This is a great challenge which spans a total distance of about 26 miles with roughly 2500m of ascent all to be completed within 24 hours. The three peaks in question are Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales respectively.
On Thursday 8 July 1971, Joss Naylor (a legendary Cumbrian Fell Runner) completed the Three Peaks Challenge in a time of 11 hours and 56 minutes. His time started when he set foot on Ben Nevis and finished when he had completed the descent from Snowdon and included all the driving time. The record still stands. These days many people attempt the Three Peaks Challenge but for numerous reasons, the main one being speed limits, Naylor's record remains. That said, it is possible to complete the challenge within 24 hours and at Monkey Mountaineering our aim is to help you achieve this target.
Positioned just outside of Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, Ben Nevis is, at 1344m, the highest point in the UK. It is said that the first ascent of Ben Nevis was made by the Edinburgh botanist James Robertson and that on a clear day you can see as far as the Isle of Man. The route taken for the Three Peaks Challenge follows what is known as the Pony Track or, more comonly these days as the Mountain Track. This track was constructed in 1883 to allow meteorologists and supplies to travel to the summit observatory, built in the same year, and permanently manned until 1904. It is just over 5 miles from our start point at the Ben Nevis Inn to the summit via the Pony Track with an ascent of about 1250m. We take the same route back down and aim to do the walk in about 5 ½ hours.
Located in the heart of the Western Lake District, Scafell Pike is 366m lower than Ben Nevis but at 978m it is still the highest mountain in England. In 1919 Scafell Pike was donated to the National Trust by Lord Leconfield to honour the Lake District men who gave their lives in the First World War. There are no buildings at the top of Scafell Pike, just views! The Three Peaks Challenge route used by Monkey Mountaineering is the Hollow Stones route. This route starts from the National Trust car-park in Wasdale and follows the shortest route to the summit. It is about 6 miles in total and we aim to complete it in 4 hours.
At 1085m, Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales. Its location in the Snowdonia National Park and proximity to the North Wales coast means that on a good day, the views from the summit are fantastic. It is unclear when this mountain was first climbed but in 1896 a railway to the summit opened and the mountain was used for training by Edmund Hillary prior to his attempt on Everest. For the Three Peaks Challenge, we park at Pen y Pass and use the Pyg track to get to and from the summit. This route is about 7 miles in total with about 725m of climbing, the whole journey should take about 4 ½ hours.
Monkey Mountaineering's Approach.
Maximise Chances of Success
At Monkey Mountaineering we recognise the difficulties involved in completing this challenge, that's why we do everything we can to help you achieve your goal. To improve your chances of success our groups are never more than 8 people. Our professional, fully qualified, experienced and client focused guides will manage the whole trip to maximise your chances of success. We are good but we can't work miracles so we recommend that you do some training walks prior to attempting the challenge.
Minimise Environmental Impact
In keeping with our core values of sustainable adventure travel we take steps to ensure our impact on the environment is kept to a minimum. We always respect the environment we operate in and we plan all our Three Peaks events in line with the guidelines issued by the Three Peaks Partnership. Our group sizes are never more than 8. Our guides encourage responsible behaviour whilst on the mountain, keeping to paths and taking litter home. We keep noise to a minimum and try to use local facilities where possible.
Fancy taking on the challenge? Why not book your place on one of our trips!
Three Peaks Challenge Trips