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Three Peaks of Great Britain

42 km / 26 miles

Cumbria, Gwynedd, Highland
A challenge which is not truly in keeping with other walks/challenges in this directory and included to draw attention to relevant matters. Over 30,000 people are estimated to attempt the challenge annually and while it has a role in charity fundraising and introducing new people to endurance events in the British mountains, it can have adverse environmental and other impacts when undertaken by large numbers of participants, especially to the residents in the affected areas. It has risks for vehicle occupants when travelling between the peak bases.

It is a misnomer that the challenge of climbing the highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales, Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon respectively, has to be completed within 24 hours. Heed should always be taken of the inconvenience often caused to the residents in the affected areas and of the real dangers for vehicle occupants when travelling between the peak bases. Useful guidance is offered by several bodies to help minimise the imapct of these events and organisers are recommended to read the advice before starting their planning.

A new addition to these advsing bodies, providing a comprehensive set of guidelines, is the Three Peaks Partnership (first link below, that exists to protect the stunning landscapes that are home to the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales: Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon. Established in 2013 and consisting of the organisations and charities responsible for the management of these mountains, the Three Peaks Partnership aims to provide the help and information needed to ensure people who undertake the Three Peaks Challenge do so in a way that these iconic mountains can be enjoyed for centuries to come and beyond. It also asks groups with over 10 participants to register with it. As access rights in Scotland differ from the rest of the UK organisers must also complete a separate registration form for Ben Nevis. The Partnership consists of representatives from Snowdonia National Park Authority, The Lake District National Park, The National Trust, The British Mountaineering Council, The John Muir Trust, Highlife and The Nevis Landscape Partnership.

The Institute of Fundraising provides guidelines for fundraising events which may be viewed on their website below (second link). There is more specific guidance for this challenge in its publication 'Outdoor UK Challenge Events, including the Three Peaks' (third link). Organisers may find the LDWA's Guidelines for Events booklet useful (fourth weblink below and sold from this website and also viewable in the Useful Information/Library tab on this website). If the event is likely to include young people, the AALA regulations may apply depending on the nature of the event and details are on the HSE link (fourth link). In 2013 the AALA's role was being reviewed but the Regulations were still in force.

The other listed publications provide details of suggested routes to the mountain tops as well as routes between them by public transport or by road, and safety advice, and are appropriate for individual walkers attempting the challenge.

The listed start points are intended for indivduals using the Youth Hostels. Event organisers are asked to use the Visitor Centre at Glen Nevis and are advised parking is difficult at Pen-y-Pass and waiting may not be possible, while Wasdale Green should not be used for Scafell Pike.


Path Type
Other Paths
Very Challenging; Moorland; Mountain
NN128718 - Car Park, Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, Highland
View on StreetMap
SH647556 - Car Park, Pen-y-pass Youth Hostel, Gwynedd
View on StreetMap

Publications, Badges and Certificates:

National 3 Peaks Walk (5th Edition) (Challenge Publications - 2016)
Badge & Certificate
National 3 Peaks: Taking Up the Challenge (Discovery Walking Guides Ltd - 2012 2nd edition)
The challenge manual : a three peaks challenge guide (Wildernet Digital Publishing - 1997)

Click to show 2 more Publications, Badges and Certificates


Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger
OS Landranger Active
OS Explorer
OS Explorer Active
Other Paper Maps:
A-Z Adventure Atlas
National Three Peaks Adventure Atlas (Geographers' A-Z Map Company - 2015)

Connected Paths:

Anytime Challenges