Snowy Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Sunday 3rd December 2023

After both mine and Andy’s plans fell through for the weekend, we found ourselves with a free Sunday, which we decided to fill with a snowy 24 mile run around the Yorkshire 3 Peaks.

At 8:30 we started our watches and headed up onto Pen-Y-Ghent. The sky was grey and the temperature was around 2 degrees, but the wind was still which made it very enjoyable, perfect winter running conditions. It came to my surprise that given condition underfoot, we made it from the car to the top of Pen-Y-Ghent in 45 minutes which I was chuffed with.

As anticipated we had no views at the top so we swiftly moved onto the slippery descent back down the mountain, which lead us onto the path to Whernside. I thought I might have needed my Black Diamond Access Spikes that I had with me in my pack but the snow was quite grippy, my Inov8 X-Talon Ultras were enough for me to feel safe. Andy was wearing some Inov8 Arctic Claw 300’s which are essentially an Inov8 Mudclaw with metal studs incorporated into the lugs. I’m keeping my eye out for a pair now as they’re unfortunately a discontinued model, it’s a shame really as they seem really good!

The path to Whernside is an undulating path which meanders through the rolling hills between the 2 peaks, visiting a couple of farms along the way. This section was really nice, hearing the crunching snow underfoot and taking in the snowy scenery of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. This is the section I find I normally catch up with the Yorkshire 3 Peaks walkers that have set off earlier, but there was only one other shoe and paw print within the snow, I thought it would be much busier! Although the quiet tranquil path soon turned busy when we reached the Ribblehead Viaduct where the road was lined with cars and plenty of shoe prints heading in the direction of Whernside.

After heading into the low cloud and seeing nothing but white, we reached the summit of Whernside where we met a few other mad folk out playing in the snow. We didn’t stay at the top long as there wasn’t much to look at except a whiteout and Sheps new lovely eyebrows, so we carried on and headed for Ingleborough.

We were debating taking the runners path off Whernside, a hidden path that avoids the steep, slippery, rocky steps but in the snow it was impossible to find. So we ended up going down the steps which ended up being the better option anyway, they weren’t as bad as we thought they were going to be.

The next section is relatively flat, making your way through Philpin Farm where the Café is and along to the path which takes you to the foot of Ingleborough. We passed through the sledging field trying to avoid being wiped out, across the fields where Shep was enjoying catching snow balls and straight into a herd of curious Belted Galloways. We avoided any confrontation by veering off the path and staying clear of the herd, although Shep was dying to say hello, I somehow don’t think they would have liked that. We then started the ascent up Ingleborough which is always harder than it looks, it’s quite a deceiving path.

As we started to climb, the clouds broke and we could see the summit of Ingleborough, but only the summit, it was strange how it was the only section of the mountain that was visible, the rest was still hidden in the cloud. Andy reckoned there would be a cloud inversion at the top, and he wasn’t wrong. We were rewarded with a beautiful cloud inversion as we reached the summit of Ingleborough, truly breath-taking. In the distance poking out above the clouds was the Lake District and also what I could only assume was The Howgills, then closer up was the summit of Whernside, incredible!

It was hard to leave, we met a lovely photographer who Shep kindly modelled for, this only gave us more time to stay and admire the views. Unfortunately though, all good things must come to an end, and we set off back into the clouds.

I’m glad that it worked out this way, both our plans failing meant we could enjoy playing in the snow and take in a fabulous cloud inversion! Couldn’t have picked a better day for it. Anyway, 5:50:03 we stopped our watches and headed for the chippy in Settle. I’ll take that for a 3 Peaks in the snow!

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