As a mountain guide who lives in the shadow of the 3 Peaks and regularly leads walkers on the 3 Peaks challenge, I felt I was in a unique position to write a book on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks. So I did!
The Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge is on many people’s bucket list, an achievable (but difficult) walk in an accessible part of the country. The fact the area is stunningly beautiful helps!
The 3 Peaks book offers a detailed step by step description of the 3 Peaks route.
However there is much more to it than that:
- Full colour photography throughout
- A description of alternative routes up each mountain
- History and Geology of this unique and fascinating area
- Sections on Fell Running, Caving and Biking written by outside experts
- The problems of managing the route, written by Alan Hulme from the National Park
- Beyond the 3 Peaks: excellent alternative challenges for walkers in the Dales
Over 80,000 walkers take on the 3 Peaks challenge each year, most complete it. Only the highest mountains in Britain have more climbers visiting their summits, Snowdon is the most popular but Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Ben Nevis take over 100,000. However as a challenge walk the Yorkshire 3 Peaks is the biggest of the lot carrying over double the number of walkers as the National 3 Peaks.
The walk itself is not technically difficult with only a few sections requiring a minimum amount of hands on help. However it can be a navigational challenge, particularly when the cloud is down (which it often is!) It really is important that someone in the party either knows the route or can map read. Using this step by step description described in the 3 Peaks book is also very helpful.
One of the greatest joys I have had in compiling the book is taking the photos. Days spend wandering the slopes of all 3 mountains, taking my time and hopefully producing some lovely photography as a result. The 3 Peaks are set some of the most attractive and unique scenery in Britain. Ribblehead viaduct is the centrepiece, a Victorian masterpiece constructed in the 1870s and still used today. Surrounding the viaduct are the 3 mountains, set in limestone scenery.
The focus of the book is the challenge itself but the book offers much more. One of the best ways to enjoy the mountains is to climb only one of them a day. The most enjoyable routes up each of the 3 Peaks are not necessarily the ones on the challenge. Each of these alternative walks are described complete in detail including all there is to see and enjoy during the walk. For example the climb of Ingleborough from Clapham includes visits to Ingleborough Cave, Gaping Gill, Trow Grill and a wonderful descent through the Ingleborough Nature Reserve.
To help complete the 3 Peaks story I have asked some outside contributors to talk about their non walking experiences of the 3 Peaks. Dale Cordingley, Paul Baker and David Wild discuss caving, fell running and cycling and why they enjoy the area so much. In addition Alan Hulme from the Yorkshire Dales National Park talks about the management now, and over the years, of the footpaths and how they can improve the underfoot experiences of the 80,000 who walk the challenge each year.
I hope this book will encourage people to not just take the challenge on but to enjoy it and be encouraged to visit again.