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Three Peaks of Great Britain

Cumbria, Gwynedd, Highland

42 km / 26 miles
A challenge which is not truly in keeping with other walks/challenges in this directory and included to draw attention to relevant matters. Over 30,000 people are estimated to attempt the challenge annually and while it has a role in charity fundraising and introducing new people to endurance events in the British mountains, it can have adverse environmental and other impacts when undertaken by large numbers of participants, especially to the residents in the affected areas. It has risks for vehicle occupants when travelling between the peak bases.

It is a misnomer that the challenge of climbing the highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales, Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon respectively, has to be completed within 24 hours. Heed should always be taken of the inconvenience often caused to the residents in the affected areas and of the real dangers for vehicle occupants when travelling between the peak bases. Useful guidance is offered by several bodies to help minimise the imapct of these events and organisers are recommended to read the advice before starting their planning.

A new addition to these advsing bodies, providing a comprehensive set of guidelines, is the Three Peaks Partnership (first link below) that exists to protect the stunning landscapes that are home to the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales: Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon. Established in 2013 and consisting of the organisations and charities responsible for the management of these mountains, the Three Peaks Partnership aims to provide the help and information needed to ensure people who undertake the Three Peaks Challenge do so in a way that these iconic mountains can be enjoyed for centuries to come and beyond. It also asks groups with over 10 participants to register with it. As access rights in Scotland differ from the rest of the UK organisers must also complete a separate registration form for Ben Nevis. The Partnership consists of representatives from Snowdonia National Park Authority, The Lake District National Park, The National Trust, The British Mountaineering Council, The John Muir Trust, Highlife and The Nevis Landscape Partnership.

The Institute of Fundraising provides guidelines for fundraising events which may be viewed on their website below (second link). There is more specific guidance for this challenge in its publication 'Outdoor UK Challenge Events, including the Three Peaks' (third link).

Organisers may find the LDWA's Guidelines for Events booklet useful (sold in this website's online shop and also viewable in the Library - both under the 'More' menu option).

If the event is likely to include young people, the AALA regulations may apply depending on the nature of the event and details are on the HSE link (fourth link).

The other listed publications provide details of suggested routes to the mountain tops as well as routes between them by public transport or by road, and safety advice, and are appropriate for individual walkers attempting the challenge.

The listed start points are intended for indivduals using the Youth Hostels. Event organisers are asked to use the Visitor Centre at Glen Nevis and are advised parking is difficult at Pen-y-Pass and waiting may not be possible, while Wasdale Green should not be used for Scafell Pike.


Path Type: Other Paths
Attributes: Very Challenging
Start: NN128718 - Car Park, Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, Highland View on StreetMap
Finish: SH647556 - Car Park, Pen-y-pass Youth Hostel, Gwynedd View on StreetMap
Web Sites: Three Peaks Partnership Institute of Fundraising Guidelines - Tips and guidance on the three peaks challenge and fundraising HSE - AALA Guidance Gofar - The Two 3s - The National and The Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Publications, Badges and Certificates:

Guidebook National 3 Peaks Walk (5th Edition)  (Cordee Ltd  - 2016 )
Guidebook National 3 Peaks: Taking Up the Challenge  (Discovery Walking Guides Ltd  - 2012 2nd edition )
Guidebook Three Peaks, Ten Tors : and other challenging walks in the UK  (Cicerone Press  - 2007 )
Guidebook Challenge manual : a three peaks challenge guide  (Wildernet  - 1997 )


Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger 41, 90, 115
OS Landranger Active 41, 90, 115
OS Explorer 4, 6, 17, 392
OS Explorer Active 4, 6, 17, 392
Other Paper Maps:
A-Z Adventure Series
National Three Peaks Adventure Atlas (Geographers' A-Z Map Company (an imprint of HarperCollins) - 2014)

Connected Paths:

Anytime Challenges

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