After a breathless scramble to the top of the layered giant Ingleborough, the summit bathed in a cool fog only adding to the sense of adventure, we had finally completed an iconic challenge (minus the deceptively long trek back to Horton in Ribblesdale!) – the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
It was safe to say that after twenty-four arduous miles and a mile (1,702m from GPS) of ascent we were now ready for a well-earned beer (and of course a classic 99 for dessert!). And what better beer to celebrate such an adventure than by cracking open a can of Ascent, Raven Hill’s new hoppy pale ale, a beer inspired by the challenge, natural beauty and history of the majestic peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.
With the restraints of lockdown starting to ease, the team at Raven Hill were desperate to get out into the wild again, not only to blow away that quarantine malaise but also to be reinvigorated by the rugged Yorkshire Peaks. So, on the 16 July we packed our bags – happily carrying some extra weight courtesy of a few Raven Hill beers that we knew would top off the day nicely – and set off to tackle the first peak of the day, the instantly recognisable Pen-y-ghent. Its shape is often described by walkers in the Dales as like that of a crouching lion, almost as if it was ready to pounce on the unsuspecting village of Horton in Ribblesdale nestled below the peak. Even though it is the lowest of Yorkshire’s fabled Three Peaks it still has a bite (see what we’ve done here!) in the form of a steep climb just before the ascent. What a way to start the day!
We were very lucky to be joined by some illustrious company for our adventure in the lithe shape of David Riley who recently broke some Yorkshire Three Peaks records. An experienced ultra runner, he targeted both the Double and Triple FKT (Fastest Known Time), managing to nab both, breaking the Double record by 5 minutes and then, following a quick nap, the Triple record. It was an absolute pleasure to chat with him throughout the walk and as we made our way down from Pen-y-ghent, with awe-inspiring panoramic views as we broke out of the clouds and it was clear that in many ways David personified the philosophy we have at Raven Hill.
In discussing his recent records, we were struck by his passion for the process and journey involved, which for him outweighed the outcome. And this is exactly how we see brewing. We always want to brew the best, most refreshing beers we possibly can for you, so the brewing journey is the most important. Tinkering with different flavour combinations, with different hop varieties and different types of beer is key to us, and it is where we get to have fun. And in our new beer Ascent, we hope you can taste the journey. The (Yorkshire) grit and determination. The moments of elation as you breathlessly touch another trig point and feel as if you are on top of the world. David and Ed Flood are both currently working hard creating a new trail running event called Trail Pursuit in the lake district in May 2021.
As we continued our little expedition Ribblehead Viaduct came into view. This impressive piece of Victorian engineering consisting of 24 huge stone arches, 32 metres high, striding across Batty Moor marks the gateway to Whernside the highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
To this day this majestic viaduct carries the Settle-Carlisle railway and overlooked by the benign peak it seems to be in perfect harmony with the natural landscape of the picturesque Ribble Valley. However, this obscures a somewhat darker history. It would be no exaggeration to say that Victorian railway bosses, did not care one jot for the health and safety of their workers and their families. As a result hundreds of workers who built the railway lost their lives as a result of accidents and outbreaks of smallpox that ripped through shanty towns that were their homes during the construction.
And this is not the only history we encountered on our walk. At the summit of Ingleborough can be found the remains of a huge Iron Age hill fort, most likely constructed by the Brigantes, a tribe that controlled large parts of what is today Yorkshire. Some have suggested that this might have been the base of Venutius. It is possible that from his base on top of Ingleborough, Venutius led his many rebellions against the occupying Romans. Why this digression into history I hear you ask? For starters it's to show that doing a challenge like the Yorkshire Three Peaks is about so much more than just the challenge. It can inspire you in so many ways, from wanting to find out more about the complexities of our nations story to wondering about the engineering knowhow of our Victorian forebears. At Raven Hill, as well as making beers to complement all your adventures, we are true believers in encouraging people to get outdoors to explore - knowing that at the end of the day you can unwind with an Ascent!
What’s your next adventure? Hopefully you have been inspired by Raven Hill’s take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks. Lockdown may have shutdown many options but there is no reason not to get outdoors, to challenge yourself and explore all that Britain has to offer. Just remember to pack an Ascent, a perfect tonic for weary legs at the end of a long day. And remember to tag us in your next adventure. Taste the journey!
Order your Ascent via our online shop HERE (now available!!). Raven Hills next adventure is the Lyke Wake walk…