It’s a wet Monday morning here in North Wales, and a telephone enquiry about one of our training weekends has prompted me to write a post about preparing yourself for the National Three Peaks.

Now, if you are reading this then there is a good chance that you already know what the event in question is, but if you do not:

The “National Three Peaks Challenge” refers to an event where participants attempt to climb the highest mountains in England, Wales and Scotland (Scafell Pike, Snowdon and Ben Nevis respectively) one after another. Most attempt to climb all three within 24 hours (including driving time) but three-day challenges are becoming increasingly popular. The majority of ‘Three Peakers’ are putting themselves through all of this to raise money for charity.

For most people who attempt the challenge it’s one of their first experiences of hillwalking, often their first experience of doing anything like this outdoors.

A busy Ben Nevis summit, complete with ice in the middle of summer

But you know what? It’s tough. Really tough. You’ll be walking about 26miles over rough terrain, and ascending over 3,000m (nearly 10,000ft). If you are trying it in under 24 hours then chances are that you will be trying to snatch a bit of sleep at a time, sleeping in the back of the minibus and eating crap food. You’ll arrive at your final mountain tired, short tempered and with every muscle in your body aching (and probably a few minor injuries or blisters). Sound like fun? If this is your first experience of hillwalking then you’ll probably never want to see a mountain close-up every again…

Walkers descending Snowdon using the rail track

I know this, because I have worked as a leader on dozens of National Three Peaks trips. I’ve worked with everybody from experienced mountaineers who have climbed all over the world to clients who are leaving London for the first ever time. EVERYBODY struggles on the Three Peaks! If the weather is poor then things are even harder, and every year participants, often attempting the challenge in small groups with little preparation, require the services of volunteer Mountain Rescue teams. This, along with the anti-social behaviour of some groups at the foot of Scafell Pike and the wear-and-tear of the footpaths has led to fierce criticism of the challenge from some commentators.

I believe that you can attempt the challenge responsibly and safely, but you must prepare properly…

Improve your chances of success, enjoying the challenge and coming back for more!

Original Outdoors offers a dedicated Three Peaks Training Weekend  on a variety of dates through out the year. Obviously we cannot turn you into a world-class mountaineer in a weekend, but we can take you through the challenge stage by stage, offer advice on route planning, equipment choice and even nutrition and how to sleep en-route! All of this takes place ‘on the hill’ whilst tackling a variety of terrain in the mountains of Snowdonia. The course does not include any accommodation or travel, but we can advise  you on places to stay and arrange a meeting point for both days.

The course is just £100.00 per person. 


The syllabus includes:

  • Completion of 2 mountain routes of the type of terrain that you will experience on your challenge
  • Basic navigation
  • Equipment choices
  • Sleeping between mountains
  • Route choices and timings
  • Eating and hydration
  • Psychology and group dynamics
  • Fatigue and motivation

We also offer private bookings if you wish to arrange a training weekend just for your group, company or organisation. Please contact our offices on 01824 703 121 or

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