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Cornwall Air Ambulance

UK 3 Peaks Challenge

  • Where?

    United Kingdom

  • Altitude

    1,344m

  • Duration

    4 days

  • Weather

  • Physical

    P2

  • Technical

    T2

  • P2 - Prolonged walking over varied terrain. There may be uphills and downhills, so a good solid fitness is required. Expect to be able to do a 6 to 8 hour walk over undulating terrain with a few punchy uphill climbs carrying a pack up to 6kg in weight.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • T2 - Consider this a trek, although there may be occasion to use hands for short sections of easy scrambling. No previous climbing or trekking experience is necessary.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • Overview

  • Date & Prices

  • Pics & Vids

  • Itinerary

  • Kit List

  • FAQ's

Overview

Bag the ‘3 Peaks’ in 24 hours, climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, (Ben Nevis, 1344m) England (Scafell Pike, 978m) and Wales (Snowden / Yr Wyddfa, 1085m). You’ll get all the professional guidance you need for this 40km trek/2984m ascent challenge. We do the organisation, you do the adventure.

Despite its growing popularity, don’t underestimate the difficulty here – the itinerary is full-on. After travelling to Ben Nevis along the shores of Loch Lomond via Fort William for lunch and last-minute supplies, your 3 Peaks Challenge begins. Safety and kit checks sorted, it’s time for ‘Big Ben’. Rest at the summit, breath in the views, brisk but safe descent, then on to Wasdale Head, Lake District, birthplace of British climbing in the Lake District, for Scafell Pike. Ascent begins 4am by the light of headtorches. We’ll reach the top by sunrise for views over the Isle of Man and Scotland. Before the final challenge, we drive through some of most stunning scenery en route to Snowdonia. Climbing the Welsh giant is via the Pyg track with its classic Snowdon views.

To claim the three highest points of the UK in a day is some way to spend a long weekend. It’s demanding, tough, event-filled. But most of all, it’s rewarding.

Find out more
Cornwall Air Ambulance, UK 3 Peaks Challenge Cornwall Air Ambulance, UK 3 Peaks Challenge

Date & Prices

Departure & Return

Duration

Price (excl. flight)

Price (incl. flight)

Start: 07 September 2018
End: 10 September 2018

Price without flights:  TBC

Registration fee: £100
Then:
Minimum Sponsorship: £995
Or
Self Funded Balance: £350
Fundraising target: £495

07 September 2018

10 September 2018

4 days

TBC

N/A

Registration fee: £100
Then:
Minimum Sponsorship: £995
Or
Self Funded Balance: £350
Fundraising target: £495

Included

  • Dinner, Bed and Breakfast in Glasgow (1 night) and Bed and Breakfast at Snowdon (1 night) in 3* hotel
  • Minibus & dedicated driver
  • 360 Guides
  • First aid trained staff & mountain rescue team members with radio backup
  • Hot & cold drinks and snacks during the challenge
  • Light breakfast at Scafell
  • Hot expedition style meal after Ben Nevis

Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel to challenge meeting point in Glasgow and return from Snowdon
  • Dnner after finishing Snowdon
  • Personal drinks and extra snacks

Pics & Vids

Itinerary

DAY 1 : Arrive Glasgow

Today we will arrive in Glasgow and stay overnight in a hotel.

DAY 2 : Ben Nevis (1,344m)

We meet the leader in Glasgow from 9-10am and then head towards Fort Williams, a 3hr transfer.

We begin our 3 peak challenge with Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, standing at 1,344m with spectacular views as we trek into the sunset. The trek starts on the main path from Glen Nevis at approximately 3-4pm. The walk to the summit takes approximately 3hrs and involves 1,370m of ascent.

On summiting we will have the chance to enjoy the breath taking views of the Scottish Highlands. The walk back down should take approximately 2.5hrs. On descending Ben Nevis, we will join up with our awaiting minibus where we will be driven through the night towards the Lake District, a 6hr transfer. We will have a short break on route to pick up some snacks and fuel.

