The traditional round of Yorkshire's Three Peaks may be a hillwalking classic, but the challenge, often used as a basis for charity fundraising events, suffers rather from its own popularity. Yet the Dales are not exactly short of other summits, most far less trodden that Pen y Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. Now a local mountain rescue team has hit on the idea of an alternative three peaks event.
The inaugural ‘Wharfedale Three Peaks Challenge Event' takes in Birks Fell, Buckden Pike and Great Whernside. Taking place Saturday June 28, the event is a fundraiser for the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA), who hope to make it a 'day to remember'.
Having lost about 1/3 of its annual income following the end of the Broughton Game Show, the team has high hopes in its new event.
Their alternative three peaks route gives participants the chance to explore a different but equally beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales, say UWFRA.
Jacqui Todd, one of the organisers of the event, said:
'It is a brilliant route showing off Upper Wharfedale at its best. On this first year we are running the event as part of the Tour de France Cultural Festival.'
'It is exactly a week before the cycling event and there are likely to be visitors from around the world. This is an added opportunity to show off some of our spectacular Wharfedale countryside. We would like to have at least 200 people taking part so please come along and support us’.
The event offers a choice of three alternative routes to suit different levels of ability: 22 miles over all three hills; 13.5 miles covering just two; or a 4.5-mile family walk following the Dalesway path up the River Wharfe to the village of Starbotton and returning on the Paradise walk. All routes start and end at Kettlewell.
The UWFRA's 80-plus members are all volunteers, with skills to undertake rescues both on the surface and underground, as well as a specialist trained water skills team. It costs in the region of £35,000 a year to continue the work of UWFRA and this is funded entirely through the generosity of the public and by supporting the fundraising work of the team.
Last year the team marked its 1000th call-out. In an average year the team give around 2000 man hours on call-outs, with another 6,000 hours in training and equipment maintenance. 2013 has been a busy time and the team are on course to set a new call-out record for this year.
Entrants will receive a route description and all three routes will be marshalled by the team. There will be free parking and a hot meal at the end. Team prizes will be awarded for the Three Peaks Challenge Event, and for the school with most children taking part. Individual entry fees are £10 for the two longer routes, £8 for the community route (or £12 per family). All the money goes to the team.
Thre's also a Facebook page.