The summit of Whernside, with Ingleborough in the distance. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The summit of Whernside, with Ingleborough in the distance. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A walker who got into difficulties attempting the Yorkshire Three Peaks was helped by another group undertaking the challenge – who subsequently got lost.

The Cave Rescue Organisation was alerted to the first missing man about 6.55pm on Saturday, after he became separated from his companions.

A team spokesperson said: “He had last been seen, ‘flagging’, on the summit of Whernside at 12.40, when he told his companions that he would not be walking over Ingleborough but would return to the start in Horton in Ribblesdale, along the road.

“His former companions completed their walk, then drove along local roads, before reporting him missing.”

A small number of rescue team members began a search for the missing man. While this was underway, the CRO received another call from a walker who reported concern about a group of five he believed to be cold and struggling on the descent of Ingleborough.

While rescuers were looking for the first man, he appeared with other walkers descending the path to Horton railway station, near the end of the route. The spokesperson said: “He had no map and no local knowledge, so rather than take to a road, he followed other walkers on to Ingleborough and stayed with them, as he had no torch.”

It then became evident that the group of three men and two women included the other walkers reported to be in difficulties earlier. They turned up at Horton with the missing man, whom they spotted struggling on Ingleborough and decided to ‘adopt’ him.

The CRO said: “They then got lost on the summit, along with two others they met. They all began descending by the wrong path, but were put right by other walkers and all walked down to Horton.”

The Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge is a 39km (24-mile) route involving ascents of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough and walking between the three summits. Traditionally, the distance has to be completed in less than 12 hours and many walkers start and end their challenge in Horton in Ribblesdale.

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