How Pen-y-Ghent became part of Yorkshire's Three Peaks Challenge in 1887

Sunlight breaks through the clouds on an autumnal day to illuminate the peak of Pen-y-Ghent in this picture captured by Yorkshire Post photographer Marisa Cashill.

Pen-y-Ghent is one of Yorkshire's Three Peaks. Picture: Marisa Cashill
Pen-y-Ghent is one of Yorkshire's Three Peaks. Picture: Marisa Cashill

The scale of the 2,276ft-high fell - one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks - is highlighted by the just-visible figures of walkers wending their way up towards the summit.

How Yorkshire's most famous walk put a community under strainThe picture was taken on a relatively quiet day on Pen-y-Ghent, which thanks to the Three Peaks Challenge is one of the country’s most popular walking routes.

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The challenge also involves ramblers taking on the peaks of Whernside and Ingleborough, with the aim of completing all three climbs within 12 hours.

The challenge has its origins in the late 19th Century when two teachers from nearby Giggleswick School made the first recorded ascent of the three peaks, completing them within ten hours in 1887.

By the 1920s and 1930s, the route had become a popular endurance challenge, with some of the fittest competitors managing to complete in within five or six hours, while fell runners have been taking on a ‘Three Peaks Race’ since the 1950s.

But its understandable popularity - particularly in recent years as charity challenges see hundreds of people muster in the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale to prepare for their ascent every summer weekend - has not been without controversy.

Mountain rescue teams are regularly called out to rescue ill-prepared walkers who have got into difficulties, with cramp problems, getting lost without a map and becoming stranded in the dark without torches among common problems. There have also been complaints about careless parking and anti-social behaviour from some taking on the route, leading to a ‘code of conduct’ being drawn up for walkers.

But for those who are properly prepared, there is no doubt about the joy traversing Pen-y-Ghent can bring - those who make it to the summit can enjoy stunning views of other nearby fells, as well as trains passing by on the Carlisle-Settle railway line.

Technical Information: Fuji x-t3 camera, 400ISO f9, 1/500 second exposure, 50mm lens