If you’re completing the National Three Peaks Challenge then you’ll need to be using the best map for the job. Her’s our rundown of the best maps.
UK Road Atlas.
In what’s an absolute first for any of the sites on the Mud and Routes family – we’re suggesting a road atlas! Obviously, this is NOT for the actual mountain sections but for the road sections. The three popular options are the 2019 Collins Big Road Atlas Britain, AA Big Road Atlas Britain 2018 and the Philip’s 2019 Complete Road Atlas Britain and Ireland. You should couple these with a reliable Road GPS Device or Google Maps on your smart phone. You can also use the walking maps for finding your way when you’re nearer the starting points. The National 3 Peaks Adventure Map from A to Z includes a road map as well as regular OS Mapping for the walk.
Walking Maps for the National Three Peaks
Ordnance Survey Landranger
These are the maps with the pink cover. We think they’re most useful for planning and for roads, but very limited use on the hill in our opinion as they simply lack the details. You’d also need three – one for each mountain.
This is our favourite option as it includes all the mountains on one map. It includes the recommended National Three Peaks routes on each of the mountains, so don’t expect the map to be useful if you want to come back and walk say the Langdale Route up Scafell Pike or the Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon at a later date. It’s also available with a choice of covers – Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis.
These are a new option, and one that’s a definite alternative to regular maps. These are a booklet format map which have the advantage of being compact an smaller than a regular OS Map, and that’s enough for all of the National 3 Peak walks. It even includes a road atlas, timings and hints and tips for completing the challenge. We love the format, and it’s certainly more discreet than waving a full OS map in the air in the pub as you attempt to show everyone tomorrow’s walk which is invariably on the back of the sheet. They’re not good however for really detailed navigation when you go off path, but for the National 3 Peaks you really shouldn’t need that! If you were being assessed for your mountain leader award, then you’d want a sheet. The actual mapping is also Ordnance Survey at 1:25,000, so you can’t go wrong.
There are also Harvey’s Maps – we love their Mountain Maps, but buying a set specifically for the 3 peaks would cost nearly £50. There are a number of other companies who create small map extracts, but some of the extracts don’t actually include the entire route (e.g. missing out Pen-y-pass on the Snowdon route is a serious omission in our view!) There are also some booklet format maps that might work well and we’re currently testing these out!
Remember that you’ll also need the skills to use the maps, along with a proper compass. We only recommend Silva and Suunto compasses. Visit the link below for a free online navigation course on Mud and Routes.
Guidebooks for the National 3 Peaks
We’d recommend the Cicerone book by Ron Turnbull – Three Peaks, Ten Tors: And Other Challenge Walks in the UK – which has information on preparing for the challenge. Of course, you can also use this website for free information! For full details on the actual routes – you don’t have to pay a penny as we have you covered. Visit the pages on the National 3 Peak Routes up Ben Nevis, National 3 Peak Routes up Scafell Pike and National 3 Peak Routes up Snowdon which link through to a free route guide for each walk.