Ingleborough in the Sun

Lockdown has eased which can only mean one thing, mini-adventure time. At the end of last year I blogged about the Virtual Howler Series that my lovely wife Helen had signed us up for (read about it here). The series consists of ten 10 mile routes, named after US States, although this being Howler there are the odd extra ‘free’ mile. We managed ‘Dakota’ at the end of last year in the snow, which was an amazing run/walk (read about it here). Yesterday we opted for ‘Indiana’, which started and finished in Ingleton and headed up and over the peak of Ingleborough, the toughest of the climbs on the Three Peaks Route.

With Helen’s new Garmin Fenix 6 watch, with detailed maps and the route, we set off from Ingleton Falls car park and headed up Oddie’s Lane. We stayed on the road until a footpath took us near to the top of the falls path, with Nelly pointing us in the right direction. Our first major climb of the day was to the plateau Nelly was looking at.

We weren’t in any rush and was more than happy for Helen to take as many photos as she wanted, as we walked up the hills and ran on the flat and downhill sections. It wasn’t too early in the morning but it was cold even with the sun. We slowly wound our way up to the limestone plateau, only encountering two other people.

Along the top there was one well defined bridleway and a number of small undefined footpaths, but with Helen navigating we stayed on course. We stopped for a couple of minutes when the Ribblehead Viaduct came into view, although the photos didn’t come out very well. Nelly on the other hand decided it was time to make a silly face for the camera (my face is also quite silly).

From here it was a nice steady descent into the very small village of Chapel-le-Dale.

Over the main road and onto the long climb up to the top of Ingleborough. We soon joined the main Three Peaks route and even though the sun was out there wasn’t too many people. In the summer there can be thousands of walkers and runners. Fortunately the path is easy to follow and very well maintained.

In the distance Ingleborough rises up, with a notoriously difficult climb up the almost vertical slope, with very steep steps. Fortunately there were very few other people, no wind and no pressure. Nelly had a couple of little whimpers as we climbed but we were all happy to reach the last easier section to the very top. Obligatory photo at the Trig Point as we admired the amazing views and made the most of the sun. Once again Nelly was pointing the way we needed to go.

From the top it was a mostly steady 5km back down into Ingleton. There were plenty of people out walking, many with their dogs, and it was also good to see lots of young people out, including one woman running uphill quicker than we were running down. Once back at the car we gave Nelly a drink, although we had stopped every time we crossed a stream, before I opened a bag of Haribo for the journey home.

We had thought about doing a different Howler route just south of Burnley, but Ingleborough in the sun with very few people was an absolutely amazing day out. Eight more Virtual Howler events to complete before the end of the year.

One final note about Nelly. She is an English Pointer, renowned for being one of the fittest breeds, and even though she is getting on a bit she was still pulling at the lead at the end of the four hours. We had only taken her out for one short walk the day before, and the the day after will be the same. She is a tired old girl who is currently curled up on our bed, and without doubt she is the best dog in the world.