National 3 Peaks Challenge
The national three peaks challenge involves climbing the highest mountain in each of the three countries comprising Great Britain – England, Scotland and Wales. There are no set rules for the challenge, with many people attempting to complete all three peaks in 24 hours, others opting for a more leisurely approach completing one mountain per day over a long weekend. However you plan to tackle the challenge, you will need to be fit, prepared and well organised.
If you’ve never done any mountain walking before, but think it’s something you might enjoy, then taking on the national three peaks challenge can be a great source of motivation to get you started. You don’t have to complete it in 24 hours, you can take as long as you like, but you’ll have a great sense of achievement once you’ve completed it. You’ll always be able to say you’ve climbed the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales! Aside from the challenge itself, it will also get you out on the mountains and local hills for your training sessions – a great way to get fit.
The purpose of this site is to share some of the research I gathered along with personal experiences and recommendations. I hope the site proves to be of some use if you intend on doing the national three peaks challenge…more
Enjoy the Challenge
Remember – you don’t have to complete the Three Peaks Challenge in 24 hours. You could choose to start Saturday morning and finish Sunday afternoon, or you could take a long weekend (or 3 days midweek) completing one mountain per day. Just enjoy these great mountains, the outdoors and the overall accomplishment.
What are the 3 Peaks?
The highest of the three mountains is Ben Nevis in Scotland with an elevation of 1344m above sea level. Most people start the challenge at Ben Nevis purely because (for most) it is the furthest from home and it is the highest climb. Due to it’s height and location, ‘the ben’ is rarely without snow on it’s summit plateau.
Second in the challenge is Scafell Pike in the Lake District. At 978m this is the lowest summit of the three, however, with it’s relentless and steep ascent it is arguably the hardest of all. It is also considered the hardest to navigate in poor weather conditions.
Finally, you will reach Snowdon in Wales, with an elevation of 1085m. starting at Pen-y-Pass (the most common starting point), you are already 359m above sea level, however, this does not make Snowdon an ‘easy mountain’. Snowdon has a few different route options, most of which share the same final steep ascent to the summit.
Book a Mountain Leader
If you are at all inexperienced in mountain climbing/walking then please consider booking a Mountain Leader to assist you. We can help to arrange a Leader for you and if you need transport and/or accommodation we can help with that too – see our bookings page.
Respect the Environment
The national three peaks challenge is a great way to raise money for charity, and as such, thousands of people descend on and around Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon each year, normally around June/July time. This can have a huge impact on the environment and local residents, often with challengers arriving at Scafell Pike in the middle of the night. The mountain roads, particularly around Scafell Pike, were not designed to accommodate large numbers of cars and minibuses, and especially not larger vehicles.
As such, the national three peaks challenge has attracted a lot of bad press so it is important to respect other walkers, local residents and the environment. Criticisms stem from the following aspects:
- Large groups disrupting the peaceful environment for other casual walkers
- Not following the mountain paths causing damage to the mountain side
- Relying on Mountain Rescue instead of being fit and prepared
- Noise and transport pollution
The Institute of Fundraising created a Code of Practice for events such as the national three peaks challenge and you can view it here. By following a few simple guidelines and general housekeeping rules you can help to protect the environment whilst also respecting local residents and businesses.
Three Peaks Partnership
A website has been created by the custodians of the 3 peaks (John Muir Trust, National Trust in the Lake District and Snowdonia National Park) called the ‘Three Peaks Partnership’ – this is designed to make the 3 peaks challenge safer and less damaging to the evironment. Anybody taking part in a 3 peaks challenge is urged to register on the website to show their commitment to competing sustainably. You can visit the site at www.threepeakspartnership.co.uk.