Here are the Frequently Asked Questions all about the National Three Peaks Challenge
What Is the 3 Peak Challenge?
Climbing the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales in 24 hours. The highest in Scotland is Ben Nevis (1345m), the tallest mountain in England is Scafell Pike (978m) and the tallest mountain in Wales is Yr Wyddfa or Snowdon at 1085m.
So does that mean we walk in the dark?
YEP! That makes it a serious proposition!
Can I complete it in more than 24 hours?
We think it’s your own challenge! There’s no OFFICIAL body overseeing the completion, so you can complete the challenge over 3 days if you want. That’s still an achievement!
What’s the official website for the three peak challenge?
Erm – there’s no official website for the national 3 peaks, only businesses selling their guiding services.
How do you travel between peaks?
The usual way is by road, but there are some hardy souls who have cycled in between or caught public transport. Clearly not in 24 hours! John Merril in his walk around the UK coastline in the 70s completed one of the more arduous versions of the three peaks as he ascended them during this epic walk. The national 3 peaks Yacht Race is an alternative way to complete it, but you’ll need to be an accomplished fell runner!
How much walking is involved?
There’s a good 34km of walking (16km Ben Nevis, 8.5km up Scafell Pike and 10km up Snowdon) that’s assuming you complete the shortest routes via the Ben Nevis Mountain Track, Scafell Pike from Wasdale and Snowdon via the Pyg Track from Pen y Pass. The ascent is 1370m up Ben Nevis, 900m up Scafell Pike and 800m up Snowdon – so at least by doing it in this direction, you’ll be getting the toughest route out of the way first. The total ascent is around 300om! That’s tough!
What’s a good itinerary for the challenge?
See our post on this!
What time of year is best for the challenge?
The more daylight you’ve got, the better! That makes May and June popular choices, especially with the pair of bank holidays in May. In June, you won’t need a headtorch on Ben Nevis till well after 10pm and if you’re lucky then you may catch the sunrise on Scafell Pike later on! Perfect timing on the itinerary means you can be off Ben Nevis before dark and setting off up Scafell Pike at first light.
How Fit should I be?
You shouldn’t just turn up expecting to complete this walk if the only exercise you’ve done in the last three months is walking between couch and fridge to fetch beer. You’ll need to be able to practice a walk such as Snowdon before hand (many times ideally!) and complete it easily in around 4 hours or even less!
I’ve never been up a mountain, there’s an easy path all the way up all three peaks right?
Not really! In mist you can easily get lost on the summit plateau on Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike. Snowdon’s navigation is easier, but none of it is easy! If in any doubt, make sure there’s an experienced walker in the group, or hire a mountain leader.
Will there be snow on the summit?
On the summit of Ben Nevis then statistically, yes. You can easily find patches of snow into the early summer. You need to be aware that the summit plateau can be iced up well into May and beyond.