Planning and Timings for the National Three Peaks

By Dave Roberts   

on September 12, 2018   5/5 (2)

Posted in 

Planning and Timings for the National Three Peaks

What time of year is best for the National 3 Peak Challenge?

If you want to walk as much of the walk in the daylight as possible, then the month’s of May, June and July are the best options. There’s nothing stopping you going in other months, but you’ll need to plan your trip around the daylight accordingly.

In What Direction should you complete the National 3 Peaks?

Either way! It depends what’s easiest for you. It’s often completed from Ben Nevis to Snowdon, but largely as more people life in the south and would rather finish nearer home.

What’s a recommended Itinerary for completing the National 3 Peaks in 24 hours?

While training is one of the primary factors behind three peaks success, you still need to plan impeccably. Checking out our route guides for the suggested routes should be the next step : Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon. You’ll probably be choosing the Mountain Track up Ben Nevis, Wasdale or Seathwaite as the Scafell Pike Route and the PYG/Miner’s Track for Snowdon.

You should also have a realistic timing for each mountain based on actual timings for at least one of the mountains.

Here’s what a 5pm start from Fort William looks like with typical National 3 Peak road timings and using Naismith’s Rule to calculate the walking times for each of the mountains.

TIME Section Notes Estimated Time
17:00 Start up Ben Nevis Walking 5:44:00
22:44 Finish Ben Nevis – drive to Scafell Pike Driving 5:40:00
04:24 Start up Scafell Pike Walking 3:18:00
07:42 Finish Scafell Pike – drive to Snowdon Driving 4:20:00
12:02 Start up Snowdon Walking 4:22:30
Total Time Taken 23:24:30

What’s clear is that there’s not a lot of time to spare with these timings, and any successful 3 Peaks Challenge should aim to complete the walking sections quicker than the above. Typical timings would be nearer 5 hours for Ben Nevis and 4 hours apiece for Scafell Pike and Snowdon. These are guidelines and Scafell Pike should take less time than Snowdon.

That faster timing gives you a couple of hours to spare.

Working out your actual timings should be straightforward from this, and unless you want to do some night walking, you’ll be aiming to walk as much of the mountains in daylight as possible.

We could provide you with every single permutation of the route, but there’s too much that will change from party to party. So we have created a spreadsheet that does all this for you.

You’ll need to enter your predicted timings for each summit as well as your estimated driving times. It calculates these on the basis of one summit timings, or just over ride if you wish.

It has two tabs so you can calculate the route starting the Three Peaks with Ben Nevis as well as starting the Three Peaks with Snowdon.

Feel free to reuse the file, just keep our branding please.

Three Peaks Timing Spreadsheet Preview

Download the Excel File Below

Download the National 3 Peak Calculator



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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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