The North Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge: A Brief History in 10 Milestones.

28 March 2019
  1. THE PEAKS WERE FORMED in 10,000 BC.
  2. THE CHALLENGE WAS BORN in 1881. Wynne-Edwards and D.R. Smith (teachers from Giggleswick School near Settle), decided to walk the three peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. They successfully completed the walk within ten hours.
  3. A CHALLENGE SET TO WIN. A start and finish base were established in 1954 for the challenge, Fred Bagley completing it in just under four hours. A bike version of the North Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge was created, the first winner being Kevin Watson, who completed the route in just under seven hours.
  4. THE FAMOUS CAFE OPENS. In 1968, the Pen-y-Ghent Cafe opened its doors for the first time. It is the original starting point of the North Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge and it remains the home of the ‘3 Peaks of Yorkshire Club’ to this day.
  5. GUIDED INTO THE SPOTLIGHT. In 1972, Alfred Wainwright’s guidebook ‘Walks in Limestone Country’ was published. This made the challenge so popular that its starting point had to be relocated to Horton-in-Ribblesdale in 1974 where it remains to this day.
  6. SAFETY WAS PUT FIRST. When a participant sadly died during the challenge in the late 70s, existing health and safety rules and regulations were revised. Participants are now required to have a minimum level of experience before taking part in the challenge.
  7. A WIN FOR WOMEN. Women started to compete in the challenge alongside men. The first woman to successfully complete the challenge was Jean Lochhead in 1979, in just under four hours.
  8. NO MORE TRESPASSING. At the turn of the millennium, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 was passed, allowing participants of the North Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge to pass through the route between Pen-y-Ghent and Ribblehead without being accused of trespassing.
  9. NOW THERE’S EVEN MORE INCENTIVE. A reward of £500 was set in 2014, for participants breaking the record for completing the challenge.
  10. PRIDE OF PLACE ON ALL BUCKET LISTS. Nowadays, the North Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge is more popular than ever, attracting over 250,000 visitors annually and being dubbed as being one of the best-established walks in the UK.