RESIDENTS are calling for urgent action over the increasing number of Three Peaks charity walks taking place in the Dales which they say are making their lives a misery.

Villagers in Horton-in-Ribblesdale say they are suffering a range of problems caused by people taking part in Three Peaks charity challenges, including loud noise at anti-social hours, verbal abuse and parking chaos.

One resident – Bryan Bowman – said villagers’ lives were being made ‘hell’ by the situation.

The finger has been pointed squarely at charity organisations who arrange for thousands of fundraisers to tramp the 24-mile route to raise money throughout the year.

Now the parish council, Yorkshire Dales National Park bosses and charity officials are in talks to try to alleviate the situation.

A working party has been set up at Horton-in-Ribblesdale and has met with Yorkshire Dales National Park officers recently to look at ways of alleviating the problem.

One of the plans is to establish a code of conduct for walkers taking on the Three Peaks Challenge to follow so that the peace of residents in the village is respected.

The YDNPA has called the disturbance of residents along the Three Peaks route a “hard nut to crack” while some residents have said aggressive and rude visitors have left them in tears and thinking about selling their home.

At the latest meeting of Horton-in-Ribblesdale parish council, members were told a recent working party meeting discussed noise and agreed a change in the behaviour of the public was essential to alleviate the main problems associated with Three Peaks events.

Clerk Andrew Blackburn said it had been noted there were specific times for noise, such as Saturdays from 5am onwards, with loud-hailers and music being played in the overspill car park fields usually between 3pm and 9pm. Reports were also made of cars being parked on verges and near junctions causing danger for other road users.

Mr Blackburn said it was the organised events which appeared to cause the most concern among residents, rather than casual walkers or the annual races.

He said: “The complaints are to do with charity events, nothing to do with cycling events or fell races where people come to run – they are not coming to get sloshed or shout and bawl and cheer at 5am.

“Generally it is the charity events that residents were focussing on – particularly, and this has happened twice, the British Heart Foundation. I sent an official complaint after an event last year.

“They took over the school when it was running. At 5.30am the noise was horrendous.

“I asked to see their impact assessment. They don’t have one. They are supposed to do but they don’t. They sent official apologies and said they would put measures in place.

“This time they used the field. Low and behold, we have residents complaining again about the same things, clattering and banging and noise. It was the British Heart Foundation again.

“I will send a formal complaint again. I believe that was the weekend where they were double parked and thousands of people attended. They make lots of money but it shouldn’t be at the detriment and expense of residents of the village.”

Members said the charity was not welcome in the village if that was its attitude.

A spokesman for the British Heart Foundation said it was in talks to try to alleviate the problems and apologised for inconveniencing villagers.

Villagers also said the National Park Authority was formulating a code of conduct which would be issued to charitable organisations and others using the route.

Residents Bryan and Hilary Bowman, who live near the station at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, said their lives were being made “hell” by “irresponsible and aggressive” walkers.

“One day this year I was sworn at three times when people drove up to the station – where it states ‘No Unauthorised Access’ – to pick up people finishing the walk,” said Mrs Bowman. “They come across the railway line and past our home at all hours, sometimes almost treading on one another’s heels there are so many. One Sunday recently I counted 180 people in half an hour.

“When I asked people not to park there they shouted abuse at me and were extremely aggressive. I was in tears and felt like selling up and moving.

“I did calm down after but there is no need for that. We see people urinating against a concrete building nearby and notice we are also getting a lot more night walkers so they have people picking them up from outside at two in the morning, often leaving the car engine running.

“We’ve lived here for 32 years and it has got a lot worse in the past few years.

“I appreciate they raise a lot of money for charity but they could show some courtesy to people who live here whose lives they are making hell.”

Mr Bowman said: “The Three Peaks has got so popular that we are now getting what the Peak District and Lake District have had for 40 years and couldn’t stop.

“The genie is out of the bottle and there is little that can be done about it without some input. We are relying entirely on the National Park for help.

“What has made things worse is when the walk started to be called the ‘Three Peaks Challenge’. People are doing it for the challenge.

“Don’t get me wrong, they have achieved a great thing. It is a difficult 24 miles, but most will only do it once so don’t care how much they disturb residents.

“I am rather hoping that Three Peaks walks become unfashionable.

“I know of residents in the village who go away most weekends because they can’t stand the noise and disturbance and it shouldn’t be like that.”

Former parish council chairman Wilf Fenten said: “When this matter came to parish council a few years ago it failed, and it failed in coming to a clear and good code of conduct.

“The Park delivered the code of conduct but it lacked the input of local people, of the parish council, of local businesses and of the organisers.”

Mr Fenten said that visitors should also try to purchase from local businesses. “Don’t bring your own stuff,” he said. “You put a burden on the village so the least you can do is put something back.”

Hilary Fenten added: “No one has mentioned you get these thousands every weekend and it ruins the village and the loss of property prices and the loss of quiet and the loss of ordinary tourists who come.

“It is making it a horrible place at the weekend for the people who live here and those who want to visit.”

'We must work together on problem'

ADAM Brockett, Events Programme Lead at the British Heart Foundation, expressed thanks to local people for welcoming the Three Peaks charity events.

He said: “We’ve run the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge for over 14 years, with hundreds of incredible walkers raising thousands of pounds to fund life-saving research for the millions of people living with heart and circulatory disease.

“We are extremely grateful to the residents of Horton-in-Ribblesdale for welcoming events such as ours, and do all we can to minimise disruption in the local community. This includes carrying out a risk assessment and notifying residents about the event to ensure it is delivered in a safe and rewarding way for everyone involved. It’s never our intention to disturb local residents and we would like to apologise if this has been the case.

“We are in touch with the parish council and are working with them to ensure that future events are planned in collaboration, and with their full support.

“We really value this event and the support of Horton-in-Ribblesdale parish and the local residents, and would like to thank them once more for helping us raise vital funds for heart research.”

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Head of Park Management Alan Hulme said of the problems: “This is a very difficult nut to crack. The Visitor and Traffic Management Plan commissioned by Horton in Ribblesdale Parish Council in 2013 and financially supported by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) Sustainable Development Fund identified a range of issues affecting the village, with large charitable events being just one of these.

“Since 2013 the YDNPA has continued to work with the parish council, producing posters and a Three Peaks Code for visitors which has been placed around the village and in various publications.

“After recent discussions with the parish council we are also currently reviewing what information we provide to event organisers across the Park, and at the request of the parish council will be developing a shorter and clearer version which will be aimed specifically at those events starting and finishing in Horton-in-Ribblesdale.”

A spokesman for the National Park said: “We estimate that over 100,00 people walk in the Three Peaks area every year. It’s difficult to calculate the number of walkers on charitable events as we are unaware of many of the smaller events – 10 to 40 people – which make up a significant percentage of walkers using the routes, and even unaware of some of the bigger events.

“On the larger, more established events in 2017 – ie, those that notified us of numbers of expected participants, including the Three Peaks Race and the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross Race – there were between 6,000 and 7,000 participants.

“We ask for a donation of £1 per person and received £4,425 which goes directly into the maintenance of the routes in the Three Peaks area. This is a very small percentage of the total sum raised for good causes by the charitable events. It is a requested donation to put a little back and not a charge to do the event or for any advice or guidance given.

“There is no formal control we can place on these events as they are on public rights of way and there is no form of registration in operation, although we advise organisers to contact us so we can offer advice and guidance.”