ULTIMATE 3 PEAKS CHALLENGE
The Ultimate 3 Peaks consists of scaling the three highest mountains in each of the national regions: Ben Nevis in Scotland (1344m), Scafell Pike in England (978m) and Snowdon in Wales (1085m). However, rather than increasing your carbon boot print you need to cycle between the mountains instead of driving. This radicalises the usual 3 Peaks Challenge into the ultimate duathlon (an event with running / cycling) test: 450 miles of cycling and 24 miles of steep hiking.
The Three Peaks Challenge has had some stick over the years due to its environmental impact. The first issue is the amount of diesel burned. Secondly, when you’re flooring your accelerator pedal trying to shave minutes off your time, you are not contributing to the local communities.
This is not the case seated on your bicycle. Accommodation will need to be sorted, bacon butties will need to be eaten and bicycle shops visited (possibly). The local community will love you! Not only that, you’ll be exploring the best cycling roads that Britain has to offer. Cycling into one of our national parks, then scaling its highest mountain has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.
Going from North to South is advised – when looking at a map – that’s downhill, right?! The bigger days are in Scotland and saving the legs for the English and Welsh sections of this workout is recommended. The current record for the Ultimate 3 Peaks is an unfathomable 37 hours and 33 minutes set by Ross Malpass solo and without drafting!! So rather than going like the clappers and burning yourself out, here’s a suggested itinerary for a more leisurely 7 days….
Day 1: Arrive Fort William; Climb Ben Nevis (Hike 11 miles); Cycle to Fort William (Cycle 3 miles)
Day 2: Cycle Fort William to Paisley (Cycle 102 miles) The route heads south to the magnificent Glencoe, through Rannoch moor, then along the glorious banks of Loch Lomond.
Day 3: Day 3: Cycle Paisley to Gretna (Cycle 93 miles)
Day 4: Cycle Gretna to Seathwaite (Cycle 57 miles); Climb Scafell Pike (Hike 10 miles); Cycle to Keswick (Cycle 9 miles) Scotland is left behind as you cycle south into England and on to the stunning scenery of the Lake District.
Day 5: Cycle Keswick to Warrington (Cycle 104 miles)
Day 6: Cycle Warrington to Betws y Coed (Cycle 79 miles)
Day 7: Cycle Betws y Coed to Pen y Pass (Cycle 11 miles); Climb Snowdon (Hike 7 miles); Cycle to Betws y Coed (Cycle 11 miles – all downhill 🙂 You’ve just completed one of the toughest challenges in the UK – superb effort. Challenge Complete!!
- 28 miles of hiking
- 450 miles cycling
- 3064 metres of height gain hiking
- 6500 metres of height gain cycling
- Total calories burnt – loads!!!
This is a monumental challenge and one of the toughest in the UK. You could add a swim in each country and turn it into the ultimate triathlon……..