Helpful Hints for tackling Three Peaks Challenge

Three Peaks Challenge

Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike & Mount Snowdon

Everyone loves a challenge whether it is running a marathon or swimming the English Channel. It is what makes us humans always wanting to push ourselves to the limit or that little bit more. Completing the Three Peaks Challenge took a different type of strength and mindset for me than when I was at Everest base camp and on the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Views of the mountain tops in Snowdonia

Training on route to Mount Snowdon, Wales for Three Peaks Challenge

What is the Three Peaks Challenge

The Three Peaks Challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks Ben Nevis in Scotland (1345m), Scafell Pike, in England (978m) and Snowdon in Wales (1085m) within 24 hours. Covering a distance of 462 miles from start to finish driving and climbing a total height of 3408m (10,000 ft).



This is a tough challenge and I saw a lot of people giving up when I was completing mine, especially in the middle of the night on Scafell Pike. So I thought I would share some of my tips and hints that I learnt along the way to help you save time and hopefully make it more achievable. Remember every little bit counts.

Tip

  • Lots of people do it for charity and it is definitely worthwhile if you can.
View of mountains and lakes from the top of Snowdon

Near the summit of Mount Snowdon Wales – Three Peaks Challenge

Decide how you want to take part

You can take part in the Three Peaks Challenge in two ways — as a “self-organised group(which is what I completed), or a professionally organised group”.

Read More –  Hiking & Camping in Snowdonia Wales with MINI Countryman

A Self-organised group is often the cheapest way to take part but that is because you will have to organise everything from car hire to registering the group (refer link below).

A professionally organised group is a great option if you do not do much climbing and are not overly familiar with the three mountains. Also, professional mountain guides are usually provided as well to assist.

Tip

  • I do a lot of hiking in these areas so I know the routes well and it took a lot to organise on our own. If you are unfamiliar with the routes it’s best to consider doing the Three Peaks Challenge with an organised company.
mountain views from the route up Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis, Scotland – Three Peaks Challenge

Have the right fitting Hiking/Trail Shoes and they are worn in

Just like my Everest Tips, you may think this is a silly point but you will be surprised how many people I have seen over time getting really bad blisters and limping as they did not have enough support in their shoes.

Remember, you’re climbing up three mountains, so you want your feet to be as comfortable as possible especially when you’re tired and pushing up that last mountain.

Tip

  • Most outdoor shops will have experts that can professionally fit your hiking boots. They usually have a display area that you can test them too, just ask the assistant. 
Foot selfie on the mountain top with lake below

Snowdon, Wales – Three Peaks Challenge

Organise a driver (This applies to self-organised groups)

Organise someone to do all the driving and to wait at the car in case anything happens during the Three Peaks Challenge. Do not try to share the driving amongst the group climbing, as you can become fatigued and run the risk of not completing the challenge and worse still crashing.

As I said before it is 462 miles from start to finish and in good traffic takes about 10 hours.  Having someone else drive means you get to rest & recharge for the next summit.

We hired a Van in Scotland and had someone drive for us all the way back to London. We chose a van because we were able to sleep in it between peaks.

Tip

  • Most professionally organised groups will have a driver provided
Rocky outcrop on Scafell Pike

On the summit of Scafell Pike, England – Training Three Peaks Challenge

Have a bright head-torch

When you are climbing in the middle of the night, your senses can be thrown right out and you could waste valuable time going the incorrect way. I have been up Scafell Pike on a number of occasions before the Three Peaks Challenge, I thought I knew the route pretty well but in the middle of the night with a bad head touch my bearings were out of whack.

We did not cross the stream when we were supposed to and we ended up losing over an hour trying to find our way back to the correct route.

Tip

  • If you are not sure, ask at your local outdoor shop for the best head torch.

 

Mel on the route up Snowdon

Training on Mount Snowdon – Three Peaks

Keep your group to a minimum size that can be manageable (This applies to self-organise groups)

Remember you are only as fast as the last person and you can only go from one mountain to the next when everyone has arrived back to the car after reaching the summit.

It can be frustrating getting down and then having to wait around especially when you are on limited time and know it is out of your hands.

Tip

  • Our group was only 3 plus a driver, which was a good manageable size.
Our groups shadow on the grassy slope of Ben Nevis

Hiking up to Ben Nevis, Scotland Training – Three Peaks Challenge

Take a change of clothes or top

You will work up a sweat (some more than others) by the time you reach a summit and get back to the vehicle again. Being dry between mountain transfers can make the world of difference of getting a decent rest before the next summit or just generally being comfortable.

Unfortunately, a pack of Redbull’s smashed in my bag on the plane while on the way up to Scotland to start the challenge and everything I had was soaking wet.

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I got a chill and could not rest as I didn’t have anything to change into, so the others lent me their clothes to warm up. This made the world of difference and I was able to have enough energy to do the last summit of Snowdon, Wales

Tip

  • If you have quick dry clothes that you use for sport that is great to use. Also don’t wear heavy clothes it will only weight you down and make you hotter. 
Reflections of the mountains on perfectly still lake

On my way to Scafell Pike, England-Three Peaks Challenge

Carry a small first-aid kit

The size of your group and fitness levels will determine a lot where you are going to be placed during the summits. For a professionally organised group, usually, there is a guide in front of the fastest person and a guide behind the slowest person. At times you can be a couple of hundred meters apart, so if something happens you need to be prepared.

