Just how tough is the National Three Challenge?
The challenge involves climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in under 24 hours. That's twenty three miles of walking and 3,064m of ascent. We won't lie, it's quite a toughie but well within the capabilities of anyone who's willing to put the training in. Thousands successfully complete it each year so as long as you have a reasonable level of fitness with some hill walking experience under your belt you'll be fine.
It's a hiking challenge so you don't need any technical skills.
Think you've got what it takes? Our definitive article tells you all you need to know about the National Three Peaks challenge.
What size will the group be?
We operate an open bus - this allows us to keep costs as low as possible.
We can also provide custom packages for groups of 6 people or more. Get in touch if you'd like a quote.
If we book as a group, will it be just us on the minibus?
We can run multiple groups on each date. The size of the bus we use depends on the size of the group, but if there are only a few of you the cost might be more per person.
Where are the pick up and drop off points for the challenge?
Pick ups are:
- Liverpool South Parkway
- Glasgow International Airport - we can't collect from the train station but there's a fast, regular bus service between the airport and train station
Drop offs are:
Where are the collection points for the start of the challenge in Fort William?
We'll collect from two central points in Fort William;
The Travelodge, High Street - 8:05am
Fort William Train Station - 8:10am
We'll sort out collection times with you on the journey up from Glasgow.
How fit do I need to be for the National Three Peaks Challenge?
You'll need a good level of fitness for the National Three Peaks Challenge. You should be willing and able to walk the distances set out in the itinerary. You don't need to be a super experienced hiker, but some training in the months leading up to the challenge will be necessary. Check out our National Three Peaks Challenge training guide for some advice. This will be the biggest hike ever attempted for many on the trip. We'll be there to support you every step of the way.
How do I train for the National Three Peaks?
The better prepared you are the more likely you'll be to enjoy it! We'll give you some pointers once you've booked but hill walking, cycling and even swimming are all great activities to boost fitness and endurance.
Getting out into the hills so you get used to high ground and uneven terrain will pay dividends.
Check out our National Three Peaks training guide.
Can I still do the National Three Peaks with a medical condition?
Sure thing! We'll send you a health questionnaire before the trip so e can check how we can support you through the challenge.
Just give us a call if you'd like to discuss any extra support you feel you might need.
How fast will I need to walk?
The walking pace for the National 3 Peaks will be set by the guide so that the group is able to complete the challenge within the 24 hour time limit. This will typically be a moderate to fast walk.
Breaks will be minimal and simply a couple of minutes to to drink, have a quick snack or to have a breather, You'll need to be able to keep moving and eat on the go.
If you're finding it hard to keep up with the pace or you're struggling, the guide may need to discuss with you your options going forward.
To be clear, this is a challenge, not a leisurely walk! We also offer the Three Peaks in 3 days if you want to experience the mountains at a much less challenging pace.
Will I need to scramble or rock climb?
Paths are rocky and uneven and the summit of Scafell Pike is a bit of a boulder fest, but there's no actual climbing or scrambling needed.
What will I need to bring on the National Three Peaks Challenge?
We'll send out a full kit list on the day but well-worn in hiking boots, a decent rucksack with a rain cover, good waterproofs, basic first aid kit, lots of layers, water and snacks (energy bars, fruit etc) are a good starting point.
Can I bring my dog?
Unfortunately we can't accommodate dogs as much as we'd love to say we could due to the nature of the challenge.
Can dietary needs be accommodated?
The hotel can provide breakfast for a wide range of dietary needs and preferences - just let us know your needs and we'll make sure they can accommodate. Bring snacks with you for the mountains and the drive in between. You should find plenty of options at service stations too.
Can we leave things on the bus while we're hiking?
Yes - you'll be able to leave your clothes etc on the minibus while you're hiking so all you'll need to carry on the peaks is a day sack with the things you'll need for that climb.
What is the age range?
It always differs but the average is somewhere between 25 - 55 with a few either side. But remember age is just a number so this shouldn't be too much of a focus for you.
What's the best peak, Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike or Snowdon?
You tell us! When you're done, we'd love to hear what you thought of each one. Each present their own personal challenge. and with challenge comes reward! Ben Nevis is probably the most technical and gnarly of all three mountains, whereas Scafell Pike is trickier underfoot and has spectacular views of the rest of the Lake District (unless it's dark!). Snowdon is simply iconic and a lovely walk from start to finish.
Which route will we be taking up each mountain?
For Ben Nevis, we use the pony (tourist) zig zag path from the Visitor's Centre
For Scafell Pike, we use the path from Wasdale Head
For Snowdon we use the PYG track for the ascent (the minibus drops us at Pen y Pass car park) and the Llanberis path for the descent, finishing in Llanberis
Which mountain is the most difficult?
