27 April 2021

  • Charities

Sheffield Mutual team complete Yorkshire Three Peaks

After five months in the making, the day, which felt like it would never arrive, finally had as our team of nine (Jamie Bellamy, Paul Galloway, Curtis Parker, Laura Staniland, Peter Leverton, Tom Rofe, Will Powell, Lewis Kerry and Board member, Stuart Plant-Hately) prepared to take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is a 24.5 mile walk and includes 1,585m of ascent. The challenge takes on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough (usually in this order) and the aim is complete the walk in under 12 hours.

It was an early start for everyone, with some getting up as early as 2:00am, bleary-eyed, nervous and undertaking a final check of their kit list.

The team met at the Sheffield Mutual office at 4:00am, with the aim of beginning the walk in Horton in Ribblesdale between 6-6:30am.

After a two-hour drive, the team began the walk at 6:20am and headed for the first peak, Pen-y-ghent. The team were in good spirits as they made their way to the first ascent, which is 694 metres. The first peak, which turned out to be more of a scramble than a walk to make your way to the top, was completed in just over an hour.

Curt and Tom starting the climb up Pen-y-ghent

The team 'scrambling' up Pen-y-ghent

The team at the top of Pen-y-ghent

At this point, our legs and feet were still feeling fresh as we set off for the next peak - Whernside. The distance between Pen-y-ghent and Whernside took up the majority of our walking time, with the distance between the two peaks being just over ten miles. The route from this point was a mixture of steps, stone paths and grass and the team got the chance to take in the breathtaking views, along with spotting the hundreds of sheep and lambs that encompassed the surrounding fields.

The team then made their way over the River Ribble on their way to the Ribblehead Viaduct, where they stopped for lunch.

After lunch, the steady incline up Whernside began, which felt very different to the short and action-packed summit of Pen-y-ghent – no scrambling here. The weather, which had been a friend up until this point, was making the ascent up Whernside more challenging, as the sun was out in full force with no breeze in sight.

At Ribblehead Viaduct

After a couple of breaks, the team made it to the top of Whernside just after 12:30pm. The team then started their descent down Whernside after stopping for something to eat and photos. The (never-ending) descent from the summit is one clear path down to the bottom, which was quite tough on the knees!

Whernside summit - peak two

The walk from Whernside to Ingleborough was shorter than the last and the team took the time to take in the scenery around them.

The descent down Whernside

The last peak was undoubtedly going to be the toughest, as by now the team had been walking for over eight hours. Ingleborough can be seen from Whernside and the team could see what they were about to tackle; an ascent that had affectionately been named ‘The Devil’s Staircase’. After a quick pit-stop at the bottom to gather their thoughts, the team started their climb up Ingleborough. Like Pen-y-ghent, the ascent was more of a short, sharp scramble. But unlike Pen-y-ghent, the team no longer had fresh legs to get them up the peak – this climb was very much mind over matter.

After reaching the top, our elation faded fast as the team realised it was a false summit – but we pushed on and made our way to the top of Ingleborough.

Our celebratory mood was short-lived as we soon remembered the 4.5 mile walk back to where we started. The walk back to Horton in Ribblesdale felt a lot longer than the 4.5 miles the map claimed, and you still needed your wits about you, as the majority of the ground was hard and uneven.

The team at the top of Ingleborough

By this point, the walk had really started to take its toll, as the team had fallen silent, all with one goal in mind – to finish the challenge within the 12-hour time.

The route back to Horton in Ribblesdale leads through the train station’s platform, a sight the team were very happy to see!

A short walk back to the car pack followed and the team made it within a respectable 11 hours 30 minutes.

Curtis Parker, Lead Business Development Specialist and who had organised the event said:

“We knew this was going to be a tough challenge, but we didn’t quite expect how difficult it would be despite all the training. The team showed real spirit and dug deep, embracing our true Yorkshire grit to get over the line within 12 hours.

More importantly, we are thrilled to have raised over £2,750 for Sheffield Mind, the mental health charity. The charity will be using the funds we have raised towards the running costs of their ‘Listening Line’ which provides support to people who have been left feeling lonely and isolated during lockdown.”

Lindsay Doyle-Price, Business Development Manager at Sheffield Mind said:

“Thank you to Sheffield Mutual for the amount of donations that the team has raised – amazing what a fabulous result! The donation will be used to keep the ‘Listening Line’ running for a month – which is fantastic!”

It’s been a bit of a godsend these last few months, providing support to people who have been left feeling lonely and isolated as a result of the lockdown.

We had always anticipated that the line would be a short-term solution to a problem, but we would like to keep it going for as long as possible as we are already starting to see an upturn in calls from people who have concerns about the relaxation of restrictions, and we want to be able to support people through the transition in to another new normal!”

You can still donate via the Virgin Money Giving page, here.

By Laura Staniland


Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist

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