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How to start the National Three Peaks.

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

I guess the first place to start is how much do you want to spend. You can spend hundreds of pounds signing up to a company that organises the event, supplies a guide and provides you with all the information to complete the challenge.

Alternatively you can go it alone.

When I decided this was to be my first challenge and that I was going to organise it myself I knew the most important place to start was with the route.

I live in the west country and therefore I would be completing the route in reverse order starting with Snowdon in Wales and finishing with the highest mountain in Scotland.

I thought it made sense to drive the shorter distance to the start in Wales than drive ten hours to start in Scotland. I decided the driving would leave us fatigued before we started and that may hinder us later.

Once I had decided where to start I immediately searched the Internet for as much information as possible on the routes taken on each mountain and the walking times required to enable us to finish within 24 hrs.

The next item on the list was accommodation and transportation. I just needed an estimated cost for both to start with because I would need to sell the idea of the challenge to friends and that would be one off the first questions I would be asked.

The idea was to find three friends to join me so we could get away with a medium sized car. Finding three like minded individuals was easy and it turns out I could easily have tripled the number but at the time I was thinking smaller and with an estimated starting cost of seventy-six pounds excluding food and fuel things were going well.

So I now needed to book the accommodation, but first I needed to check on parking at Pen Y Pass. I already new parking could cause problems. We could park and catch the bus but that may ruin our time before we start. The only option was to park at the car park by the start of the Pyg track and to guarantee a parking space we would need to stay at the youth hostel.

That booked. I now looked to Scotland and bunks at either the Ben Nevis bunkhouse or the youth hostel. I decided on the Ben Nevis bunkhouse and inn at the bottom of the mountain giving us the opportunity to finish, collapse, drink beer and chat to everybody else completing Ben Nevis.

Accommodation all booked.

The next item on my list would be a vehicle. This was fairly easy to sort. I looked at a few companies but I would have to travel miles to collect so they were ruled out along with any that were restricting or penalising you for the number of miles.

In the end we got a vauxhall insignia from Hertz because of the leg room and the boot size. It was also decided we would go with two drivers and not a designated driver who would not be hiking.

Once the accommodation and transportation had been booked I needed to check the recommended kit required for the hikes.

I downloaded the kit list from the three peaks challenge website and sent it to all members of the group.

I will discuss training and gear in another post but it is important to look at timings. I mean the time you start each mountain, the time you may finish each and the time it will take to travel between each one.

It is important to consider when you will arrive and depart and try not to disturb the locals.

We decided to leave at 10.15am on the Pyg track which would take 4 hours according to the guide.

The drive from Pen Y Pass to Wasdale Head would take 4hrs 30 mins according to Google maps

Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head would also take 4 hrs according to the guide.

The journey from Wasdale Head to the Ben Nevis Inn would take 5 hrs 30 mins and then Ben Nevis would take 5 hrs to complete.

This would take 23 hrs on paper but we also added in 5 minutes at the start and 10 minutes at the end of each mountain to change cloths and prepare for the next journey and also try to replace lost calories.

I hope this is helpful and you join me for the next post.


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