You might have heard of the three NATIONAL peaks but that's a bit of stretch in my opinion for a first time hiking challenge. Instead, we opted for some marginally smaller hills to climb on one (luckily) warm, cloudy day this year.

This adventure spans almost 40km across three mountains in Yorkshire and is definitely something I've wanted to tick off my bucket list. I'm writing this three days after the trek and I'm not going to lie to you, my legs and feet are still a little delicate. 

The trail includes a round trip from your starting point across Pen-Y-Ghent (694m), Whernside (736m) and Ingleborough (723m) - with some long stretches of path and climbing in between.

I took a look at this website here for inspiration on what the walk would entail, what to take with me and what I should expect. I'd highly recommend doing some research on where you want to start and if you have a time limit you'd like to complete the route in, before heading out on the day.

Here's an insight into my own preparation and how I found each leg of the journey. If you have any specific questions about the route that I don't cover here, feel free to give me a shout on Twitter or Instagram!

The Prep

What to wear

Having checked the weather forecast only the day before (would not recommend in case you're not as lucky as we were!) I was content in taking only a few layers and a very thin 'pac-a-mac' style raincoat.

I've linked the individual layers below but they are bits I already had in my gym wear and general wardrobe. I did need to borrow some walking boots however, so would advise if you are seriously going to get into walking on a regular basis get some good quality boots of your own.

Specific items: Power Union Jack Leggings, Athlete Vest (both Sweaty Betty) Coral Ladies Fleece (Regatta) Black Classic Hoodie - similar (Adidas) Walking Boots - similar (Quechua)

What to take with you

I took a pretty hefty rucksack full of 'just in case' things but as we were lucky with the weather, a lot of these bits (raincoat, spare clothes etc.) weren't needed. However I would say it's necessary to prep for both sunshine and rain as the weather can differ greatly in the entire day you will be out walking.

We packed a fair amount of food for each stop, including a huge box of pasta for lunch and a whole lot of snacks (e.g. Quorn Picnic Eggs, homemade flapjack, chocolate, biscuits and Goodness Knows cereal bars, bananas)

It's also vital you take plenty of water. Myself and David took approx. 2.5 litres each for the day but if it happens to be reach very warm temperatures you may need a lot more. I took lots of smaller bottles which I found much easier than a huge bottle so I could drink on the go.

This website has a great checklist of essentials (and optional items) that could come in handy.

What else you might need

One thing I would highly recommend: going with great company (and coincidentally someone already who knows where to go/how to use a map and compass!)

First leg: Car park to Pen-Y-Ghent

We decided the easiest way to start the trek was to drive to Horton-in-Ribblesdale (the preferred starting point for those doing the challenge) and set off to the first mountain; Pen-y-ghent. After arriving at approx. 7.15am we walked through the village towards the bottom of the mountain.

I've actually climbed Pen-y-ghent before on a much more casual walk, and it is by far my favourite of the three (not only because it is the smallest!) The walk up this is steady and straight, until a few scrambling spots towards the top.

The view from the trig point is incredible here and we had a quick stop for breakfast. Enjoy the landscape, snap a quick selfie and then head back down the other side.

Second leg: Pen-Y-Ghent to Whernside

The decline on the other side of the mountain is definitely the easiest in my opinion. It's a steady, sloping decline to the bottom, however, a long path follows towards the Ribblehead Viaduct.

This part felt like much, much longer than it looked on the map. There are lots of twisting lanes, some walking on the roads and when the Viaduct comes into sight it was a wonderful, glorious moment as it meant we could stop for lunch (yaaas, pasta). This is where you'll come across a refreshments van and it seems to be the general rest point for lots of other walkers.

What I will say is that this spot is the perfect instagram spot.

The climb to the top of Whernside was not easy and you feel like you're actually walking in the opposite direction to where you want to end up - which you are. Not only is this infuriating but at around 20km, it doesn't feel particularly motivational. Keep going!

I found using assistance of walking poles hugely beneficial here on the long trek to the top. When you do get there, you can look across from the trig point and see just how far you've come from the first mountain which is incredible. You can also see exactly how far you still have to go...

Third leg: Whernside to Ingleborough

I hated the decline of Whernside; absolutely despised it. It's a pretty steep and very rocky descent so this, again, is where the walking poles came in handy - particularly if your knees aren't feeling great at this point.

The walk continues across roads and fields towards the third and final mountain, by which point you'll be very relieved to be there. We reached here at around 3pm and all had our fair share of whinging and each took in turns to hit our mental wall. I can't explain how much of a difference it makes to have a positive mindset and to keep spirits up.

I guess this goes for everything in life, not just a day long trek in Yorkshire...
...having emergency Jelly Babies on hand also helped massively.

The trek to the top of Ingleborough was very tricky, there are an awful lot of steps and it's very steep on the way up. If you plan on walking just Ingleborough on a venture one day, there's actually a much easier ascent on the other side of the mountain so bear this in mind unless you fancy challenging yourself.

When we got to the top, we walked right across to the opposite site to the trig point and cue that momentous 'WE DID IT' feeling. Safe to say, we were all VERY relieved to be there. We sat down for our third snack break of the day, had a few arguments with some territorial sheep and prepped ourselves for the final descent.

Final leg: Ingleborough back to car park

This for me was the most difficult part. It isn't particularly hard to walk and there's little elevation change but it FEELS LIKE FOREVER. You've completed all three mountains and just want to get home, and there's 5 miles until you return back to the village.

However, on the plus side, this is the home straight.

