After climbing Pen-y-ghent and walking for nearly 5 hours we left the comfort of our support vehicle (my Step-Dad) at 1.35pm. It was here that Britney and Laura (who we rescued clinging to the edge of the scramble up Pen-y-ghent) returned to Horton with Philip whilst Tami decided to carry on with us. We headed towards the Ribblehead Viaduct, with its 24 arches, to climb our tallest peak Whernside (2,414ft/ 736m).
Just after we started climbing up the path at the side of Ribblehead Viaduct my knees suddenly developed sharp cramping pains making me stop and cry out in pain. I hadn’t even realised you could get cramp in the front of your legs!
I have Hyperhidrosis but naively thought it would not have an impact when I was walking as I hadn’t experienced an problems when training. Although sweating is necessary to control body temperature, my sympathetic nervous system is revved-up and works at a very high level, causing me to sweat excessively. Over the years I have found ways of dealing with the issue hence I wear flip-flops in winter, do not own any long sleeved clothes and attach myself to my Iontophpresis machine. What I hadn’t realised was that as I was sweating excessively through exertion I was becoming dehydrated and loosing salts hence causing the muscle cramps. The pulsating pain was excruciating and I couldn’t move my knees until the cramp subsided. I attempted to replenish the lost salts with crisps and an isotonic drink kindly provided by Kireran. Unfortunately there are a lot of steps up Whernside and the cramp started again each time I attempted any incline. We passed Force Gill waterfall but I barely noticed it. It was obviously time to break open the Kendal Mint Cake.
When I was 13 years old my Mum managed to bribe my brother and I up Mount Snowdon with Kendal Mint Cake. You can imagine our faces when we got to the top and realised there was a train we could have taken!
The clouds finally cleared for us as we approached Whernide summit revealing spectacular views of the Yorkshire Dales and showing us just how far we had already walked.
However, we experienced just how quickly the weather can change up on the peaks. Within a few minutes the clouds had descended on us again and we could barely see the path in front.
At 3.45pm, after just over 2 hours of walking on painful knees, we reached the summit of Whernside. Due to the weather and the fact that we still had yet another peak to climb we only stopped long enough to grab a drink before tackling the descent.
The clouds soon cleared again and we were left with views of the Ribblehead Viaduct in the distance. Another pack of Kendal Mint Cake was opened on the gentle slope down. Things were going well. We had a good view of the limestone plateau that surrounds Ingleborough, although the summit looked an incredibly long way away! For a mile there were no steps and we covered the distance in a fairly short time.
That soon changed though. We came across an extremely steep descent. One guidebook describes it as “extreme care should be taken, as the route down is stony, uneven and can be dangerous. One slip could send you rolling down the hill“. It was tough going. I don’t think I would have been able to get down without relying on my walking poles. There were several times I got stuck and had to stop myself falling down the slope.
At 5.10pm we reached my Step-Dad who had stopped at the small snack bar which is open during the summer. Most importantly there were two portable toilets!
By now we had been walking for 17 miles taking just under 9 hours. It was obvious by now that we were going to struggle to complete the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in under the 12 hours. Anne and Chris had left the group half way down Whernside to attempt the 12 hour deadline (they made it with 10 minutes to spare). Now the challenge had changed for us as to whether we could complete the last peak or not with the cramp above my knees. If we did not have Kieran with us, our guide from Lake District Walkers, I do not think we would have been able to attempt Ingleborough due to losing daylight hours.
Similarities between the 2nd peak and the 2nd trimester of my HG pregnancy
Once I had reached the second trimester I believed that my Hyperemesis Gravidarum would magically disappear. Every health care professional said it would finish at 12 weeks, then 14 weeks, then 16 weeks and then 20 weeks. It was always an even numbered week! After 20 weeks I stopped asking when I would feel better.
Before the walk we thought Whernside, the second peak, would be the easiest. Several times Mum would say “we’ll nip up Whernside…” We didn’t think it would be an issue at all. We hadn’t considered that there would be so many steps going up Whernside or that the steep descent would indeed be that steep.
The second trimester in your pregnancy is meant to be the time you blossom. I was still bed bound, attached to my sick bowl and then other medical complications started. I spent a week in hospital due to breathing difficulties and had endless tests including a VQ scan, lung scan and an echocardiogram.
Just as during my pregnancy I had to accept the vomiting may never end I realised that I would have to put up with the muscle cramps for the rest of the challenge.
I completed the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in order to raise much needed funds for the Pregnancy Sickness Support charity. PSS is the only national charity supporting women with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) and Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). It provides a telephone helpline and an online forum as well as a national peer support network which sufferers can access. It also educates and supports healthcare professionals treating the conditions. There is still time to donate. Please click on the link below.