As for self-organised group, it is something you should already have on your list. Maybe carry small kits on you and a larger one in your transport. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Tip

  • If you are a self-organised group you will only have each other. If something happens you need to be prepared on the mountain.
Hiker resting at the summit while admiring the views of grassy mountains and blue lakes

On the summit of Mount Snowdon -Three Peaks Challenge

 Take a small music device like an iPod

When you need a little push and motivation especially in the middle of the night up to the summit (which is usually Scafell Pike), a bit of music can make the world of difference.

Read More – Casio Protrek Smart Watch for your Outdoor Adventures & Travel

You do not have to have it in both ears blasting out but a little light music in one ear, while still using your other ear to listen to everything else around you. It is even good to help you relax and rest between mountains in the transfer.

Tip

  • I listened to my gym playlist that was great to create a rhythm in my step, which also helped with my breathing. 
Looking up at the ridge while walking up Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike, England – Three Peaks Challenge

Take a Day Back up the Summits

I definitely know that you do not want to be carrying any unnecessary items. Take a small comfortable day backpack with you to carry your water to keep hydrated, sweets to keep your sugar level up, your mini first aid kit and maybe energy drinks.

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I saw a few people using the emergency foil blanket (also known as the silver blanket) to keep them when they had given up and were waiting for their team to return from the summit.

Tip

I have an Osprey Backpack which I use for both hiking and skiing. They are not cheap but they are super comfortable and I have not had any problems with it. 

Following Mel B on the way down from Scafell between green hills with Wastwater in the distance

Be prepared Physically

This is a tough event; people participating should have the necessary fitness. You have to remember you are in a group and others are relying on you to make it. You need to make sure you train and prepare and if you can familiarise yourself with the three peaks beforehand, I suggest doing so.

Look up various leg strengthening exercises, climb stairs instead of taking the lift, anything really to build your strength.

Tip

  • Create set goals of where you want your fitness level to be before you begin your challenge and a table to watch your progress. 
Mel with Snowdon in the background

Snowdon, Wales

Remember to have fun with it

With all the training and work that you have done to prepare, remember to still have fun along the way and don’t be hard on yourself especially if you do not make it in time.

You can always do it again or you can do one of the many organised groups who offer the Three Peaks Challenge over the course of a couple of days or week.

View down Scafell Pike path to Wastwater

Scafell Pike, England – Three Peaks Challenge

I am always happy to help 🙂

A special Thank you to Dataquest UK for donating towards our Three Peaks Challenge, which paid for our van hire.

Our group at the start of the challenge displaying our sponsor's flag

The start of Challenge, Ben Nevis Scotland

Thank you for reading this article ‘Helpful Hints for tackling the Three Peaks Challenge’.  I hope that I have been helpful in helping you achieve your goal of completing  the challenge. 

Panoramic view from Snowdon with the rail line in the foreground

If there is anything more you would like to know or want further tips on, please do not hesitate to message me. Good luck with the Three Peaks Challenge and enjoy your adventure 🙂

Remember that you need to get some good Hiking Boots before your next Adventure. Happy feet, happy hiker!!

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Have you done the Three Peaks Challenge before or there any other tips you would want me to add to the article? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.

Useful Guide Books for the mountains involved in Three Peaks Challenge.

 

Disclaimer:  All views are my own based on my own experience.



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18 Comments

  1. Very cool! For my next trip to the UK I want to do some serious hiking so it’s great to learn about this challenge 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

    1. You are welcomed. Let me know when you come to UK and I will be happy to give you tip son hiking routes. 🙂 Enjoy your day

  2. Thanks for the tips Mel, we will have to organise a trip there soon. Would love to know where you would recommend staying to?

  3. Thanks for the great tips. I have been wanting to do the challenge for a while but I could not found anything that has been to useful.

  4. I had read about the three peaks challenge earlier. In this post you have provided some invaluable tips on how to take up this challenge. All the tips are sensible and practical, The one about having fun is the best, because in all this one should never forget to enjoy the whole experience.

    1. Thanks Vyjay, I appreciate your feedback. I love the mountains and I am always happy to share tips, to help others enjoy their trips too.

  5. Thanks for the great tips, l would have never consider taking a change of clothes but you have a great point. I am planning on doing this with my mates. Tks

  6. Really useful tips, I especially think that a Ipod can be useful if you’re hiking on your own to keep you powering through. Out of interest which peak did you find the most strenuous and what time of year did you do the hike?

    1. It was Scaffle Pike in the middle of the night, when it is pitch dark and your only half way through. It is also the time I saw a lot of people quite. I hope that helped.

  7. Hi Melbtravel. That sounds excited. I want to have experience like you. Which highest peak is your best experience? I haven’t had ideas about the place for hiking, your sharing is good choice. By the way, I’m so excited to go outdoor activities. Could you suggest item lists for hiking? I have only one idea is a binocular for enlarging my world. Thank you very much for your sharing. I really love your post.

    1. Mt Kilimanjaro was definitely a good one and so was Everest. Definitely recommended good hiking shoes for hiking and being outdoor and try to make sure they are waterproof.

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