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23 March 2010 – Route 6, Ingleborough from Chapel le Dale to Horton, solo – The final walk!
On 23 March I set off to complete Route 6 (Chapel-le-Dale to Horton) and with it the whole project. It was two days after the first day of spring, and although there was a chill in the air there was also a change from the short, wintry days to the first signs of the returning summer.
Perhaps the best sign as far as I was concerned was that I was finally carrying my summer weight rucksack for the first time since I had started the project the previous November; it felt as light as a feather compared with the winter gear I had been carrying.
I parked the car in Horton, the destination for Route 6, then as on some of the earlier routes, I took the train to Ribblehead. Rather than take the quick and easy option of walking 2½ kms down the road, I took the old, familiar track under the railway viaduct, passing Gunnerfleet Farm, before heading past Ivescar to Chapel-le-Dale – 4 kms, but much more enjoyable.
By the time I reached Chapel-le-Dale, I had put an hours walking behind me, but had only just reached the start point of the route I was about to record. The Hill Inn was about 150 metres down the road, but no time for that today – I was on a mission! I wasn’t as lightly equipped as the three runners who were just setting off, but the lighter rucksack didn’t hold me back and I was soon across the causeway path to Humphrey Bottom and the final steep ascent to the summit.
Although a dullish day, the summit plateau was cloud free, with great long-distance views – if only it could be like this every time! The plateau is about as flat as it could be apart from a slight downward tilt to the east – in weather conditions like those shown in the photos, there is no problem at all finding the way off, but in poor visibility it can (and does) cause problems for some.
The hill has been a major attraction round here for many years, starting as an Iron Age fort over 2000 years ago, and more recently in the Nineteenth Century as a racecourse. In 1830, someone built a hotel on the top (OK, call that a boozer!) which was wrecked on the day it was opened when the crowd became drunk and unruly!
The most welcome sight nowadays is the cross-shaped shelter near the surveyors’ trig point – as well as marking the high point, it also gives shelter from the wind which can tear across the summit. It was a quiet, still day on this trip, but I didn’t linger at the shelter – it was time to head for Horton.
If getting off the summit plateau can be difficult in bad ‘vis’, there’s another navigational trap just beyond – the path to Horton forks, with the ascent path from Chapel-le-Dale on the left looking more tempting that the fainter Horton path going to the right. It’s fair to say that more people get lost on Ingleborough than the other two peaks together, making extra work for the local mountain rescue team (CRO).
Once off the summit, I did as I usually do and looked back to where I had just come from. Actually, it’s good navigational practice to look behind every now and then, in case there’s a need to reverse the route, but in this case it was an opportunity to look back, not only on the route of the day but the weeks that had gone into planning and shaping the guidebook.
I passed Sulber Crossroads and was soon overlooking the valley, with Horton just 2 kms away – it was the end of the walking, but I still had a couple of weeks work ahead, editing GPS tracks, sorting photos and finishing some of the other chapters on safety, history, etc. The guidebook data was soon assembled by the publisher and the book went on sale – in the meantime, the Y3P route was getting a makeover.
My, but how things changed ….
Nothing remains static, and the Y3P is no exception. The planners of the Yorkshire Dales National Park had come to the same conclusion about the bogs of Todber Moss that I had, and decided to re-route the recommended path. They ended up taking the exact line that I had surveyed for Route 4, and the announcement of this coincided with the guidebook going on sale, and for some time, my guidebook was the only one showing the new ‘approved’ route. In the meantime, the National Park improved the new path, so that it soon looked quite different ….
In a short time, the new route became a well-established path with improved gates and stiles and a good surface underfoot. Look at it today, and it looks as though it’s been there for ever.
A new hill buddy hits the scene – Border Collie ‘Mist’
By the end of the year (2010), with the guidebook already selling well, I found that I had a new buddy to accompany me on the hills – Border Collie ‘Mist’. Since then, the number of times I have been in the mountains without her running alongside (or more usually ahead!) can be counted on one hand.
Her first time round the Y3P was in 2013 – I had recently joined NEWSAR, my local mountain rescue team in North Wales, and in June 2013, team members acted as safety cover for a sponsored walk round the Y3P. Since then, ‘Mist’ has repeated the route several times, always looking fresh and ready for more even at the end of the day.
So, for all dog lovers and especially Border Collie fans, here’s a virtual tour of the Y3P route with a helpful Collie to show the way.
We didn’t do the Y3P this year because of the Covid-19 restrictions, and as she will soon be 13, ‘Mist’ might have done her last Y3P Challenge – she’s still good for a long day in the hills, but the trouble with Border Collies is that (like us) they are often unwilling to admit that time is catching up. I don’t know whether or not she will be up for the Y3P route next year, but one thing is for sure – in my memories, she will always be with me on the mountains.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock except for the image of ‘Mist’ above © Babs Boardwell