After the trials of Pen-y-ghent and Whernside we had competed 17 miles of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks and had been walking for just under 9 hours. However, we still had a further 8 miles left in the form of Ingleborough. As we set off passing The Old Hill Inn Kieran, our guide from The Lake District Walkers, advised us to look the other way to avoid seeing the pub garden full of people who’d already completed the walk! We climbed over a wall to cross fields of soggy grass which were bliss for our aching feet and legs. A stone slabbed path took us through an area of limestone outcrops. As the skies were clear we were even able to appreciate the beauty of the sun gleaming off Morecambe Bay in the distance.
Kieran pointed out the path that we were heading for. We thought he was joking as it appeared to be a sheer 90 degree rock face but he reassured us it would look easier as we got closer to it. My knees were still cramping as the incline increased but I kept my head down and forced myself forward. I put on a brave face for a photo (through gritted teeth) as I rested before the final push up the zig-zag rock face.
Mary was halfway up already and called down “it’s not as bad as it looks!” That was before she reaslied the hardest part was still to come. Our guide book states “this zig-zag path is very steep so extra care needs to be taken.” Once again walking poles had to be discarded as we scrambled up using our hands and feet.
At this point I would have been happy to never see another rock in my life. It took determination to lift my legs up each step. It wasn’t over yet though as we still had a further climb to reach the top.
On our left we could see the path we needed to take to return to the Horton-in-Ribblesdale and it was tempting to skip the actual summit and head for home.
We had another reminder of how quickly the weather can change up the peaks. The cloud rapidly descended again and visibility became poor.
Walking along the flat rocky plateau of Ingleborough we could barely find the third shelter that marks the summit. It was 7pm meaning we had reached each of the three peaks within 11 hours. By this point we still had a long way to go to get back to Horton-in-Ribblesdale and no phone signal to let my Step-Dad know we were still safe but not to expect us any time soon.
We had been warned by friends that the walk back down Ingleborough was a long slog. How right they were. Unsuprisingly the path down was – you guessed it – rocks! At one point Mum and Tami decided to slide down on their bums as their legs were too tired to attempt anything else.
I think we were all suprised though how difficult the path was to negotiate. Ironically our guidebook states “pick your path out carefully as you walk…take extra care now for this final section of open fields can be the hardest to navigate in the dark.” In daylight it may have been easier but by now we were engulfed in darkness and picking our way carefully across rocks and crevasses. Fortunately we had head torches with us but we had to slow down to ensure we weren’t tripping and falling down limestone crags. Parts of the path were also very muddy and we gave up trying to avoid them, opting instead to plough through.
By this time everyone was very quiet and caught up in concentrating on putting one foot safely in front of the other. Even at this point we still managed to laugh though as Tami let out a shriek. She had been unaware of the black cows munching close by until they breathed out loudly behind her.
I was convinced were weren’t even on the path as it was such difficult terrain until we passed a sign post so knew we must be heading in the right direction. Eventually after 1 1/2 hours of darkness we saw a torchlight in the disance and guessed it was my Step-Dad heading out to meet us, having been waiting at Horton-in-Ribblesdale since 6pm. It was a relief to know that at last we were almost there. Finally, at just after 10pm with nearly 14 hours of walking behind us we could STOP! Our boots and trousers were caked in mud but fortunately Philip was soon passing us clean clothes to change into.
Our final task was to locate the colleagues who had abandoned Tami earlier on the walk. By this time the take-aways and pubs were closed so we headed back to Malham Youth Hostel for tea and toast only to find the kitchen locked for the night! By now we were past caring about food so hobbled up to our rooms for a hot shower and bed at 12.15am pleased we had completed our challenge!
Similarities between the 3rd peak and the 3rd trimester of my HG pregnancy
Climbing Ingleborough after already walking for 17 miles reminded me of the feelings of my 3rd trimester with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I could feel how far I had come but could also see how far was still left. I couldn’t turn back and the only way for it to end was to keep moving forward, albeit slowly.
Just like my HG pregnancy I would not have been able to complete the Yorkshire Peaks without my Mum. She looked after me every day during those nine months, came to every medical appointment and injected me with my medication. When people dropped out of the original Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge Mum knew how much the fundraising for PSS meant to me and she volunteered to do the walk. She initiated our training walks, organised the trip and supported me every step of the way. She truly is an HG Hero, a phrase coined by Spewing Mummy. I hope that I am half the Mum to Adam that she is to me. Thank you Mum.
When I returned home to wonderfully flat Norfolk, I immediately noticed the smell in my house. The previous day my husband had cooked the same microwave meal he had used during my HG pregnancy. Despite all of his best efforts to air the house, the smell still remained. One of the aspects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is that you never know when the symptoms are going to reoccur. A combination of the smell and my body feeling like it did post-pregnancy after 9 months of being bed bound triggered panic attacks. It demonstrates that although my HG pregnancy ended nearly 2 1/2 years ago the emotional scars never leave.
The challenge gave me time to reflect. I thought of the many women I have met through Pregnancy Sickness Support and am proud to call them my friends. I thought of the individual stories of suffering that women have endured in order to bring their children into the world. Our pregnancies share the same similarities of isolation, having to fight the stigma and discrimination over the condition and fear of this serious and dangerous complication of pregnancy. I thought of the relief sufferers describe when they find Pregnancy Sickness Support and receive help either through our Supporters Network or on the Forum that I administrate.
The Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge has made me more determined to help Pregnancy Sickness Support. Without money the charity can’t survive, let alone thrive. It needs money in order for the Supporters Network to continue and help many more women who are currently suffering alone. Research, conferences, education packages, leaflets and information packs are all needed yet cannot happen without money. With Gift Aid I have currently raised £741.25. Is it possible to get that Gift Aid total up to £900? £900 to represent the nine months of HG hell. Please help me reach that goal. You can donate by clicking on the picture below: