I’m In Tremendous Pain, Ted

On Friday, I did the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge. 25 miles or so of walking in the most atrocious weather conditions there could possibly have been…

OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it was heavy rain for more than half the day, and lighter rain in the rest. That meant all my stuff was soaking wet, adding even more weight. And the fact that it was windy too made it very cold. So five layers on top, two layers on the bottom, and a wooly hat on top. So heavy…

The net result was a rather difficult day. I had done enough good preparation, and broke my shoes in properly, so there was never a question of whether blisters would stop me. I was determined to see the bloody thing through, even despite the fact that the other members of my group were a) so slow; and b) unprepared. Why would an 18 stone lorry driver with asthma think he could do the whole thing? Sadly, it meant for the first peak, Pen-y-ghent, we had to stop almost every 10 minutes on the ascent. We did the first 11 miles in 6.5 hours – a tremendously bad pace.

And when the weather is so bad, you really don’t want to be hanging around. But hang around we did… dawdling our way. Then the blisters started to set in on a member of the group who had foolishly bought a new pair of hiking shoes for the event. Bad. Decision. Rule 1 of hiking: Never ever go on a serious hike in new shoes. So numerous stops resulted as that member of the group had to put on the special blister plasters, and change them regularly…

Anyway, we plodded on, and eventually got through to the second peak of Whernside. It was a lot easier though, as fortunately our lorry driving friend realised checkpoint 1, after 11 miles, would be a good place to drop out. Still, a good achievement for him.

Sadly, the weather continued in its disgraceful way. I was assured that there were great views from the top of these peaks, but the shrouds of mist put paid to that. There are photos, but as most of them are in front of white backgrounds due to the thickness of the low clouds, they could have been taken anywhere. And apparently, when this event was repeated for the same charity last year, the weather was warm and sunny. Just my luck.

By the time the third peak came, we made the sensible decision to split our group. Myself and a fellow serious hiker in my group decided to go on ahead and tackle the third peak quickly. That was the best decision of the day, as despite fatigue and aching muscles, we ploughed through the final phase in 2.5 hours or so. The relentless pounding on limestone was difficult, and the ground was absolutely treacherous – boggy, muddy and hard – but we flew through it, got the damn thing over and done with… and completed the Three Peaks in 11 hours, 35 minutes.

I managed to raise £143 for charity – which is excellent. I’m so proud of the achievement. But I really am paying for it now. Tremendous pain is possibly not the right way to describe it. As I sit here, I don’t hurt much. But movement is not a good idea. Thighs killing. Toe nails sore. Shoulders in agony due to the weight of the bag I was carrying…

I’ve no idea how long it’s going to take to recover. Probably many more days, I would imagine. I did enjoy it, despite the weather, and it would be nice to do something similar in the future. I really should hike more often anyway, it’s a cracking way to see the country. Well, as long as there isn’t thick fog, of course.