The National Three Peaks Challenge Doesn’t Have to be a Beast

Ben Nevis

Alpenwild’s Best of Britain Tour offers guests the opportunity to hike the beautiful landscapes of Great Britain and along the way, complete the National Three Peaks Challenge. Every year, about 30,000 Brits take on the National Three Peak Challenge, which refers to climbing the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales. Those peaks are:

  • Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Scotland (4,413 ft/1,344m)
  • Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales (3,560 ft/1,085m)
  • Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England (3,209 ft/978m)

There are various ways to slice and dice this challenge, but the ultimate test is climbing all three peaks within 24 hours. Surprisingly, about 40% of those who take on the National Three Peaks Challenge, do it within 24 hours. Most hikers are satisfied climbing the three peaks within three days—serious peak bagging to be sure, but still very doable by the average hiker. Many more chose to conquer the peaks non-sequentially, over the course of a summer.

Three Peaks in 24 Hours

The secret to climbing the three peaks in 24 hours boils down to logistics and support. Driving distance from Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike to Snowdon is 450 miles, and that takes about 10 hours to drive—leaving 14 hours for the three climbs. So having a dedicated driver is essential and allows the hikers to sleep while being transported from trailhead to trailhead. There are tour operators such as Mountaineerin whose Three Peaks Challenge trips include a driver, transportation, and guide. It’s well organized so that you’ll have your best chance of achieving your goal.

The total walking distance is 23 miles (37km) and the total ascent is 10,052 ft (3,064m). Hikers normally start with Ben Nevis, then on to Scafell Pike, before completing the challenge on Snowdon. Climbing these peaks doesn’t require any mountaineering experience. There are a few rocky steps, but nothing that could even be called a climb or a scramble. On a guided trip, the guide sets the pace to ensure that participants can complete the ascents in the allotted time.

There is nothing leisurely about the pace. It’s a moderate to fast walk. You’ll never stop for more than a couple minutes to drink, have a quick snack, or catch your breath. If you’re struggling and falling behind the pace, the guide may need to discuss how this can be managed going forward. It’s a tough physical and mental challenge, but one that can be achieved by a reasonably fit hiker with some trekking experience.

Three Peaks in Three Days

If you’re up for the challenge, but want to take a more leisurely, less grueling pace, try the Three Peaks over 3 days., offered as a package by the same outfitters who do the Three Peaks in 24 hours. You can accomplish this on your own or with a group of friends.  You’ll be able to hike during the day, enjoy the views, then drive to a hotel or inn for a celebratory meal and a good night’s rest before ascending the next peak. You’ll have the same amount of hiking and driving as the Three Peaks in 24 Hours, but spread out over three days, or about 8 hours per day of hiking and driving.

Three Peaks, Leisurely, and With a Touch of Luxury

For many hikers the most enjoyable way to experience the adventure and accomplishment of climbing the highest peaks in England, Scotland, and Wales is on an extended guided tour. On an Alpenwild Best of Britain tour,  you will be able to summit the three peaks of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon. In addition, you’ll also enjoy hikes in three of Britain’s choicest national parks—Lake District in England, Snowdonia in Wales—with a quick taste of Loch Lomond in Scotland. You’ll stay in carefully chosen 3- and 4-star hotel and country inns. Meals are included, so each day you’ll have a full English breakfast at the hotels. Lunch is often a picnic in a scenic outdoor setting, and dinner at the hotel or select restaurant.

Taking on the National Three Peaks Challenge is a great adventure and the highlight of a hiking and walking vacation in Great Britain. It commands bragging rights and rewards you with lifetime memories.

Greg Witt
Latest posts by Greg Witt (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter

Stay up to date on the latest Alpenwild news. You're free to opt out at any time.