(Walking time: 5.5hrs, Transfer time: 9hrs)

DAY 3 : Scafell (978m), Snowdon (1,085m)

Our second summit of the 3 peaks challenge, Scafell Pike, is the highest mountain in England standing at 978m. The ascent begins at approximately 4.00am from Wasdale Head, a tranquil part of the Lake District, also known as the birth place of British climbing. The challenge here is trekking by the light of head touches.

Once on the summit of England’s highest mountain for sunrise we are rewarded with views stretching as far as Scotland and the Isle of Man. We soon begin our descent and our sights are fixed firmly on our last summit. The ascent and descent should take approximately 4.5hrs Once back at our vehicles it is time to relax as our driver transfers us to Snowdonia passing through some of the most stunning scenery in the UK. We will stop en-route for lunch.

Our final challenge takes on the highest mountain in Wales, Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, standing at 1085m. Snowdonia is unique for its bio-diversity of plants and wildlife and with breath taking views from the summit is a great end to the last of your 3 peaks. Our ascent route will be on the Pyg track which rewards us with those classic Snowdon views. The ascent should take approximately 2hrs, once on the summit we will have time for a photo and enjoy the views before starting our decent down the Llanberis Path.

Once down from Snowdon we will head off for a hot simple pub meal and stay overnight in a hotel.

(Walking time: 8hrs)

DAY 4 : Arrive home

Today we will arrive back home.

These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the challenge and what you will experience.

Kit List

Bags & Packs

Daysack

Approx. 30L capacity. Your day to day pack that you carry with your daily essentials, fitted with shoulder straps and importantly a waist belt

Dry stuffsacks

Nlon rolltop bags (or even just large plastic bags) that keep fresh clothing and other important items dry

Waterproof rucksack cover

To protect rucksack from rain

Headwear

Buff/Scarf

Essential for protection from the sun and dust

Sunglasses

Julbo is our preferred supplier

Wide brimmed hat

Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck

Warm headgear

This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head

Sunblock

Lip salve

Upper Body

Base layer

This is the layer closest to the skin and its principal function is to draw (wick) moisture and sweat away from the skin. You can also get thermal base layers for use at higher altitudes that provide an additional insulative layer while still drawing sweat during times of high exertion

Mid layer

These are typically lightweight microfleeces or similar technology that provide varying degrees of warmth and insulation without being overly bulky or heavy to pack

Gilet (optional)

Optional – A great low volume additional layer to keep your core warm, whether down, primaloft or fleece

Soft Shell (optional)

Optional – These should be windproof (not all are) and insulative. They are mostly made of soft polyester and sometimes resemble a neoprene finish which makes them very mobile and comfortable to wear. While offering a degree of weather repellence, they are not waterproof

Hard Shell

These jackets are thin, highly waterproof and windproof and worn over all other items of clothing. You’ll find these made of Gore-Tex or other proprietary waterproof yet breathable technology. Inexpensive hard shells that aren’t breathable will prevent evaporation, making you sweat intensely and are not recommended

Gloves

A light pair of polartec or thinsulate gloves

Lower Body

Shorts

If you don’t have zip-off trousers, but check the forecast before you leave

Trekking trousers

These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly after a shower and weigh little in your pack. Consider perhaps a pair with detachable lower legs as an alternative to shorts

Waterproof overtrousers

Like the jacket, an essential piece of kit to stay dry and should also be Goretex

Feet

3-4 season walking boots

Well worn in 3-4 season waterproof boots with mid to high ankle support

Trekking socks

If your feet get wet on the first peak, you’ll appreciate a dry pair on the next

Quantity: 3

Spare laces

Just in case

Trainers

To travel in and in the bus

Hydration

Water bottles / bladder

2L capacity either in a combination of bladder and Nalgene bottle or just Nalgene bottles

Water purification

Purification tablets are better than any other system.  Highly unlikely to be needed.  Always good to have in your bag

Toiletries

Alcohol gel

A must have for good camp hygiene

Medications

Personal first aid kit

Blister patches, plasters, antiseptic, painkillers; (see FAQ’s)

Personal medication

Keep this in your daysack

Misceallaneous

Camera

Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards

Head torch

Bring spare batteries

Trekking poles

These tend to be a personal preference but help with your stability and can dampen the pressure on the knees coming down hill

Penknife (optional)

Snacks

You will be fed very well but it’s worth bringing a small selection for the occasional boost. Energy gels and protein bars are not suitable

Ear plugs

For protection against the inevitable snorers!

