Dynamic head for the dizzy heights of the Yorkshire Dales.

On a cold and drizzly Easter Saturday morning when everyone else was wrapped up warm and tucking in to their chocolate eggs, Director at Dynamic Metals Steve Ambrose and myself, his wife Zoey, took on the challenge of walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks for the Florence Nightingale Hospice charity in memory of my beloved mum who tragically passed away at the end of last year. The challenge encompasses the three highest mountains in the Yorkshire Dales National Park which form part of the Pennine Range, encircling the heads of the valleys of the River Ribble and Chapel-le-Dale. Collectively known as the Three Peaks, the challenge should be completed in under twelve hours and takes on the mountains of Ingleborough (2,372ft), Pen-y-Ghent (2,277ft) and Whernside (2,415ft) with a 25 mile long circular route including 5,200ft of ascent.

As the challenge day got ever closer and the many kind and incredibly generous donations rolled in, Steve and I were continuously asked about our training regime and if we were 'ready' to take on this mammoth challenge. Completely oblivious to just how arduous a task it would prove to be, we would respond in a positive and upbeat (if not slightly petrified) manner and hoped against hope that our average level of fitness would get us through. The acclaimed writer Alfred Wainwright once said about the Yorkshire Three Peaks, "Some people have chosen to regard the walk as a race and this is to be greatly regretted. Walking is a pleasure to be enjoyed in comfort." This is exactly what we decided to do, to simply try and enjoy the experience and not pressure ourselves in any way. If we could complete the challenge in under twelve hours and remain in one piece with all of our limbs intact then that was as much as we could wish for. We were both in firm agreement however that failure was never going to be an option and if it meant that we had to complete this challenge on our hands and knees, then so be it.

After a very rude awakening with our 5.30am alarm resounding through our guest room in Ingleton, we crawled out of bed and on opening the curtains, thanked our lucky stars that it was not pouring with rain. After a safety briefing an hour later by our mountain guide at the challenge meeting point in Chapel le Dale, we set off in to the deep unknown of God's country and began the steady trudge in the direction of the first mountain to tackle, Ingleborough. Due to a large number of people all setting off from the same point at the same time, over a hundred on our chosen morning, the steep climb up the rock wall became rather congested and it was an extremely testing scramble up the 'stairs of death' to the summit of our maiden peak. At times this mountain seemed almost unclimbable and as people around us started to wheeze and splutter and in one unfortunate case, actually turn around and give up completely, the strained look on both of our faces proved that we we were thinking exactly the same thing - what on earth had we let ourselves in for? Once we had reached the summit of an eery and particularly desolate Ingleborough, admist the driving wind and rain and with our heads literally in the clouds, we could both see how very easy it was to totally under-estimate this brutal challenge.

Another couple of hours of walking through boggy marshland we arrived in the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale where we would find our one and only public toilet of the entire twelve hour stint, rather worrying as there were still a further two mountains to climb. With both of us being beyond desperate at this point to use this very welcome public convenience, rucksacks were thrown to the ground with great abandonment and elbows were out as we sprinted as fast as we could in the direction of the toilets. I encountered a somewhat distressing moment at this point when I realised it was nigh on impossible to undo my jacket as my fingers had swollen up beyond all recognition and now resembled a pack of Cumberland sausages. Apparently this is why they recommend that you walk with poles but as virgin hikers we were totally in the dark about this concept and I am not exaggerating when I report that my poor fingers did not fully recover until the next morning.

Onwards and indeed upwards towards the next mountain of Pen-y-Ghent, the lowest of the three peaks but definitely the rockiest and whose name is believed to have derived from the Cambric language of the Middle Ages meaning 'hill on the border'. The distinctive shape and dramatic outline of this peak originates from the two thick horizontal layers of limestone that have eroded at a far slower pace than the sandstone layers between them. Arguably the most famous feature of this majestic peak are the bare 'rakes' on it's Western face which were shaped by a huge thunder storm in 1881. We felt like the superhero Spiderman as we gripped on and scrambled up the loose rock towards the ever-approaching summit. As the mist started to clear, we were at long last able to take in the magnificent scenery of the stunning Yorkshire landscape that is steeped in culture and heritage. Grateful for a short breather, we stood there together in silence to take in the breathtaking views of Simon Fell, Moughton Fell, Langstrothdale, Cam Fell, Dodd Fell and Pendle Hill. A peaceful moment of deep reflection and a time to consider love and loss and how none of us know what life's journey has in store for us.

Nothing and no-one could have prepared us for the gale force winds that we encountered as we started our descent from the top and as Steve battled with the cords of his rucksack that incessantly whipped into the side of his burning face, I honestly feared that we would be blown off the side of the mountain and surely never to be seen again. At regular intervals we were swiftly passed by the odd fell runner accompanied by their equally quick-running dogs. These bionic human beings with Olympian levels of fitness would normally have gained our total awe and admiration but as they sprinted past us with sheer ease and perhaps it was my imagination, with a rather smug look on their faces, our weary bodies and minds at this point in the challenge found these show-off's very unnecessary and incredibly annoying.

The final peak of the challenge is the brooding and overbearing mountain of Whernside, the highest and most precarious of all the three peaks, particularly when descending and can cause absolute havoc on the knees. At this point we began to understand the meaning of 'hitting a wall' - our energy had been totally zapped and we were having to draw on every ounce of our being to summon up the willpower to complete this Herculean challenge. Spurring each other on with motivational speeches and 'positive mental attitude' reminders and briefly stopping occasionally for a jelly baby washed down with a swig of water, we pushed on. After having already experienced four seasons in one day, the sunshine had at long last emerged from behind the clouds and as we approached the long and onerous climb up to Whernside, the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct dominated the scenery. Built in 1870 to carry the Settle to Carlisle railway across the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, the huge viaduct comprises of a series of arches that stretch for 400 metres across the moor. After a back-breaking climb up towards the summit, the route takes you along the ridge where on a clear day such as we were fortunate enough to witness, is the perfect spot for taking photographs of the outstanding landscape with spectacular views out to the Howgills, the Lake District and Morecambe Bay. We had long left our original group behind by now and had joined new walkers who were falling prey to the steep descent with many taking a tumble as they followed the trepidous path down the other side.

We had both imagined that our final destination would somehow magically appear at the bottom of the third mountain but what we were not prepared for was the long and never-ending stretch of tarmac from which we could just about make out the end in sight. The car park at Chapel le Dale, the point from which we had started our walk first thing earlier that morning, was glistening in the distance as the sunrays bounced off the roofs of the cars. In our now somewhat delirious state of mind, we joked that the image was to be likened to a mirage that a lost soul in the desert would witness, so close but somehow managing to still feel like light years away. As we rounded our final corner, a welcoming group of Three Peaks organisers were waiting in a tent to shake our hand, pat us on the back and issue our certificates. We were delighted to be told that we had managed to complete our challenge in ten hours and thirty-nine minutes, both rejoicing at this information as we had come in under our twelve hour target. As we hobbled over to the car to head back to our B and B for a much needed cuppa and lie down, realisation set in about just how difficult a task we had faced and we both experienced an overwhelming sense of achievement and pride to have finally completed the challenge in my mum's honour. When the going had got tough, we had found our inspiration by drawing on the extraordinary strength, bravery and dignity that my lovely mum had shown throughout her devastating illness. Team Ambrose had conquered the Yorkshire Three Peaks and had managed to raise a whopping £2,070 for a fantastic cause and one so dear to our hearts.