we were very tired but tremendously proud of ourselves. The mist spoiled any sort of view we might have had from the top but by that point we were just happy we’d made it. After another couple of pictures, we retraced our steps back down some steep rocks and began our final descent.
I’d be warned by a few people that the final 5 miles, from the peak of Ingleborough, to Horton-in-Ribblesdale would be the hardest part of the walk. However, I don’t think I’d quite prepared myself for how long 5 miles feels after you’ve already walked 19. The last 2 miles were the longest I’ve ever walked and when we eventually crossed the train track into Horton-in-Ribblesdale, I was so relieved we’d finished.
Even with all of the rain, sore legs and mist spoiling our view, the experience was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done and it was so worthwhile having done it for such a great cause. I also found out recently that some groups who were due to do the Three Peaks the same weekend dropped out due to the weather conditions, which makes me even prouder that we managed to complete it. Well done Team Connect!”
The team did an amazing job of taking on the challenge and all together have managed to raise a massive £2,465 for Arthritis Research UK. All of this would not have been possible, however, without the help of our Financial Controller Dave Coulter who organised all of the event. He had this to say:
Having taken part and completed the challenge in 2015, it occurred to me that it fitted quite well with the company and our nominated charity Arthritis Research UK. Normally I complete a range of events in any given year where I challenge myself and this presented the opportunity to do something as part of a team and increase the amount of money we could raise. Early planning helped tremendously and thankfully I had a few key people throughout the company that helped with the arrangements for the challenge.
When I arranged the event, I wanted everyone taking part to feel a sense of achievement even if they did not make it all the way around the 24 mile course. I’m really proud of everyone who took the time and effort to take part and for the amount of money we raised for the charity. It has inspired others to take part in the future and almost everyone who did the challenge this year is expecting to be back on the Yorkshire peaks next time, and that tells me we did a pretty good job!