February 14th

Paul Kemshell
Just about to start

Having split up with my girlfriend for the final time just after Christmas, I was not hugely looking forward to Valentine’s Day! So rather than having a super unproductive day moping about and feeling sorry for myself I decided to drag my silly arse out of bed at 4:30 am and get myself to Horton-in-Ribblehead just before 7am to start the Yorkshire 3 Peaks.

It was a good forecast but good at the bottom does not mean good at the top!

I got near to the top of Pen-Y-Ghent in good time as the new dawn won the battle over the darkness of the previous night, but the wind was horrific and as I reached the snow line which coincided with the low cloud I was blown clean off my feet and landed on my back. The final ascent of Pen-Y-Ghent is a touch tricky in summer, never mind in these conditions – Maybe I could describe myself has heartbroken over what could have been, but I am certainly not suicidal…and besides, a good buddy of mine was airlifted off the same hillside 6 years earlier and found herself on Helicopter Heroes so I really did not want to be accused of copying!

I decided to return to my car as the weather promised to improve and drive to Ribblehead and just do a simple circular and take in Whernside.

On the lower slopes of Whernside, I decided it would be far better to enjoy the journey rather than thinking of punishing myself with a hard day. Forget Strava, forget PB’s and segments and just enjoy the journey.

Which I did!

That 16k walk seemed to become a metaphor for life – some bits were easy, some bits were harder, the path went up and then came down again. At one point I inadvertently stepped off the path and ended up thigh deep in a snow drift and ice slowed the journey. As I descended and visibility returned it was clear that the sun had been shining all along it had just been temporarily obstructed by the local circumstances. With clear sight of the ultimate destination (you cannot miss Ribblehead viaduct) the journey becomes easier and eventually you end up on a newly tarmacked drive way leading you home.

You might not like the circumstances you currently find yourself in, but it’s an outrageous privilege to be alive today. To quote Gary Vaynerchuck “Your mum could have reached for another glass of wine and YOU would have never been born”!

Ice on Whernside
Ice on Whernside
Paul Kemshell near the top of Whernside
Near the top of Whernside

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