How do you organise a 3 Peaks challenge?

While we're discussing how to meet up at a race next year, I remember a few people (Swiss Bobby, Lamb etc) talking about a forum stab at the 3 Peaks next year. I'd be really keen to get this off the ground, but what do you have to do? I think Ironman did it this year - can we set up our own event, who officially acknowledges it was done in the requisite 24 hrs, is there a website?
I could 'host' the Sca Fell leg, ie reccy the route, set up tea stall at the bottom using willing friends etc.
Any thoughts?


  • Count me in! I could get the family organised to help at the Snowdon leg if it was in the school hols.
  • Good! I knew you'd be one of the first to sign up.
  • I'd be interested in whatever capacity was needed ie running, driving, butty making.
  • Can I register my interest please, having only just discovered Scafell Pike,I fancy doing the three peaks.
  • Um, put me down as a possible. I've already mucked up Mr Nessie's holidays this year by changing jobs, so it would be dependant on not clashing again.

    But I'll definately do Ben Nevis.
  • I am well up for it, Trail magazine had a list of challenges either this or last month & there was something about the three peaks, I'll dig it out & get some info, I doubt if I will be back on the forum after today till the weekend or next week but I'll let you know ASAP
  • Hi Laura,

    There are basically a number of ways of going about it:

    1. Go with an organised tour run by charities who have guides and provide drivers etc...
    2. Do it yourself
    3. Enter one of the "official" races (do it yourself but compete against other tams)

    I would definately recommend the second option. The only problem is that you do not have any official acknowledgement of your achievement. It is just a case of starting your stopwatch when you leave to climb Ben Nevis then stopping it after you have got off Snowdon (or vice versa). The only drawback of doing it yourself is completing the driving. Ideally a couple of designated drivers would be ideal, or you can share the driving especially if there are a lot of us doing it. A hired minibus (or two) would be easy and ideal transport

    The advantage of doing it yourself is that you can go at less busy times. We passed one of the organised tours (on the way down Ben Nevis) and there were zillions of them and it was just so crowded.

    I think we also have enough people who know the three peaks well enough to be comfortable leading those less experienced.


  • Ps: Forgot to say, it is great fun and I am definately up for doing it again

  • I'd be really interested in doing it. I have done it once before - starting at Snowdon - but it was a while ago. 'Fraid I don't know much about organising it as it was a crowd from work and was arranged by their Gym.
  • I'd be really interested in joining you as well, it's on my list of challenges for next year already!!

    Incidently the Wooden Spoon Society do a 4 peaks challenge which involves a mountain in Ireland as well Which to me sounds like a fantastic place to finish with all that Guiness about!!
  • Me me me me too please. I had planned to do it with one of the charities next year (it was my wife's suggestion - perhaps I should be worried by that). The dog stays home though.
  • I don't want to put the dampers on anything but if you do go ahead please look into the environmental issues. Recently the 3 peaks events have been causing major damage especially around the Sca Fell area. I'm also a keen mountaineer and on a recent trip the place looked awful. If you've got any questions I'll dig out a recent article I read about it and mail it to you.
  • Please count me in as its on the list of 'to dos'

    I think there was a feature in RW/RF recently about it,Time to leaf through the back issues......
  • OK, guess what I did last weekend....

    We did it ourselves (it was a party from my wife's workplace, I was drafted in as being reasonably fit and experienced in the mountains), two mini buses, six support crew, eleven walkers. Started at the bottom of Ben Nevis noon on saturday, got to the foot of Snowdon with twenty minutes to spare on sunday.

    We had good weather, a (fairly) fit and experienced team, excellent backup, no problems with traffic - and still only twenty minutes to spare. When it's described as a challenge they aren't joking.

    It was however a tremendous experience (not to mention raising about £6,000 for the Meningitis Trust), but does take an awful lot of organising. There were two other teams attempting it at the same time as us, neither of them completed within the deadline (in fact we think they didn't complete at all).

    So if people want to go for it, I'd probably be up for doing it again, and can also provide advice on what might be the best way to organise it (I can think of some things I'd do differently from the one we've just done already).

    This isn't, however, me volunteering to organise it! But I do have very recent experience of it which I'd be happy to share.
  • Thanks for the info, interest and experience.
    First, environmental impact. This is an important issue and one I take seriously living near the Lakes and seeing some of the damage from litter etc. So please do send me the article and I will also ask around locally, as I wouldn't want to contribute to this problem no matter how much fun it was.

    Ironman and Slowboy, your experience will be invaluable! Perhaps you could gather your thoughts and post/email them some time?

    It sounds like it would be a real challenge to complete; I'd be interested in whether you think a team of relative strangers could generate the necessary teamwork and support to make it happen or whether a core group needs to be formed who already know each other. Also what a realistic experience and fitness level would mean?

