THE look on the face of the farmer at the foot of Whernside said it all really.

Dressed head to foot in oilskins, wearing waders boots and riding a quad, he was a man who knew rain was on its way, and not just a shower. We might as well have been dressed for the beach the way he looked at us as we passed by on our way up the highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, not that much of it was visible that day.

My partner and I are currently doing a 'peak a week'. The week before we'd climbed Penyghent, from Helwith Bridge, and while cold, it had been wall to wall sunshine. The week before that Ingleborough had been made more of a challenge than usual because of rain, mist and gales.

We reached the summit of Ingleborough without knowing it, a group of soldiers emerged from the mist, trying to find the way down. Close to the summit a runner emerged out of the mist and nearly ran into us, side -stepping at the last minute. We knew this about Ingleborough, and kept close to the path, we found it, and followed the same route back down to Clapham.

So, a week later, and we thought we knew all about bad weather and it was not as if it was snowing. What we hadn't taken into account was it was closest to the shortest day of the year, we had planned a longer walk than usual, and the ground was very, very wet.

Ascending Whernside from Bruntscar was tough enough, the path had turned into a fast-flowing stream, we climbed into mist and stayed in it all the way up to the summit. We had the top to ourselves, that was a first, and on the way down, the only other people we saw on their way up were three soldiers.

The wind was tremendous and right in our faces, and then the hail started. Weirdly, or perhaps not really weirdly, people just don't talk about it - my nose streamed constantly, all hankies, tissues sodden, so face wet and frozen. Nasty.

Force Gill waterfall was tremendous, but with the rain and now hail whipping into the face, and it starting to get dark, there was no time for a diversion. And anyway, my smartphone was wrapped in a plastic bag under three layers of clothing. And, I wasn't sure my fingers would work, my gloves were sodden and my hands freezing cold.

Heading towards Ribblehead the normally gentle becks had swollen and had flooded the paths, jumping across them was genuinely scary.

By this time, it was almost dark, normally we would have gone back to Chapel-le-Dale via Winterscales and Broadrake but the becks were impassable, so there was nothing else to do but take Low Sleights Road.

So, in the pitch black, dressed in black with no torches or high vis, we set off into horizontal wind and hail. It was no picnic, and boy, did we feel stupid.

As we approached half way, a van pulled over, an Amazon delivery driver from Southport. 'Never seen weather like this he said, no one should be out it it,' he must have thought we were bonkers. He drove us to our car parked in Chapel le Dale church car park. I was shaking by that time and my face was sore because of all the hail stones.

So, a valuable lesson learned. We were pretty well equipped, proper boots, waterproof trousers, over trousers, under layers, coats and waterproofs, and several hankies each! Phones were wrapped in dry bags and we had food and water. What we didn't have were head torches or any high vis, we must have been invisible on the road between Ribblehead and Chapel-le- Dale.

The following week it was Ingleborough again, this time from Crina Bottom, and this time we took head torches.

Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) is the rescue organisation for the area of the Yorkshire Three Peaks says when giving advice on hill safety, it is careful not to make it sound too scary for people unfamiliar with the great outdoors.

A spokesperson said: "During lockdown, we all realised the benefits to our wellbeing of outdoor exercise and so our aim is to educate people to help them enjoy the hills safely. There are some simple steps people can take to make their time out and about in our countryside more enjoyable: * Check the weather for where you will be before setting out. Remember, the weather on the tops of hills can be quite different to down in the car park.

* Sensible shoes/boots with good tread will not only help you keep upright but also can keep your feet warm and dry.

* A waterproof coat and trousers will keep you dry and help prevent the wind chilling you.

* Layering your clothing can help you regulate your temperature letting you shed layers when working hard uphill or put more on when the temperature drops. Avoid cotton tee-shirts as they will hold onto moisture and can increase heat loss.

* A hat and gloves will reduce heat loss.

* Carry with you a map and compass and know how to use them.

* The days are short at this time of year so carry a head torch (and spare batteries) for when it gets dark.

* We use our phones for so many things these days, and the team often come across people who have been using theirs for navigation, photos, social media and as a torch, only for it to die just when they need to use it as a phone! Carry a power bank to top up your phone, or if you are in a group designate somebody to turn their phone off and keep it for emergencies.

* You wouldn’t drive your car with no fuel and you need energy to fuel your exercise. Carry some water and snacks to help you power up the hills.

* If something does happen and you can’t get off the hill you can chill down quite quickly; a survival blanket, or better still an emergency shelter can help you stay warm while you wait for help.

* Know what to do in an emergency. If you need mountain rescue call 999, ask for Police and when you get through to them ask for Mountain Rescue.

Mountain rescue volunteers are on call 24/7 ready to respond to calls for help but we’d much rather help people be ready for their adventures through a little bit of advice.

This might seem an awful lot of preparation for a simple walk in the country but these simple steps can help you have a grand day out.

For more information go to the following websites: Cave Rescue Organisation -; Mountain Rescue England & Wales -; and Be Adventure Smart -

You can also find out about the Yorkshire Three Peaks on the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority website.