Horton in Ribblesdale station, in the shadow of Pen-y-ghent. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Horton in Ribblesdale station, in the shadow of Pen-y-ghent. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Missing walkers tackling the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge caused headaches for rescuers at the weekend.

The Cave Rescue Organisation was alerted to three separate incidents, two of which involved the same group.

The rescue team was informed about 5.50pm on Sunday that five walkers were missing in poor visibility. A team spokesperson said: “They had last been seen on Whernside at an uncertain time. The duty controller said to give them another hour, but as a precaution asked team members for their availability and agreed that one local member should drive the roads between Bruntscar and Horton in Ribblesdale.

“Just as he arrived in Horton, to speak to the ‘organiser’, so did three of the ‘missing’ party. They said that the other two were ‘10 minutes’ behind them, so CRO stood down.”

But an hour after the other three members of the sponsored Three Peaks walk group had said that they were 10 minutes behind them, the organiser reported that the final two walkers, a man and a woman, had still not reached Horton station, the end point of the route.

The team spokesperson said: “As a local CRO member arrived at the station approach, the pair emerged from the station gate.

“However, there was no minibus, no ‘organiser’ and no reply on his mobile phone, despite the fact that the duty controller had asked him to remain at the station.

“The local member began driving the relieved pair through the village and soon discovered that the reason for the lack of signal was the thickness of the walls at the pub. No doubt words were exchanged.

“The two walkers had held back on the first peak, Pen-y-ghent, because two other, slower walkers had been left behind by the main group.”

The team added it was not CRO policy not to criticise people to whose aid the team goes.

As the previous events were unfolding, a third Three Peaks walker was reported overdue, 14 or 15 hours after leaving her home in central North Yorkshire.

The team spokesperson said: “Her husband, who had called the police, had no knowledge of her proposed route. As a local CRO member was setting out to find whether her car was still in Horton car park, she arrived home, safe and well.”

The Three Peaks Challenge involves summiting Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in a 39km (24-mile) route, in no more than 12 hours, and is used for fundraising by numerous groups and charities.

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