You'll come back out beside the train station so if you're doing the challenge by train, your journey is complete. We walked a further fifteen minutes or so back to the car park and boy, were we pleased to sit down and take those walking boots off.

Overall, I'm really glad I had the chance to do this and it feels like a huge achievement

- even if my legs haven't stopped aching since!

If you like to be active and fancy doing something different in Yorkshire then I would definitely recommend getting a small group together and tackling the challenge. This time round, having done no training for it and not knowing what to expect we took our time and the ultimate goal was the finish the route. I would 100% do this again but hopefully complete it in one of the official 12 hour time limits.

If you're thinking about doing this hike or even the challenge to complete it in 8/10/12 hours - check out Think Adventure which goes into the route in much more detail. There are pictures of every part of the journey which could come in very useful if you get lost along the way!




Headphones and iPhone showing podcast cover

I know, I'm late on the podcast bandwagon.

However I've found myself absolutely loving listening to an episode on my way to work for the last couple of months; those I've listened to are usually around 30-40 minutes long which is an ideal time to commute. From music to mental health, I've discovered so many fantastic interviews on this medium and would love to share them in case they're up your street, too.

The following are chatty and informal interview-style series' which really delve into the lives of people you may already have heard of (and some you probably haven't.) There's definitely a podcast here for everyone if you love a good gossip about a variety of topics.

Here are the podcasts to listen to...

If you want to talk about mental health...

Happy Place

Fearne Cotton

I've always been a Fearne Cotton fan and having listened to her voice on the radio growing up, it makes sense she's now got herself a fab, new podcast. The first episode I listened to was an interview with Dawn French (another female hero) and it's really interesting finding out more about these celebrities personal lives, trials and tribulations and stories I certainly haven't heard elsewhere. She has big name celebrity episodes and a nice chat over a cup of tea at their house (coincidently, their happy place - get it?) is a lovely listen.

Notable episode: Zephyr Wildman

If you're a music fan...

George Ezra & Friends

George Ezra

Despite the constant advertisement for his album throughout (although Staying at Tamara's is indeed, a bloody brilliant one) this has been a favourite over the past couple of weeks. With guests like Rag N Bone man, Elton John and Jessie Ware, it's been great to hear about the other side of touring, women in the music industry and what they get up to when it comes to writing new songs. George is super at ease in interviewing which I was pleasantly surprised at, so this series gets pretty interesting.

Notable episode: Elton John

If you're a parent or love family talk...

Happy Mum, Happy Baby

Giovanna Fletcher

I'm not sure whether it's getting to the ripe old age of 26 or because of this podcast, but recently I have found myself getting ridiculously broody. Giovanna is someone I could listen to talk forever and her guests are always incredibly insightful into their own experiences of motherhood. Even though I'm not a mother myself, I find it fascinating to hear their trials and tribulations (and all the good stuff, of course!) of being a parent. I'm definitely hoping there's another season soon.

Notable episode: Izzy Judd

If you love food...

Table Manners

Jessie Ware

This podcast features some brilliant guests at Jessie (or her Mum's) very own dinner table, chatting about everything from their favourite food to their current life goals. Again like the previous series' I've mentioned, there are plenty of big name stars featured on this podcast and they're not all related musically to Jessie Ware, which makes for nice variation. Despite this being a brilliant podcast, be warned it will make you feel hungry every time you listen.

Notable episode: Joe Dempsie & Daniel Kaluuya

If you enjoy fashion...

Get it on

Dawn O'Porter

This is a fairly new addition to my playlist and this features the shortest episodes of any series I've listened to so far (20-30 minutes - perfect for a short, Summer run). If you're interested in fashion, or why certain celebrities wear what they wear and their terrible fashion choices in the past, then this is a nice listen. Although not the greatest audio quality or smoothest interviews, I've been intrigued to listen to quite a few of these now.

Notable episode: Chris O'Dowd

Do you have any MUST-LISTEN podcasts I should know about? Follow me on Twitter or Instagram and please let me know! 




Cover image of 'Days of Wonder' book with father and daughter image on stage

Following his bestseller 'A Boy Made of Blocks', Keith Stuart has cracked it all over again, this time with a novel exploring the connection between single parent and child and the struggles of coping with a life-limiting illness in the family.

It's everything I expected; some laugh out loud moments, some heart-wrenching words and certainly many a teary-eyed chapter reading. The dynamic pair of Tom and Hannah are wonderful to follow, particularly as they have come to be so open with each other due to their small family unit. Although their relationship seems particularly easy, we do see the stereotypical, teenage girl and father interactions in response first boyfriends, general overprotectiveness and turbulent arguments.

The overarching struggle in their bond is coping with Hannah's heart arrythmia, which was diagnosed when she was a child and naturally has haunted the two characters throughout their years together. The way Stuart explores the ups and downs of their time together, and the future that is to come, has a way of making you feel very close to their story and despite the darkness of this plot, there is a magical undertone in the way theatre, art and friends come into their lives.

Sound like your cup of tea? Read the blurb and find out more...

'Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable. 

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah's diagnosis with a heart condition that both of them know will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen on the brink of adulthood, that time is coming.

With the theatre under threat of closure, Hannah and Tom have more than one fight on their hands to stop the stories ending.'

From fairies to comic books, it shows the positive impact of having a creative outlet and how the pair can share their worlds with each other. Stuart himself mentions this is about how love, laughter and imagination can get families through difficult times and is certainly what the novel depicts. 

A beautiful story; if you're a fan of YA fiction and particularly if liked 'Everything, Everything' then I think you'll enjoy this.

If you grab a copy, let me know your thoughts over on Goodreads!