Scott: Three Peaks 2018
The Three Peaks challenge is the most notorious challenge the UK has to offer – and understandably so. The journey leads you from the immensely dramatic Scottish Highlands, down to the tranquil hills of the Lake District, and into the final rocky and rugged surroundings of Snowdonia National Park. Being fortunate enough to embark on this challenge last summer, I will share what was learned from my experience along with some top tips for your success and optimal enjoyment.
First things first, this is an awesome challenge! I personally didn’t realise the UK had so much to offer and had areas of such diverse, outstanding beauty. Due to being in the UK though, I foolishly made the mistake of underestimating its difficulty. Having previously completed Kilimanjaro, I thought this would be a stroll in the park in comparison… it was not. Whilst you may not go to the same altitude, ascending and descending 3 mountains back-to-back, walking over 26 miles, and climbing over 3000m is a seriously tough task; especially on the minimal sleep you get in between the peaks on the minibuses.
In order to get the most out of this challenge, I would say the primary consideration is how you pack and what gear you take. Having appropriate trekking gear will not only make the challenge easier, but it’ll also make it more enjoyable and more comfortable. Below are my main recommendations after seeing how myself and the others coped on the peaks last year.
Walking boots are an ESSENTIAL to combat the different terrains and to protect your feet over the vast amount of mileage you cover. Make sure they are sufficiently worn-in beforehand!
Walking socks will help prevent rubbing, blistering and irritation. Bring spares and blister plasters just in case.
Backpacks specifically designed for outdoor adventure provide countless benefits - from unrestricted movement and ventilation, to comfort and organisation. A hiking rucksack makes it feel like you’re carrying less weight by seamlessly wrapping around your body through padded hip support straps. Also due to the unpredictable weather of the UK, it is good to have a waterproof bag to protect your belongings.
Several people complained of back pain early on in the trip when carrying regular rucksacks, so I’d recommend investing in a proper backpack. It’ll last you forever as well.
Walking poles are a great way to take some of the impact off your legs/knees, particularly on the descents.
Waterproofs are a must! The weather can change drastically from when you begin an ascent to when you finish, so be prepared for different weather conditions.
Headtorch – a necessity for Scafell Pike.
FOOD AND DRINK
Although some food is provided on the trip, carrying some high energy snacks with you definitely provides a boost when your body begins to fatigue.
Staying hydrated is imperative. Make sure you are regularly topping up your fluids and get plenty of water on board! A ‘hydration bladder’ is an easy way to sip on your water whilst on the move, without having to grab and open your bottle. Energy drinks can also help combat tiredness and get the engine going again.
The colour of your pee is a good indicator for your hydration levels.
You will be led by highly experienced, highly friendly and super professional guides on all three peaks. Trek at a pace you’re comfortable with - the guides will accommodate you according to your ability and will lead you at an appropriate pace to complete each peak in time.
Once you’ve completed each peak, stretch out to avoid cramping!
Whilst it may not be the most comfortable arrangement, getting some sleep between the peaks on the minibuses will recharge your batteries a little and prepare you for the climbs ahead. A travel pillow and blanket are highly advised!
Letting your feet breathe after a climb and taking your heavy boots off feels amazing. Flip flops / sliders are a great thing to slip on.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
Words of encouragement and comradery can be the difference in summiting and not. You’re all in the same boat - aching, tired and soldiering on. Pulling together as a team, both with your fellow uni students and new acquaintances will inevitably lead to the development of some amazing new friendships and the completion of the task at hand.
MY PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – SCAFELL PIKE SUNRISE!!
This moment right here, where you all take a moment to sit down and bask in the glory of the peaceful, panoramic surroundings of the Lake District is just the greatest moment that will stick with you forever. It is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the challenge, to reflect on your fundraising journey, to think of those people that donated and believed in you, and to think about what you’re doing. You’ve just travelled miles and miles to plough through the night, after minimal sleep and after summitting Scotland’s highest point, to now sit in the Lake District and watch the night turn to day with those amazing people beside you. Things don’t get much better than that.
Have any questions about your upcoming Three Peaks Challenge? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team via email at email@example.com