Neck pillow

Or similar to help you sleep on the bus

Documentation

Travel insurance

Copy of own travel insurance details.  And relevant contact numbers.

We have a partnership with True Traveller and would recommend that you contact them when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. However, it is vital that you ensure that the insurance cover they offer is suitable for you, taking your personal circumstances (items to be insured, cancellation cover, medical history) into account. Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip.  To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

FAQ's

Food and Water

What food and drinks are included?

We include all drinking water and flasks of hot drinks will await you on your return to the minibus. We offer a light pasta meal on completion of Ben Nevis and bananas and porridge on completion of Scafell. Whilst there are some light snacks (biscuits etc) available in the minibuses you should bring a good selection of your favourite snacks to keep you fuelled on the mountain.

What do I need to eat to ensure I have enough energy for the challenge?

The following is a guide of what your leader will be consuming over the duration of the trip. if you are not, then you are likely to be not taking on enough: food=energy and fluids=hydration. Cramping is a sign of dehydration and lack of salts.

Have a large meal the day before your challenge and ensure you are well hydrated i.e. no real discoloration of urine which is sign of dehydration.

On the morning of the have a huge breakfast! Don’t be shy, get it down you as you’re walking not running! We also stop at a supermarket in Fort William for any snacks you may have forgotten.

Every 45-50 minutes have a snack whether it is an energy bar, flapjack, banana or a bag of crisps! If you start to feel dizzy/ weak this is a sign you’re not eating enough. Make sure you take food you enjoy eating as otherwise you will not eat enough of it. You will be burning a lot of calories and need to consume a lot to keep you fueled.

Health and Safety

What happens if I fall ill, can’t keep up or there is an emergency?

Our mountain leaders are well trained and experienced in managing situations on the hill should they need to get outside assistance for example ‘mountain rescue’ they all carry mobile phones and also radios for communication with the minibus drivers. The Mountain Leader will always keep the group together for maximum safety on each peak and set a sensible pace for all to achieve this challenge. However, if your struggling you must be honest with yourself and the leader remember the top of the mountain is only halfway!

Who will be leading the group?

We employ experienced and fully qualified Mountain Leaders to accompany and lead you. They are mountain first aid trained and have extensive experience in leading in the mountains and the three peaks challenge, your leader will be ultimately responsible for your safety on the mountain and the rest of the group. They will be carrying full safety equipment and mountain first aid kits with them.

You advocate taking a small first aid kit, what should it contain?

We advocate a little bit of self-help on the trek. If you have a blister developing for instance then please stop, take off your boot and treat it before it becomes a problem. Your own first aid kit should contain: a basic blister kit, rehydration sachets, plasters, high factor sun-protection, your own personal medication, and some basic pain relief (aspirin and Ibuprofen). Generally the best approach to take when packing your first aid kit is to include such basic medications as if you would on a family or personal holiday

Kit

What kit will I need on the mountain?

See the comprehensive kit list provided but remember that our seasons now are only determined by the temperature of the rain! You need clothing and equipment for all weathers. It is very possible to encounter sub-zero temperatures and near arctic conditions on Ben Nevis on Saturday, heavy rain and high winds during the night at Scafell Pike, then hot and dry conditions to finish with on Snowdon.

What type of footwear should I be wearing?

