March Family Adventure – Yorkshire’s highest mountain, sunshine, snowball fights and first camp of 2017.

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Plan for my Whernside Illustrated Walk.

We did it! We climbed Whernside, completing our family challenge to climb all three of the Yorkshire Peaks.   For our March family adventure and coincidently Mother’s Day the stars aligned.  The weather forecast was ‘amazing’,  and we set off to climb Whernside and our first camping trip of 2017.

It was the most beautiful day when we arrived at Ribblehead, a scorcher, blue skies and not a cloud in sight.

Although the forecast was good we were well wrapped up, it was still March!.  The sun was blaring down, we were all kitted out in thermals, hats and gloves expecting gale force winds at the top, it didn’t take long before we all had to stop and strip off a few layers.  We passed a pool of toads on the way up revelling in the Spring sunshine too, hundreds of them croaking away.  It was a slow ascent, not too steep but enough for us to get a good sweat on, my youngest said she felt like she was in Australia because the sun was so strong.  It was kinda weird!

We stopped for a bite to eat at Force Gill, to try and quell increasing grumps and moaning about being too hot before pushing up to the summit.  Some days they steam ahead and disappear into the distance, others they really can moan!  We kept reminding them of our Solstice 2016 walk, the coldest, wettest walk we have ever done, not that that seemed to help.

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Force Gill pitstop

The moaning didn’t last long though as we carried on, when we found there was still a substantial amount of snow left on the mountain from the weekend before.  We had so much fun, playing in the snow and having snow ball fights on the way up.  We were at the summit in no time, good old distraction is the best.

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Snow ball fights on Whernside.

It was bonkers to think the week before there were snow storms across the West, and here we were a week later, sun beating down, tshirts and playing in the snow. Awesome.

It was a surreal experience at the summit, sunshine, tshirts, and not a drop of wind.  How often does that happen?? It’s always windy at trig points. We must have been up there for about an hour, playing in the snow, taking in the amazing view, a snowy Scafell pike and Lake District at one side, and snow covered Pen-Y-Gent and Ingleborough at the other.

 

I even managed to sketch a snowy Ingleborough from the top.

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It was a quick, steep descent back down into the valley, jelly legs all round. Under the Ribblehead viaduct, and a post mountain treat of ice creams. Then on to set up our tent for a night under canvas. We found out why ‘middle kid’ had complained so much about being hot on our way up, when we discovered that she had been wearing three pairs of bottoms!! Her thermals, a pair of running tights and her walking trousers!.  I love that she was so well prepared.

It was the best Mother’s Day weekend ever, and one I will never forget.  I’m in the process of immortalising our climb in one of my illustrated walk paintings, lots of great memories captured.

I’m really proud of the kids, looking back to how against climbing Pen-Y-Gent my eldest was last June, she has come a long way.  It really does pay to make walking regular with kids, and to gently push the boundaries, two steps forward one step back.  I can’t wait for the day she tells me she is going to do the ‘Yorkshire Three peaks challenge’, I know she will one day.

The finished illustration of our walk.

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