So you’ve done it! After a few drinks in the bar last night you said yes and now the morning after the night before, you have no idea what you’ve signed up for. Hopefully during the next few minutes we can answer some of those burning questions for you.
Just how hard is it?
The National Three Peaks is probably one of the tougher mountain challenges out there, not just because you have to climb the 3 highest peaks in the UK but also because the challenge includes the transfers in between.
You’ll basically live in a minibus for the weekend and when not on the minibus you’ll be on a mountain. Depending on your previous experience if any, you’ll find the challenge anything from Ok to the hardest thing you’ve ever done but unless you’re doing it this weekend you should have some time to prepare.
Put simply the more you prepare for this kind of event the more you’ll enjoy the experience, honest. You don’t need to be a marathon runner or triathlete to complete the challenge but a good level of fitness will make your life easier and ultimately mean you have a better more enjoyable experience.
For most each mountain will take between 4 – 6 hours to complete, at least half of that time will be spent walking uphill with limited rest breaks to avoid losing too much time. It is ok to have a short rest if you need it though, a minute here and there won’t matter too much.
After reaching each summit you’ll normally have a few pictures, a snack and start heading back down thinking about the next mountain to conquer. Once back in the car park you all bundle into the bus and set off for the next peak.
One of the hardest aspects for some is the sleep deprivation and the emotion that comes with being on the go for 24 hours or more. Think about the weekend as a whole.
Leave home Friday morning, travel for most of the day to Fort William in Highlands, try to get a good night’s sleep but a mixture of nerves and excitement keep you awake!
Saturday, after breakfast you’ll climb the UK’s highest mountain Ben Nevis, spend 6 hours in a minibus, climb England’s highest mountain Scafell Pike, by which time it’s your normal bedtime, a whole day has gone! Instead of going to bed you spend the next 5 hours heading to Wales and before sunrise start up Snowdon.
It’s Sunday by the way. Sleeping in a minibus isn’t easy for some and some consideration should be given as to how you will manage that part.
Yes it’s hard, yes it’s tiring and yes you will want more afterwards! In the words of a famous sporting brand………Just Do It!
Where to begin and end?
As your challenge will unlikely include pick up and drop off from your front door you will need to make arrangements to meet the minibus as well as work out how to get home after the final peak. With the mountains being more remotely situated public transport is not the easiest so we have done our best to help you out.
For joining the minibus ahead of your challenge we offer designated pick up points in Warrington, Manchester or Glasgow all with direct transport links to most of the major cities and towns in the UK. That way you should relatively easily be able to meet the bus.
Other locations can always be discussed once you have booked. For those living in the south flying to Glasgow is often the easiest and by far the quickest option and we’ll pick up from the airport. The flight from Heathrow for example is around an hour vs 4-5 hours by train and surprising flying is often cheaper.
Once you’ve boxed off Snowdon and the celebrations are complete you’ll be ready for a shower and a proper meal. Most people just want to get home and the best way to do this is normally by train. We offer standard drop offs at Chester, Warrington and Manchester stations with Chester being the best option for most.
When arriving at the station you’ll gather all your belongings and head to your train. Whilst snoozing as you head ever closer to home you’ll be dreaming of your next great adventure.
When to go?
By far the most popular time of year for the 3 peaks is June/July around the summer solstice as this time gives the most daylight hours and reduces the amount of time spent walking in the dark.
The season however starts at the end of April as winter starts to die out on Ben Nevis. Although there is likely to still be some snow on the highest slopes this is often passable, if not your guide would advise you accordingly.
The season generally runs into early October where the weather becomes wetter, more unpredictable and day light hours much shorter. Although some get perfect weather at this time of year it definitely is not guaranteed.
Regardless of when you choose to go the mountains of the United Kingdom can bring unpredictable weather with gale force winds in the height of summer and perfect blue skies with beautiful walking conditions late into November. As the saying goes, we can’t do anything about the weather but we can prepare for it.
To take on the National Three Peaks you don’t need any specialist kit and a full kit list is always provided on booking your place. You will almost certainly need walking boots, good waterproofs, hat and gloves, a head torch and the rest you will possibly already have.
