I DIDN’T set out to miss out one of the peaks in Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue’s ‘three peaks’ challenge, but a combination of turning up two hours late and poor map reading...honest.

Now, I’m going to admit to something pretty awful here - I thought the Wharfedale Three Peaks were at worst a slightly challenging climb. I’ve been writing about the fell rescue team’s fundraising challenge for years. Pretty much ever since it started in fact, but clearly hadn’t been paying attention in class.

The main fundraiser for the Grassington based team, it starts and finishes in Kettlewell and was being held this year for the first time since 2019, because of the pandemic.

Over the years, I’ve written about Buckden Pike, Great Whernside and the other one (Birks Fell) - not really conscious of their height, and certainly not thinking they matched their more glamorous cousins, the so called ‘Yorkshire Three Peaks’, Whernside, Ingleborough and Penyghent.

So, it came as something of a surprise that two of the Wharfedale peaks were higher than Penyghent and amongst the highest mountains in Yorkshire. Great Whernside comes in at 704m, or 2,310ft; Buckden Pike is 702m, or 2,302ft; both higher than Penyghent, a mere 694m(2,277ft). Whernside is the highest in Yorkshire, at 736m (2,415ft), that is of course if you don’t count the mighty Mickle Fell at 788m (2,585ft) part of the old North Riding of Yorkshire, before being grabbed by Durham in the mid 1970s. The littlest, Birks Fell is even 610m (2,001ft)

Perhaps then, I should have paid them a little more respect.

Turning up more than two hours before everyone taking part in the three peaks and the two peaks challenges had set off was, as it turned out, fortuitous.

As I went to the tent to get my number, Ted Mason, farmer and champion fell runner, crossed the finishing line having completed the 18 mile 3 peaks course in a time of two hours and 22 minutes - 20 minutes ahead of his nearest rival. Looking as fresh as a, daisy, Ted announced running conditions were ‘perfect’.

So off I bimbled with the families doing the seven mile valley walk, a lovely stroll alongside the River Wharfe.

Because I had set off so late, members of the UWFRA team were ahead of me, removing the arrows making sure no one lost their way.

But I was fine, I’d taken a picture of the route, and had both a paper map and my trusty OS app, at this point I was still blissfully unaware of the task ahead. After all, I was still basking in the glory of having completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks earlier this year, 28 miles, and in under 11 hours.

I paused for a good ten minutes at the first checkpoint at Starbotton before heading off to the first peak, Buckden Pike.

It was perhaps a third of the way to the summit that I started to feel a proper Charlie. This was no stroll in the park. Having reached the trig point at Buckden Pike, it was a short hike to the memorial to five Polish airmen who died there just more than 50 years ago in January, 1942.

From there, it should have been over to Great Whernside, but I took a wrong turning, got onto a rather nice path and before I knew it was heading back to Kettlewell. I did wonder about not seeing another checkpoint, and my FitBit said I’d clocked up 13 miles, which was right. As for Great Whernside - it seemed laughably easy; it wasn’t until I got to the finish that all became clear, I’d missed it out entirely. The good folk at UWFRA presented with a medal all the same, and I will be heading to Kettlewell very soon to do it properly.

Runners and walkers pay to take part in the event, are given a meal at the end, and it all goes to help the annual £65,000 running costs of the mountain rescue team. This year’s event was sponsored by Dales Dairies, Midgley Motors and Taylor’s Brewery and was made possible by landowners who gave their permission for the event to take place., as well as team members, their families and friends.

More than 250 people took part, while the three peaks route took place over a new, revised course, with once again, Ted Mason setting the bench mark.

Plans are already underway for next year’s event, which will take place on June 24, 2023. You can donate money to UWFRA via its website at: https://www.uwfra.org.uk.

I am raising money for UWFRA and its near neighbour, the Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) and also the Alzheimer’s Society by walking 2,022 miles this year. I have at time of writing completed 1,091 miles, so well on target.

If you’re inclined, you can encourage me along by donating via JustGiving for Cave rescue organisation at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lesley-tate3

For the Alzheimer’s society at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lesley-tate2?newPage=True

And for the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue association at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lesley-tate1

ON the subject of the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, it was interesting to read in the Craven Herald of 70 years ago, July 18, 1952, about how the team rescued a lamb from a lead mine.

The lamb, belonging to Dick Wallace of Dibbles Bridge, had fallen 120ft down a disused mine shaft at Knott Moor, near Stump Cross Caverns. Miraculously, it suffered just a loosened horn and a cut lip.