The choice of walking footwear is incredibly important and should not be decided on price alone. The terrain is uneven and can be very rough so it is vital that you use a pair of strong canvas or leather boots with good ankle support, not trekking trainers. Not only the boots but the socks that you wear are also very important and it is worth investing in some good pairs of socks. Avoid cotton, trekking or good quality sports socks are advised as are a thin wicking sock to wear underneath if your prone to blisters, these are designed to draw the moisture away from your feet. Wearing your boots and socks during your training period on and off the hills will inform you of whether they are suitable for the challenge.

What should I carry inside my daysack?

A daysack is worn at all times during the trek. The content of this is mandatory and should include: a fleece, waterproofs, warm hat and gloves, sun hat and sunscreen, sufficient water, snacks, camera equipment, personal medication, a head torch and spare batteries and a whistle.

How much should my daysack weigh? What size does that equate to?

Your daysack should weigh no more then 3 – 4 kg (without water) and a pack of around 30L capacity should more than suffice. This rucksack can be filled to brim with extra stuff and you can leave some of it in the minibus between mountains. It is important that this bag has an adjustable waist belt to transfer the weight of your daily load onto your hips and from here onto your legs so that your strongest muscles do most of the carrying.

The Challenge

How fit do I need to be for this challenge?

Training and a good level of walking fitness is definitely required. This is a tough challenge and physically and mentally draining, sleep deprivation plays a part here, affecting some people more than others. As much preparation and training you put in beforehand the better chance of success you have.

Trekking fitness is specific to trekking, but a general overall fitness is a good start. The ideal training for mountain walking is getting out there and actually walking in the hills. However, if you do not have the luxury of living in the hills or time to go out, then the stairs at home (or an office block of flats with lots of stairs) are a great place to start training.

Most training should be part of an ongoing lifestyle but if this is not the case then you should begin training 4-6 months prior to the challenge and gradually build up as suggested. Step training advice is given below. Remember to use the walking boots that you will be walking in after the first month of training to get them worn in.

The 360 training program has been devised to be expedition specific. Use these as a guide but also feel free to contact us for individual advice on how to best incorporate the best suitable fitness program with your own lifestyle.

 

Will I get to meet the other participants beforehand?

Cornwall Air Ambulance has a great network in Cornwall and they will be arranging training walks, social events, and a group Facebook page, meaning a genuine team spirit forms long before the trek itself.

What are the group sizes?

Our maximum size group is 10 per Mountain Leader and a minimum of 6.

The Weather

How hot or cold will it be?

The mountain weather in the U.K. can be very changeable, it can be glorious sunshine down at the base but be wet and windy on the summit. It is not uncommon for it to change from clear blues skies to rain and fog in moments. It is important to follow the advice we give and carry the correct kit.

Travel

How do we get to the start of the challenge?

Cornwall Air Ambulance will organise your transport to Glasgow either by train or coach. We’ll be spending the night in a hotel before your 360 guides meet you the next morning. From Glasgow we will travel by minibus to Ben Nevis and the start of the challenge – we aim to begin walking at around 2 in the afternoon to maximise our daylight hours.

How do we get back to Cornwall?

Our challenge finishes at the foot of Snowdon in Llanberis at around 3-4 in the afternoon, we will be whisked back to the Cornwall Air Ambulance base. You will need to organise your own transport to and from the CAA base.

How do we get between Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon?

360 will provide minibuses and drivers to transport you between the 3 Peaks so you can relax and catch up on some sleep, rehydrate and eat! There will be stops at service stations for comfort breaks, leg stretches and the opportunity to purchase more food.

Insurance

Do I need special insurance for this expedition?

You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the challenge. We cannot take you on the mountain without proof of insurance.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip.  To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however this can be arranged at a later date. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.

Finance

How much spending money should I bring?

Depends how many snacks and drinks you want to buy on the way! If you bring most of these with you then not that much or if you want buy everything en-route then you will need a bit more!

You will need money for your dinner for your night in Glasgow at the start of the challenge.

It was well organised, a great challenge and fun! The literate was clear and comprehensive and I fully knew what to expect.

June 2017
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