The Nation Three Peaks challenge consists of climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon - the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales - in 24 hours. The total walking distance is around 23 miles, with a total ascent of 3,064 km. It’s a great mental and physical challenge to undertake, all whilst seeing some of the best scenery in the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District, and Snowdonia National Park.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, our team all made their way to the pick up point where we met our driver and guide for the next 24 hours. After the usual introductions we spent some time assembling all our gear into the van and jumped in before setting off. A few hours later we arrived at Fort William (the starting point of the challenge) and headed into the B&B where we would spend the night before starting the challenge in the morning. We had a Q & A with Damien (our guide), who talked us through the logistics and expectations of the challenge, afterwards we headed to the nearby supermarkets to top up on healthy snacks, and called it a night.
The Challenge Begins ...
Before meeting outside the B&B to begin our adventure, we fulled up with a big breakfast and made sure we had everything we needed to begin. It was a beautiful clear morning and after a pep talk from Damien we made our way up Ben Nevis. It took a while for everyone to adjust to the pace Damien set out, but once everyone adapted we made our way up to the peak in around 5 hours. The weather was very good to us and whilst summiting we passed by streams, waterfalls and lakes. When we arrived at the peak the views were phenomenal; unrivalled landscape stretching out for miles! We only had a brief moment to take it all in before we had to head back down to ensure we didn’t waste any time. Once we descended we jumped back into the mini van to refuel and have a for a nap whilst heading over to Scafell Pike. Unfortunately, on our journey there we were caught in stand still traffic for 5 hours due to a serious accident. Despite our frustration there was still lots of talking, laughter and venting so we managed to keep our morale throughout everything. In the end we ran out of time to reach Scafell Pike and instead made our way straight to Snowdonia National Park.
We arrived at the base of Mt Snowdon around 3 am in the morning, the tiredness had definitely set in but Damien done a great job at lifting our spirits. We were all feeling a bit defeated by having missed the opportunity to climb Scafell Pike, but we realised the challenge had become less intense and we could instead just make the most out of our last climb and enjoy the scenery without scrambling to reach the top. We began the climb in the pitch black with nothing but headlights attached to our heads to illuminate the path in front of us, after the first few hours climbing the sun broke through the horizon and we witnessed some of the most breathtaking views. Once we reached the top, the sky was completely clear and it felt as if we could reach out and touch the sun it seemed so close to us. Once we descended its fair to say everyone was compactly shattered and the journey back to the drop off point was very quiet as most people were passed out.
Though the challenge didn’t go as planned, we made some unforgettable memories and saw some of the best views of our lives. We all pushed ourselves mentally and physically and learned how capable we are at achieving something once we put our minds to it.