On Saturday 24th June, the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association are hosting a fundraising event that offers an alternative to the over-popular Yorkshire Three Peaks. In place of the usual Pen y Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside, the Wharfedale 3 Peaks Challenge takes in Birks Fell (610m), Buckden Pike (702m) and Great Whernside (704m), a hill round of similar scale to the classic version - in fact, some say it's harder.
"The Yorkshire Dales has many more than the well-known three peaks - there are 30 or so hills over 2000ft here" says Nigel Easton, W3P event organiser.
"Walkers and runners often forget these in favour of the famous three. It's a great shame, as people are missing out. These hills offer the same great experiences and fantastic views, but are often a lot less busy."
The course, which is marshalled by team members, is open to both walkers and runners. For ambitious runners, the current records of 3:14 (men) and 4:03 (women) are the times to beat. At a more leisurely walking pace, participants have a choice of three routes: the full Three Peaks (22 miles); just two of the peaks (Buckden Pike and Great Whernside - 13.5 miles); or a 4.5-mile valley walk.
"Last year the event attracted over 250 walkers and runners but we'd really like to reach the 500 limit this year" says Nigel Easton.
"It's one of our biggest fundraising events and many team members volunteer a lot of their time to make it a success. The event is run by people who love being out in the fells and the ethos is evident to see."
"It's a great alternative for those who have completed the original Yorkshire three peaks and want another challenge – some say that it's even harder than the three peaks because of the terrain covered!"
All participants are expected to be able to navigate themselves around the course, but to help the route is marked with little flags.
Entry fees go to the team, and participants get an official finish time, pie and peas at the finish - and a commemorative t-shirt.
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