Walkers and hikers will face one the toughest outdoor tests of endurance in Britain with the National Three Peaks Challenge, which aims to conquer the highest mountains in England, Wales and Scotland within 24 hours.
For some this is the ultimate challenge, involving Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike, which must all be surmounted in just one day.
Scotland’s Ben Nevis is the highest of the three, and is rarely without snow at the summit. Scafell is the lowest – but arguably is the toughest of all, with its steep, unrelenting ascent which tests even the very fittest.
Completing the Three Peaks involves over 25 miles of walking and nearly 10,000 feet of climbing, and is a test of not only physical fitness, but mental toughness too. Sleep deprivation is a given – travelling from Ford William in Scotland to north Wales, taking in the Lake District en route, is something of a challenge by itself!
Many participants begin at Ben Nevis, preferring to conquer its 1,344 feet before tackling Scafell’s 978 feet and the 1,085 feet that awaits them in Snowdonia.
Ticking Off the Challenge
Huge amounts of money are raised every year through official sponsorship, although many walking enthusiasts simply complete the route in their own time, ‘ticking off’ the challenge for the sheer pleasure and exhilaration of taking part in one of the greatest trials of stamina in the UK.
Ben Nevis, at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Scottish Highlands, is home to the highest cliffs in the United Kingdom. Scafell Pike in Cumbria’s Lake District National Park hosts the highest altitude example of a summit boulder field in England, and Snowdon is known as ‘the busiest mountain in Britain,’ attracting countless thousands of visitors every year.
Just as when undertaking any long distance hiking trip, the secret of success for the Three Peaks Challenge is to be prepared….take layers of clothing to add or cast off as necessary.
What You Will Need
*If attempting the challenge in winter, an ice axe and crampons are essential
* *Never underestimate the difficulty of the Three Peaks Challenge….especially in low light conditions and poor weather
Nicki Williams writes for outdoor sports company Gear-Zone
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