In a little under three weeks time my wonderful partner is scheduled to lead a group of U3A walkers over some exceedingly rough country along the Wharfedale/Nidderdale border. In order to acquaint herself with some of the more complex parts of this wild route there was a suggestion that we might just 'nip round it' last Friday afternoon. So, a little before 2 o'clock, we parked the car by Grimwith reservoir, stripped down to our running gear and set off at a gentle pace across the dam wall.
|At Great Wolfrey Crag
|Pause for rest, Henstone band
|Start of 3 Peaks race
..was the day of my favourite race - The Three Peaks of Yorkshire. This 24 mile circuit starts and finishes at Horton-in-Ribblesdale taking in the summits of Penyghent (2,268ft), Whernside (2,406ft) and Ingleborough (2,373ft) through some of the most beautiful scenery in England. Long before I started racing I walked this route around 30 times, usually to get a measure of fitness into my body prior to some longer mountaineering or hill walking expedition, but it wasn't until 1991, when I was 59 years old, that I actually qualified to take part in this long established classic. Just prior to my first race Clayton-le-Moors Harriers had presented an elaborate Rosebowl trophy to be competed for annually by anyone over the age of sixty. In forthcoming years I went on to win it three times the most memorable of which was achieved only one week after winning the MV60 category in the London Marathon. On Saturday I was only spectating, but the passion and emotion felt by runners, mainly as they came within sight of the finishing line with the crowds clapping them on, inevitably got to me producing a lump in my throat and the odd tear in my eye. I cannot cheer or praise them enough. In truth, every one is a winner.
|Anna Lupton, 1st lady.
Photo by 'Ady in Accy'
|Morgan Donnelly on Ingleborough
Passing through Settle we called at Booth's Supermarket on the way home for a little alcoholic beverage. We decided the blood, sweat and tears of all those wonderful competitors was worthy of a little celebration. Cheers!