Organising Your Three Peaks Challenge

When considering the Three Peaks Challenge, organisation is very important. You need to think about what you're taking on, as it is quite a big job if you want to do it properly.

A lot of people don't really know where to start, so this page is designed to clear your mind, the show you exactly what you need to sort out. There are five factors that require organisation:

  • Team
  • Health and Fitness
  • Equipment
  • Transport
  • Accommodation

These are given in approximate order for the majority of circumstances, although some situations may vary. This is not the order of importance, as all factors are absolutely neccessary, but simply the natural order in which to proceed.

Team

First, you need to finalise your group members. Ideally four to eight people, then you can fit in one or two cars, or a minibus. The Three Peaks isn't about huge coach loads of people taking over the popular walking routes for the weekend.

Try and get your group members to confirm early on, otherwise you're bound to have a few dropouts.

Health and Fitness

To enjoy the Three Peaks, you need to be fitter than most. For some, this'll mean continuing a steady, regular fitness routine, but for others this may mean some quite large changes.

Do just half an hour a day, gradually stepping it up until you can run a mile or two. In the actual challenge you shouldn't need to do any running, but you'll be doing a lot of walking.

We'd also recommend a few outings to a National Park. Your closest one probably isn't too far away, and this will let you really experience what you're going to be doing on the day. If possible go to one or all of the mountains involved in the challenge, so that you can practice the routes that you'll be taking on the day, and get used to the surrounding area. You don't want to get lost on the way to the last mountain.

Equipment

Some essential equipment is required in order to realistically attempt the Three Peaks Challenge. First, each group member should have their own maps, and be able to read and navigate using these maps.

The maps required are:

National Three Peaks maps

Each group member will each need:

To carry with you:

  • Small backpack
  • Headtorch
  • Batteries
  • Tissue paper
  • Mobile phone
  • Two-way radio*
  • First Aid Kit
  • Thermal Blanket

Optional:

  • Walking poles
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • GPS

Navigation:

  • Three maps with routes marked
  • Compass
  • Pencil

Clothing:

  • Walking boots
  • Three pairs of walking socks
  • Suitable walking set
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

Car:

  • Car jack & spare tyre
  • Emergency battery charger
  • Kit bag
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camping stove, kettle & saucepan
  • Comfortable clothes for afterwards

* Mobile phones cannot and should not be relied on for communication in mountainous areas. Reception is unreliable and unpredictable.

Transport

To attempt the Three Peaks Challenge safely, you need at least one driver for each vehicle. It is not advisable to attempt the challenge and drive yourself. Your driver needs to be willing to wait for long periods of time, and could also help the team out by preparing food for the returning team.

Accommodation

For the Three Peaks Challenge, you need somewhere to stay at the beginning and end of your challenge. You'll certainly be too tired to travel very far, so you'll want to find somewhere close by. To help you choose where you stay, we have a special Three Peaks Accommodation  page.

Only plan to camp if you really are prepared to set your tent up after 14 hours of exertion, and no good sleep for 24 hours. This is a valid option though - if you were to wild camp, there would be no expense and with the right equipment you would be perfectly comfortable. If you are thinking of wild camping, be sure to research the correct way to do this yourself.

Food

Food is worth planning well. Ideally you don't want to eat junk food from service stations - it'll cost loads more, and it's not going to give you as much long lasting energy as some healthy snacks. Go for wholegrain and wholemeal foods, as these carbohydrates provide energy for longer.

Let Others Know

Once you know your driving route and the paths you'll be walking, you'll be able to figure out an approximate time scale - once you know your arrival and departure times for each mountain, make a couple of copies to give to a family member of friend who won't be coming.