Consider that you roughly lose 1 degree in temperature with every 100m climbed so if it’s 15 degrees in Fort William the temperature at the top of Ben Nevis is likely to be close to freezing.
Your kit is important as poor or inappropriate kit could mean the difference between a fun trip in poor conditions or 24 hours being soaked and miserable.
We have lots more frequently asked questions and a kit list here.
Who to go with?
This is often a difficult question and 1 not all groups consider before embarking on their challenge but it is important. Obviously if joining an Open event you will not know those attending until you meet them but to be honest some of these events have been the best.
People come motivated and not wanting to be the slowest in the group so there can be a silent element of competitiveness in the air. Along with getting to know one another all these things make for a great event. Our Open events have also been the source to life long friendships and even finding love.
If creating or putting together a group you should consider what your aim is. Do you want to just complete all the mountains as a group and if it is in 24 hours or less it’s a bonus or do you absolutely have to do it within 24 hours?
If the latter you need a group who train together, stay together and all have the same goals otherwise you can find the group trying to split on the mountain and frustrations developing within the group.
It is also difficult to know how people will react to sustained physical mountain activity if not trained on mountains previously or for long periods of time. For example even the fittest of people can struggle with the long descent of Ben Nevis
If it’s a corporate or team building event consider splitting your teams into expected fitness levels and attitudes. The main reason being, if you get it wrong the amazing team building event you have funded, planned and prepared for months could in fact have the opposite effect.
Here at Mountaineerin we offer a number of options for you to embark on your National 3 Peaks Challenge. Whether you are a solo traveller, in a couple, group or organising a corporate event we have an option for you.
Open 3 Peaks – These are National 3 Peaks events that follow our standard itinerary and include transport, B&B (normally twin room) and guide. These events are normally for solo travellers or small groups (couples, 3 people etc) who we will join with other like minded participants to form a group of up to 10 to take on the challenge together.
These events happen most weekends of the season and are a great opportunity to meet new people as well as achieving your goal and ticking off that bucket list.
You can see upcoming dates and availability and book here.
Prices for Open 3 Peaks are £330pp*
Private 3 Peaks – These National 3 Peaks events generally follow our standard itinerary but allow some flexibility to suite your groups needs. For a private challenge exclusively for your group we require a minimum booking of 6 people. The challenge will allow for changes to pick up locations, start times and B&B type. This is a great option if you want to take on the challenge with you office or a group of mates but need to amend the event to suit you specifically.
Prices for Private 3 Peaks events start from £330pp*
Daylight 3 Peaks – Short on time? We offer a daylight National 3 Peaks event which can be done in just 2 days. Arriving in Scotland on the Saturday morning you would start the challenge later that day and end on Snowdon on Sunday afternoon. This is a great option if taking a week day off work is simply not an option. Daylight 3 Peaks packages are available for private groups only and not as an open event.
Prices for Private Daylight 3 Peaks events start from £260pp*
3 Peaks in 3 Days – Don’t want to rush? Why not take the time on each of the mountains to enjoy the views and walk them in a slightly more leisurely pace. We offer the option for private 3 Peaks in 3 Days events where we complete 1 peak each day using B&B accommodation each evening for you to rest, relax and ready yourself for the next peak. This is a fantastic option if the 24 hour challenge doesn’t appeal and you want to spend a little longer in each location.
Prices for Private 3 Peaks in 3 Days events start from £450pp*
Private events can normally be arranged on a date of your choice. Please contact us and we will be glad to discuss your plans.
*Prices are correct as of February 2021
Don’t need a guide or a bus?
If you already have a guide or you already have access to a bus and drivers we are also well placed to simply provide an element of the support you and your team need. We regularly for example just provide minibuses and drivers for groups or just a leader. If you need support but not a complete package we can help regardless.
Regardless of your needs as one of the leading National 3 Peaks providers we will use our extensive knowledge and experience to ensure you get the most out of your challenge.
Join one of our open challenges or enquire about a private or corporate challenge.