    I think next steps are reading up and talking to people who've done it, and look into the different options. I take Ironman's point about doing it on our own as opposed to a preorganised charity event. Partly because charities have different meanings for different people and avoiding crowds carries a lot of benefits.

    So anyone who wants to add their bit please do so over the next few months.

    Hopefully there may be the beginnings of some sort of plan formulated over the winter; I'm not a brilliant organiser but happy to start the ball rolling for now. And we can all start practising night-time navigation and walking briskly up and down hills!
  • OK, I'll pull my thoughts together and probably Email them to you direct (you started this thread so it looks like you've nominated yourself chief organiser!)

    Night time navigation - we had a beautifully clear night on Scafell Pike with a full moon - it was the best part of the whole trip.
  • Laura, as a Loonie Alpine runner I am definately up for this. Just need to sort out dates, when are you proposing to do this one?
  • Given that we are from all over the place, we seem to be wanting to do it on our own, and the organisation will be a bit of a nightmare, why not dispense with the 24 hour time limit. I think completing the 3 peaks in 36 or even 48 hours is still a pretty good achievement.

    Just a thought.
  • You could also combine it with a fair amount of beer drinking then, Nessie, which was notably absent from our attempt.
  • Re the environmental impact. I understand that there have been problems especially in mid summer when too many coaches (esp) and cars have arrived in the early hours at Borrowdale and Wasdale head (depending on route to be taken). This has inconvenienced local people who have been woken up by the traffic etc. and had to put up with congestion. Also there was a tale of the Wasdale Inn (or campsite?) running out of water - due to overzealous filling of water bottles.

    I thought that charities that do the event have produced a code of conduct which they agree to adhere to. However, don't know how to get hold of it.

    This was covered in walking mags a couple of years ago. Possibly since F&M things haven't taken off again and so it is less of a problem.
  • Just found

  • Have done the Three peaks Challenge twice now (2001, 17 hours 26 minutes and in 2002, 16 hours 48 minutes) as part of a team competing in an organised team event. The organisers have very strict rules and controls on safety (safety on the mountains and vehicle/driver safety) and on limiting environmental damage and disruption. Time penalties and possible disqualification apply if you don't follow the rules/guidelines the organisers set.

    If planned for and carried out properly it's an excellent event. There's something unreal about tumbling out of a minibus at 4:00 a.m. and flinging yourself up and down Scafell Pike (after a helter skelter ascent/descent of Ben Nevis and a bone rattling journey through the early hours).

    Good organisation is critical - if you get under 20 hours you're doing well. We far exceeded our own expectations our times included a compulsory 12 hours of drive time so there is nothing to be gained from breaking the speed limit.

    We split the team into two parts - a team of six runners and a support crew of three (one supporter for each pair of runners). One of the support crew takes responsibility for everything that happens off the mountains (road navigation, supplies of food and energy drinks etc). Two of the running team take charge of events on the mountain, navigation, split times etc. Once the challenge is underway, none of the runners does any driving.

    Strongly recommend taking part in an organised sub 24 hour team challenge - you could do it alone but if you're not racing against other teams, the challenge is likely to be somewhat lacking.

    Both times I did this was on a weekday in late June (fewer people than at weekends). Good luck to any one who does this. I know from my own experiences that it can be memorable.
  • Maybe I'd better butt out now. Less than 12 hours to get up and down all three mountains...doubt if I'll ever be that fit! Maybe I can serve tea. Or drive, provided somebody else navigates.
  • Look upon it as a 24 hour challenge and take the full 24 hours if you need to - the objective should be to complete the challenge safely and enjoyably. As I said, if you can break the 20 hour barrier you're doing really well.

    The times we achieved were in competition against other teams - on both events we had a mixed team (5 men plus 1 lady). We trained really hard - as part of our training we competed as a team in an off road marathon.

    What the challenge did for us (and what I'll always remember) is that we started out as six individuals (nine if you count our support crew) and finished a closely knit team. What the challenge teaches you is that as a team, each member working and contributing not for themselves but for the benefit of each other, there is no limit to what can be achieved.
  • Graham,

    So including the 12 hour drive time you did the three mountains in 4 hours and 48 mins!!! That is incredible, can't believe anyone can do that much faster. What were your split times for the mountains?

  • Inspiring Graham, and an amazing time too.
    Interesting logistical tips; I was wondering about safety as if you did it outside an organised trip at least 2 people would need to have good safety judgment in the hills. We already have a team doctor! (that's you Vrap, sorry, the tea making position is already taken,you'll just have to do the walking).

    Obviously you were doing it as a race; don't know whether others would prefer to compete against other teams or just against the 24 hr limit?
  • Just checked out Nick's link - which then has lots of links to other useful sites. One charity site has done 3 challenges in 2002 and most teams failed to complete within 24hrs. Not sprising if 12 hours is driving and you have to cover 41km and 2,709m climb.

    Now I definitely want to do it!
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