Feet of endurance

The deal was quite straightforward: 25 miles up and down three of Yorkshire's highest peaks, taking in rock, moor, bog, streams and a couple of near vertical scrambles in as short a time as possible. Richard and I had form with the Three Peaks. Five years previously, we had ambled round in just under 10 hours, including a couple of leisurely interruptions for breakfasts and ice cream. But these pit-stops started to niggle away at the back of our minds even before we got back home. Just how quickly could we have done it?

Life being life, and me being hopelessly disorganised, we didn't get round to finding out until May this year, when Richard and I found ourselves sitting in the car at 5.30am outside the Pen-y-ghent cafe in Horton-in-Ribblesdale - the official starting point for the walk - after driving through the night from London. Five years older and five years creakier than when we had last been here, we aimlessly munched a sandwich and slugged back a thermos of coffee, putting off the inevitable for as long as possible. While some things were all too familiar - the peak of Pen-y-ghent looked as forbidding as ever - other weren't. Where previously it had been a perfect summer's day, the trees were now bent sideways by the wind. And that was just at ground level.

The first quarrel was not long in coming. Just whose stupid idea had this been?

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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