How do you train and build fitness for the National Three Peaks.
I did two things to start with. The first was to start walking the mile and a half to work with weights in my rucksack so I could get used to walking with a pack.
The second was to study the routes, landscapes and terrain on Snowden, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis. There are loads of sites showing the routes up these mountains as part of the three peaks. Once I knew the routes I looked at them again in View Ranger and Komoot in satellite mode and then in google earth.
The idea was to understand the terrain so I could search for somewhere near me that could offer similar challenges.
I am based in Somerset and luckily I have the Quantock hills and Exmoor right on my doorstep.
I love walking on both and although they both have some challenging landscapes I could plot routes across it was not really the ideal terrain for getting used to mountain hikes.
The perfect location for training was fortunately only an hour and a half away. The horseshoe route incorporating Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons.
I love the Brecon's and the horseshoe route is perfect to train on. The start is a steep climb up from the car park which is used by people of all abilities but after reaching the summit of Pen Y Fan you loose most people and you are left with hikers and fell runners. The terrain is varied and challenging and at about 11 miles is a good test of endurance.
I did the horseshoe multiple times but the second time was a real eye opener into how harsh and hostile the mountains can be.
It started with the sun shining but it wasn't to last. The weather unexpectedly changed. Instead of walking on sunny mountain tops I ended up in a rain cloud and a gale. Driving rain and freezing cold conditions. Fortunately I was well prepared with waterproofs and gloves.
I did meet a couple also preparing for the Three Peaks who weren't so lucky. Jeans and a sweatshirt with no coats and had managed to walk about two and a half miles in the wrong direction. Fortunately I managed to point them in the right direction and walked them safely off the mountain.
I feel fortunate to have experienced harsh conditions as it has given me a greater respect for the mountains and how quickly conditions can change.
It did allow me to test out all my gear which was great. It is important to be able to test your equipment properly before taking on any hiking challenge.
I like to be prepared when hiking and it is always better to understand the uses and limitations of everything in your pack.
I must have walked hundreds of miles in preparation for the three peaks in all conditions and at various times of day.
Please join me again on my next post.