Again, this is a matter of opinion. Ben Nevis is first up and is a straightforward but lengthy climb.
The route up Scafell Pike is the shortest but is very steep with a bit of a boulder field near the summit. It's usually done at least partially in the dark.
Snowdon is long, but not particularly difficult. Remember you'll be sleep deprived and climbing it with tired muscles.
Are the numbers of people doing the National Three Peaks challenge damaging the paths?
The paths certainly get more eroded than the UK's lesser known mountains. You might be interested in knowing about the organisations that help preserve the mountain paths you'll be using. Donating to local community-led initiatives such as Fix the Fells (Lake District), Mend our Mountains (National) and the Nevis Landscape Partnership (Glen Nevis) would be a brilliant way to thank those responsible for maintaining the paths, as well as ensuring they remain intact for future generations. All challenges are also delivered within the guidelines of the 3 peaks partnership and Institute for Fundraising Guidelines.
This trip operates as a small group of no more than ten people, which leaves less of an impact and also increases your chance of completing the challenge.
Can you guarantee a drop-off time after the event?
Unfortunately we can't guarantee what time you'll be dropped off as this all depends on traffic conditions etc. We will do our best to keep to suggested times but we recommend buying an open ticket just in case.
Is there a minimum age for this trip?
Yes, all our trips are for people of 18 years of age and older.
How much time does it take to complete the challenge?
Part of the fun of the challenge for a lot of groups is to aim to complete it in 24 hours. Experts say you should leave:
- 5 hours for Ben Nevis
- 4 hours for Scafell Pike, from Wasdale Head
- 4 hours for Snowdon
- 10 hours for driving (we use a dedicated driver so neither you nor your guide are knackered upon arrival at the mountains)
These obviously change based on things like speed of the group, traffic and weather
What's the itinerary for the challenge?
10:30 Pick up from Liverpool South Parkway train station
15:00 Pick up Glasgow International Airport
15:30 Transfer to Fort William
20:00 Free evening
08:05 Collection from the Travelodge
08:10 Collection from the Train Station - transfer to Ben Nevis start point
08:15 Final preparation
08:30 Start challenge (Begin Ben Nevis)
11:30 Summit Ben Nevis
13:30 Transfer to Wasdale Head (includes a 45 minute driver rest stop. VOSA legal requirement)
20:30 Begin Scafell Pike ascent
23:00 Summit Scafell Pike
04:30 Begin Snowdon ascent
08:30 Complete challenge at Pen y pass
10:00 Transfer to Liverpool South Parkway to arrive by noon
Are the National Three Peaks harder than the Yorkshire Three Peaks?
Hmm, that's a toughie! The Yorkshire Three Peaks involves climbing three of Yorkshire's highest mountains - Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen y Ghent - in under 12 hours. It involves 24 miles of walking and 1,600m of ascent and unlike the National Three Peaks it's walked in one continuous route so you're on your feet all day.
The National Three Peaks involves a similar distance but a whopping 3,064m of ascent. You do get to rest between Mountains, but the sleep deprivation has an effect. Our money's on the National Three Peaks being the tougher challenge although the Yorkshire Three Peaks is ideal for training - take a peek at our Yorkshire Three Peaks trip.
How many mountain guides will be walking with us?
There'll be one guide per group of eight. This doesn't mean everyone has to turn back if there's a problem. Most drop outs happen nearer the bottom of the mountain and are mostly due to lack of fitness so can be managed fairly easily.
Do I get anything for completing the National Three Peaks?
Of course! A shiny medal will be presented to you after the challenge for serious bragging rights!
What insurance do I need? Is this trip insured?
Yes, our guiding partners are insured for all the activities they offer.
We'd advise you to also get some personal insurance to cover you for injury or any personal loss or damage.
Are discounts available for group bookings?
We don't offer further discounts as the price is already very competitive and great value for money.
How will we be transported between the peaks?
We use a bus with a dedicated driver for the whole challenge so you can concentrate on the physical stuff.
The total driving distance is 450 miles so you'll be on the bus for around ten hours, but don't worry - you'll have plenty of space to get comfy.
I'm travelling solo, is this a good option for me?
Absolutely! We created the National 3 Peaks Challenge trip so that like-minded people could group together without having to sort the long-winded logistics of who would do all the driving. More than half of our guests book on solo, it's one of the main reasons people choose to book with Call to Adventure. We have lots of people booking in 1s, 2s, and 3s so you'll be in good company. The guides are also great at ensuring everyone feels part of the team.
This is a really great opportunity to meet other mountain lovers and who knows, after the 24 hours you might have just bonded for life!