Six Down, Nine to Go: Celebrating National Parks Week

The UK’s fifteen national parks are an eclectic mix of landscapes, ranging from heather-clad moorland, rolling hills and craggy fells to expansive lochs, wooded valleys and sandy beaches. They’re home to our highest peaks, our deepest lake and miles upon miles of trails for everyone to enjoy. Oh, and millions of sheep (of which the Lake District’s hardy Herdwicks are by far the cutest). I’ve visited six of our national parks to date – some on multiple occasions, others just the once – and each of them holds a place in my heart.

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Yorkshire Three Peaks: Whernside

Tuesday rolled round, and with it our third peak of the trip: Whernside. The diamond in Yorkshire’s crown, Whernside is the highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks – and arguably the peak with the best views. From the lofty heights of 736m above sea level, the summit offers views of the Lake District and Morecambe Bay on a clear day – and if you bring your binoculars, you might even spot Blackpool Tower!

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Yorkshire Three Peaks: Ingleborough

The morning after our short but sweet ascent of Pen-y-ghent, we were all fuelled up on Morrison’s golden syrup porridge and hot chocolate and ready to attempt Yorkshire’s second-highest peak: Ingleborough. At 723m high this is hardly the Himalayas, but it did feel like a bit of a slog compared to the previous day’s hike.

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Yorkshire Three Peaks: Pen-y-ghent

Living on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, it would have been rude not to have attempted the Yorkshire Three Peaks. So attempt it we did – though not within the challenging twelve-hour time frame! Instead, we booked ourselves a pitch at Holme Farm campsite for three nights, with the aim of doing a peak a day.

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Lambs and Limestone Pavements

If you’ve seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1), it’s likely you’re no stranger to the stunning limestone pavement of Malham Cove. Although it’s located only a stone’s throw from the village of Malham, we took the train to Settle and hiked from there, notching up 25km (or 43,446 steps, according to Laurence’s iPhone) on our round-trip route . . .

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Dales Way: Ilkley to Bolton Abbey

The Dales Way links Ilkley, a picturesque market town in Yorkshire, to Bowness-on-Windermere, a beautiful tourist honeypot in the Lakes, taking in 84 miles of moorland, pastures, valleys and fens along the way. Before returning home for Easter, Laurence and I decided to walk a chunk of it – and have since bookmarked the entire route for a future trip . . .

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