National 3 Peaks Challenge

Two days ago I completed the National 3 peaks challenge, it was the toughest thing I’ve ever done! So I thought I would write a blog to help those who are considering doing it or to compare notes with those who have already done it.

What is it?

For those who don’t know, the challenge consists of  climbing the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours. The peaks include Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, with a total distance approx 27 miles (44Km) and a total ascent of 9,800 feet (3,000m).

My experience

It was very hard, I would not recommend it to anyone who isn’t used to walking (especially up hill). Going up the peaks I was out of breath a lot and could feel my glutes and quadriceps burning (and I would normally consider myself physically fit!) Coming down was so much easier for me but still puts a lot of pressure on your feet and knees.

Me two guys and a dog decided to try this challenge all raising money for different charities. We started our challenge at 6.20pm at the bottom of Ben Nevis. At the top of it the darkness, the mist, and useless head torches lead us to getting lost; so it took a while until we found the right path. We completed this peak in 5 hours 10 minutes. We drove to Scafell Pike but hit traffic, including being stuck behind a slow moving tractor! We took a detour through Glasgow so it set us behind a little.

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Low visibility at Ben Nevis!

We got to Scafell Pike and got a good start, but near the summit one of the guys I was doing it with injured his knee badly.  So coming down, we did all we could to ease his pain and took it steady to make sure it wouldn’t get injured further. We managed to do it in 4 hours and 20 minutes. I enjoyed this peak the most, not sure why because it was alot steeper! It was stunning from the top though and the nice weather added to the enjoyment too.

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P1050064Summit of Scafell Pike

For our last peak we only realised until after we completed the challenge, that we started at the wrong point! There is the hard and easy route up Snowdon, the easiest being the longest obviously. However where we started we were at neither! We had to walk to our starting point! During this time I was walking with the dog, who pulled me along at the same time of misplacing my foot on a rock. This caused me to pull my hip and finding it painful to just stand on it. I stretched it out and just pushed through the pain. In the end we realised we did the easy route (which I was thankful for due to my hip!) We completed the challenge at 7.26pm. So even though we did it 1 hour and 6 minutes over our target, we were still happy with our accomplishment!

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Summit of Snowdon

 Advice to others

– Make sure you have done each peak once, get an idea of the routes and starting points before hand

– Where you have to climb a peak in the dark try to plan it where you feel the most confident e.g. If you know Ben Nevis more than the others then climb that as visibility is terrible!

– Stop and eat where you can or constantly drink sugary drinks

– take bright head lights!

– Use walking poles, it helped ease pressure off my hip and knees especially coming down

– You will get very warm especially where the weather is nice, so wear thin layers but keep waterproof clothing in your bag

– Train, train and train! I did a lot of training but I look back now and feel I should have done uphill running or uphill power walking to get me used to it

– I took off my sweaty clothes sat in a changing towel and quickly put on fresh clothing for the next peak, this was quicker, more hygienic and warmer than just sat in your wet clothes in the car!

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If you have any other thoughts, ideas or advice please comment!

Healthy regards,

Leigh x x x

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