What is the Three Peaks Challenge?
QI’ve heard lots about the Three Peaks Challenge, but what is it? Irene Spall, Kenilworth
The typical Three Peaks Challenge is an attempt to climb the highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon respectively – in the space of 24 hours. It’s often run as an organised charity event, and also regularly tackled by independent groups, at any time of year.
The Challenge can raise large amounts of money for charity, and also gives many otherwise non-hillwalkers their first taste of the mountains.
However, it’s not without its detractors. Due to the distance between each mountain, it’s regarded by some as a driving challenge as much as anything. Organised charity groups usually have transport provided, while independent groups will have to rope somebody into chauffeuring, as the task of walking up the three peaks and driving between is a big task and, as fatigue sets in, far from safe.
Littering is another problem that Three Peaks groups are often accused of. As is often the case wherever large numbers of people are involved, the few spoil it for the many and crowding and nuisance parking in small mountain communities has become a problem on popular routes.
But perhaps the biggest drawback is that it’s just not the best way to enjoy these mountains. Participants are rushed, often exhausted and much of their journey will be in the dark. Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon are best enjoyed individually and at a leisurely pace: a day each, for instance. So, if you want to take on the Three Peaks for charity or simply the challenge, do it – but respectfully. If you want to see the mountains at their best, there is a better way. You can still pick up a copy of The complete guide to the 3 Peaks, priced at £6.99 at www.greatmagazines. co.uk/trail-specials