Monday, 14 June 2010

The National 3 Peaks Challenge - the facts

I thought whilst this info is fairly fresh in my mind (moreso that I've got it all to hand), that I'd note down the facts for ease of reference for next time (hmm?).

The national 3 peaks are made up of the highest mountains in Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell Pike) and Wales (Snowdon). The challenge needs to be completed in 24 hours for it to be a success.

Ben Nevis is generally the first peak to walk and it stands at 1344 metres. The ascent of Ben Nevis is 1325 metres from the hostel (which stands at about 20 metres above sea level). The distance from the hostel to the summit of Ben Nevis is around 4.75 miles. Ben Nevis has snow on the summit well into the summer months due to its altitude so it is important to be careful when on the top. The maps for Ben Nevis are 41 (OS Landranger) and 392 (OS Explorer).

Scafell Pike is the always the second mountain to complete and is 977 metres high. At this height it is the smallest of three mountains and involves a climb of 913 metres. The shortest walk is from Wasdale Head rather than Seathwaite. This does involve a touch of a longer drive but you are able to make the time back on the walk. This route is 2.5 miles from the base to summit. OS Landranger 90 or OS Explorer OL4 and OL6 cover Scafell Pike.

The last mountain to walk is Snowdon, which is reputed to be the most climbed mountain in the UK. It is 1085 metres high but due to the height at which you start it is only 725 metres of ascent. The miners path is a length of around 4 miles from the car park to the summit. The maps for Snowdon are OS Explorer OL17 and OS Landranger 115.

The driving distance is around 265 miles from Ben Nevis to Wasdale Head (base of Scafell Pike) and is 215 miles from Wasdale Head to Pen y Pass (the starting point for the Snowdon walk), being a total of 480 miles.

A typical schedule generally runs as follows;

4:00pm - Touch water at Loch Linnhe - Fort William
4:30pm - Start at the base of Ben Nevis
6:45pm - Summit Ben Nevis
8:30pm - Be back off Ben Nevis
2:00am - Start at the base of Scafell Pike
4:45am - Summit Scafell Pike
6:15am - Back at the base of Scafell Pike
12:30pm - Start at the base of Snowdon
2:30pm - Summit Snowdon
3:30pm - Back at the base of Snowdon
4:00pm - Touch the water at Caernarfon

It is best to attempt the national 3 peaks as close to the 21st June (longest day) as possible to maximise your daylight hours.

It is essential also to be quiet when you're in the vicinity of Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike as these are residential areas and the locals, understandably get a touch hacked off with noise of cars and challengers at anti social hours.

Try to get a driver in order that you can all rest as much as you can - you will need it.


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