Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon. In 24 hours. Sound easy to you?
The Three Peaks Challenge is definitely far from easy – but the venture is a perfect one for anyone wishing to test their fitness and endurance, or to feel the great sense of achievement that comes with the completion, or even to build stronger bonds of trust and friendship within groups.
To ensure that you stay safe and well in order to complete each peak - here are some handy Three Peaks tips that you may find useful.
Plan ahead - Get the right postcodes for your starting point to avoid extra stress. Getting lost before you start would be a nightmare! By choosing timings and routes you can plan which mountain to climb in the evening/night – which is sometimes inevitable – to do so safely and in a prepared manner. Importantly - use the most up-to-date maps and ensure everyone is able to read maps and navigate, in case the group is separated.
Chauffeur, anyone? Driving in-between walks is a huge no. You won’t be your most alert after a long day climbing – and you will need this time to rest up for the next mountain. Ensure you plan driving routes and parking to avoid stress. Take travel sickness tablets for the drive – just in case you feel car sick. Feeling sick will make it difficult to eat; something you must do to keep your energy up.
Be prepared for any weather – A common tip is to start off cold as you will get warmer. However this doesn’t mean to say you won’t get cold again throughout the journey! Carry extra layers as it can get cold at the summit – and there is always a change the weather will make a dramatic change.
Bring plenty of fuel - lots of high calorie snacks such as cereal bars and dried fruit/nuts are perfect for the cause. Eat little and often even if you don’t feel hungry – you will need the energy. It’s a great idea to bring sandwiches and pasta as they are high in carbohydrates, and slowly release energy.
Stay hydrated – This is incrementally important! You’ll need lots of water; at least 2 litres of water per mountain is recommended. Hydration packs are perfect as you won’t have to carry your water bottle by hand. Ensure your back pack is fitted with a water pack function.
Don’t overdo it – don’t ‘push on’ if the situation is unsafe. Admitting defeat can be really tough, but you need to be sensible. If you are hurt, the likelihood is it’s going to get harder the more you troop on. Remember that mountains are unpredictable and situations can change fast – especially where weather is concerned.
Let the slowest in the group to set the pace – this ensures everyone will keep up and stay as a group. For faster walkers, this could be seen as a tactic to preserve energy!
Buy decent walking boots – Boots are arguably the most important part of your kit. You need proper support on rocky terrain. Breathable and waterproof materials are ideal, so look out for those functions when purchasing. Break your boots in some months before you embark on the challenge to ensure they will not rub or cause pain. Blisters are one of the largest reasons why challengers fail The Three Peaks – don’t let that be you!
Practice is key – ensure you reach a good level of fitness before attempting the challenge. Familiarise yourself with the types of terrain you will face by going on long walks or by attempting one of the mountains beforehand to build stamina.
Photo credit: Henry & Jane