The Three Peaks Challenge involves climbing the highest mountains in England, Wales and Scotland, totalling around 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) of climbing and 42km (26 miles) of walking within 24 hours. It is a physically and mentally demanding endurance event and not one that should not be attempted without adequate training.
The three mountains are:
Ben Nevis, in Scotland (1345m)
Snowdon, in Wales (1085m)
Scafell Pike, in England (978m)
A common misconception is that these are the three highest mountains in Great Britain; there are actually over 100 mountains in Scotland that are higher than Scafell Pike, and 56 are higher than Snowdon. The Three Peaks are the are the highest mountains in each Country.
The peaks can be climbed in any order, but often groups start at Ben Nevis before travelling down to Scafell Pike and then on to Snowdon. In order to complete all three mountains within 24 hours Ben Nevis needs to be completed in 5 hours, Scafell Pike in 4 hours and Snowdon in 4 hours, with the rest of the time spent travelling.
We’ve put together a 16 week training plan to get you climb-day-ready. It is suggested that you complete as much of the training plan as possible outdoors, and preferably walking up hills! Mix up your cross training with sports you enjoy, such as swimming, running, football, and cycling, and include exercises such as pushups, pullups, squats and lunges.
Even if you are physically fit and active, we recommend completing the training plan to ensure you’re fully prepared – climbing three of the highest mountains in the UK is completely different to running a marathon, or completing a triathlon. And adequate training will reduce your chance of injury.
Suggested 16 week plan
|Week 1||30 minute walk||30 minute walk||30 minute walk|
|Week 2 – 3||30 minute walk||30 minute walk||1 hour walk|
|Week 4 – 5||30 minute walk||30 minute walk||2 hour walk|
|Week 6 – 7||45 minute walk||45 minute walk||2 hour walk|
|Week 8 – 9||1 hour walk||1 hour walk||4 hour walk|
|Week 10 – 11||1 hour walk||1 hour walk||6 hour walk||Cross train|
|Week 12 – 13||1 hour walk||Cross train||1 hour walk||8 hour walk||Cross train|
|Week 14 – 15||Cross train||1 hour walk||Cross train||1 hour walk||6 hour walk||6 hour walk|
|Week 16||1 hour walk||1 hour walk||4 hour walk|
- When training, carry your rucksack and equipment to get used to the weight and feel.
- Complete practice walks to identify where blisters might appear and wrap feet with zinc oxide tape before starting the challenge to avoid this happening.
- Plan cross training sessions before work or during your lunch to maximise your time.
- Avoid lifts and escalators and use the stairs wherever possible.
- Walk or cycle to and from work. If you work too far from home, could you get public transport or drive part way and walk/cycle the remainder of the journey? Gradually increase the distance that you walk/cycle by parking further away/getting off at an earlier stop.
Tips for the event
- Don’t wear new boots.
- If you’re completing the challenge as part of a self-organised group make sure you have a dedicated driver – don’t be tempted to drive and complete the challenge yourself! Driving while tired is a major cause of road traffic accidents.
- Know how to call Mountain Rescue in case of emergency.
- Eat and drink little and often and on the go – no time for picnics at the top!
- Get ready in your vehicle as you near the starting point to save crucial time.
- Don’t waste time at the top of the mountain – a quick group photo and off you go – you have a 24 hour deadline to meet!
- Head torch (and spare batteries)
- Waterproof jacket
- Hat and gloves (plus spares)
- Fleece (plus spare)
- First aid kit
- Water/water bottle
- Walking boots
- Walking socks (3 pairs)
- High energy snacks and food
- Spare clothes