While I understand the challenge of time limits (see audax) I have no desire to rush over the three peaks, certainly not until I have enjoyed them all separately.  From Horton-in-Ribblesdale train station – marvellously the west platform is accessible by public footpath only – I walked south-ish to visit the mouth of Gaping Gill before heading up to the peak.

Pen-y-ghent from Ingleborough Ingleborough Gaping Gill Gaping Gill

Suncream and specs required, but around the summit was fast moving low loud; cold and erie.  A few small patches of snow were hanging on.

Ingleborough Ingleborough Ingleborough Frog spawn on Ingleborough Ingleborough Ingleborough

The Pen-y-ghent café appears to be closed on Tuesdays, but happily the pub was open.  The trains back to Leeds were running about every 2 hours so it was good to have somewhere accommodating to wait.

Ingleborough Pen-y-ghent and limestone pavement Pen-y-ghent and limestone pavement Ingleborough route

Ingleborough: Hewitt, HuMP, Marilyn, Nuttall; 724 m/2,375 ft

10 miles

Start/finish Horton-in-Ribblesdale train station

Rombald’s Moor


Any navigation around Ilkley is buggered due to the large number of paths in existence; nose-following seemed the best plan which eventually got me to the Cow and Calf rocks.

Ilkley Moor Cow & Calf rocks, Ilkley Moor Footsteps worn in Cow & Calf rocks, Ilkley Moor Cow & Calf rocks, Ilkley Moor Cow & Calf rocks, Ilkley Moor

On over paved pathways to the peak at the trig point, then after visiting some stanza stones and a cross, lunch in the shelter of a wall.  For a brief moment I thought I had seen a very hardy chicken, but on later examination of the bird book it was revealed to be a red grouse.  There were quite a few of them about, strutting their stuff.

Menwith Hill and wind farms near Harrogate Rombald's Moor Rombald's Moor Rombald's Moor Stanza stones on Rombald's Moor

There used to be a Keighley to Ilkley road, no longer passable by traffic but a few cars had stopped at the top…and some scrote had dumped building rubble in a lay-by.  Which part of someone’s brain thinks that driving up to a viewpoint is the best way to offload some crap?  Drive to the dump, how much more work is that?

Rubbish dumped on Rombald's Moor

The final stretch followed a great path through a quite different landscape down a glen alongside Bradup Beck.  It would have been more peaceful without the clay pigeon shoot.

Route of walk on Rombald's Moor


Rombald’s Moor: Marilyn, HuMP; 402 m/1319 ft

9.8 miles

Start Ilkley train station, finish Crossflats train station

A Shropshire Lad 80 km


As I had been out of the saddle for a while I thought a short audax was a good idea; 80 km is the shortest one I have done so far.  This was a brilliant route on a clear day – as this one was – starting by going past The Wrekin, then south west parallel to Wenlock Edge which was covered in colourful trees. The first control, Jessamine Cottage, was a cafe run from a very large shed. Presumably they have a long-standing relationship with the local organiser, as coffee and cake here was included in the £6 entrance fee (as was food at the start and end, it was excellent value!).
Bike at an audax control
The second control was at Acton Scott farm, which appears to be a working museum, though obviously there wasn’t time for a look around. I got lucky and joined the queue just before hoards of hungry cyclists – at least one of the longer rides was stopping here at around the same time.

The final leg was the longest (not by much) and included the highest point but was also wind-assisted, past Hope Bowlder Hill. Due to the relatively short distance and good turnout I think I was in view of others nearly all the time. I rode with one chap on and off on the middle section, I think he knew vaguely where he was going so had a route map and very well used OS map in his pocket, and was supplementing these by following people when they were available (and I think I provided a bit of a wind shield for a while, he was obviously an old hand at group riding and quite happy right up behind others peoples wheels, whereas it scares me and I keep my distance). For the final stretch I was just behind a couple of others; I don’t think I’ve actually finished with people before, so it was quite nice.

It’s been too long…but I was pleased that I didn’t have to walk up any hills and wasn’t destroyed by the end, I felt strong and I could have gone further, so a few months off haven’t done any damage. Also I think the spinning classes, whilst being from the devil, are excellent training. Part of me thinks it’s daft to drive 60 miles each way to cycle 50, but audax riding gives me such a buzz that, ironically, it’s not about numbers.

Shropshire Lad

51 miles, 5 hours 18 mins