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Ben Nevis Panorama

Welcome to our National Three Peaks challenge home page. The National Three Peaks challenge is a demanding endurance challenge in which participants attempt to climb the highest mountains in each of Great Britain's three countries, Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales, all within a limited period of time, most often just 24 hours. However the challenge can be done over a slightly longer period to avoid night-time mountain ascents or descents.

If you are not sure what the Three Peaks Challenge involves, or are looking for a different challenge, then our mountain challenges page gives a short introduction to the National Three Peaks, the Yorkshire Three Peaks, the Welsh Three Peaks and some other famous UK mountain challenges with details of the record times etc.

This page is our main on-line information and planning resource for the National Three Peaks Challenge. To go straight to where you can select and buy our 'must have' three peaks maps and related products please click on Price List.  For advice by email or phone please contact us.

Three Peaks Challenge logo Available now and just for Christmas: special 2018 National Three Peaks challenge Team Package for only £19.95, with comprehensive planning information and detailed maps for independent challenge teams.  Full details of what's in this unique mountain challenge bundle are given below.

Scroll down this page for information on preparing for the challenge plus background, relevant news and topical links etc. There is quite a lot of info available!

About us: Beacon Maps was started in 2005 by enthusiasts who had enjoyed walking and climbing these iconic mountains and many of our other superb UK mountains for over 30 years, and they had learnt the value of good maps, good kit and good preparation. Like many other experienced hillwalkers they often bought maps, cut them down to make them easier to handle, put key route finding info and waypoints on the back and then waterproofed them!

Using this experience, and with help from professional guides and mountain rescue team members we started producing a range of custom designed compact weatherproof "mountain guide-maps" for UK mountains designed to make navigation and route finding "on the hill" as easy and reliable as possible. The first Beacon guide-map produced was for the challenging CMD arête route on Ben Nevis, quickly followed by the classic and very popular Snowdon Horseshoe circuit.

Today, with modern GPS enabled electronic devices commonplace, it is still essential for safety to have, and to be able to use, clear easy to handle weatherproof maps when on our mountains.

We are particularly proud that from the start we have worked closely with Harvey Maps based in Doune Scotland, and for maximum clarity all our mountain guide-maps use the award winning 1:25,000 Harvey Superwalker mapping especially designed for hill walkers and mountaineers.

In 2017 we continue to try to make these easy to read, weatherproof guide-maps the very best possible maps and route guides for use on the mountains - with or without GPS - and as an added bonus they offer useful cost savings over conventional topographical maps.

Experience teaches us that finding the right start of a route is important (obviously), but sometimes it is more difficult than we might expect. Also, once on the mountain there are other known points on most routes that can often lead to navigation errors, sort of navigation 'black spots,' so the guide-maps focus on these key aspects of route finding to provide mountain walkers with the information they most need.

Since 2008 Beacon Maps have been supplying individuals and teams with custom designed maps and support information to help them take on the National Three Peaks Challenge and other UK mountains in a way that is enjoyable and rewarding, but also responsible, sustainable and safe.

Beacon Maps now produce a unique range of high quality laminated mountain guide-maps and support material for the National Three Peaks Challenge and other UK mountains including a popular new set for the Welsh National Three Peaks. They are all carefully designed by experienced hill walkers who know the mountains well and understand the potential difficulties facing hill walkers at any time of the year.

As well as helping hundreds of individuals and small teams to prepare for the challenge we also supply high quality customised mountain guide-maps to several large fundraising charity organisations and mountain adventure groups undertaking UK mountain challenges.

The National Three Peaks Challenge is not just a demanding physical challenge, it's a mental challenge as well and success requires careful planning and preparation.  The challenge involves organisation, logistics, navigation, good driving skills, communication, training, team work and group catering.  On top of all that you need the right equipment, stamina, determination and a bit of good luck.

If you are planning to have a go at the National Three Peaks Challenge don't hesitate to give us a call. See also all the Preparing for the Challenge information lower down on this page - after the details of our mountain maps and route guides.


Three Peaks & other Mountain News

Weather conditions and day length

We are now have very short days in the UK and winter weather conditions on the mountains. Check the forecast carefully. Weather conditions and day length are crucial when hill walking at any time of the year, but especially now. When planning mountain walks in the UK we recommend checking the weather forecast from the Mountain Weather Information Service mwis and, if you are going to Scotland in winter or early spring, please check the snow conditions at www.sais.gov.uk.

Mount Hood is now officially the 'highest mountain in the UK' including the Overseas Territories.  Does the 'UK' now have a big new mountain challenge? Should we produce a British Overseas Territories Three Peaks Team Pack? - www.bbc.co.uk/news/science

The Lake District is given Unesco World Heritage Status - www.grough.co.uk/magazine

Walkers & climbers asked to leave route info before they set off - www.bbc.co.uk/news/

Ben Nevis height resurveyed at 1,344.527m - official 'map height' now 1,345m - BBC news story

Eighty years of the iconic OS 'Trig Pillar'  BBC news in pictures

More calls for Mountain Rescue in Scotland: Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team (who cover the Ben Nevis range) have experienced an exceptionally high number of call-outs recently. Weather is a factor of course, but more and more walkers are getting into difficulties because they are relying too much on smartphone Apps and GPS navigation devices for finding their way on high mountains. Frequently they don't have, or perhaps don't know how to use, the simple map and base-plate walkers compass that would get them out of navigation difficulties unaided - BBC Highlands Story

New Three Peaks Partnership website: www.threepeakspartnership.co.uk

See Danny Macaskill on the Black Cuillin of Skye - this is breathtaking: www.youtube.com

OS Locate is a iPhone & Android App that uses a smartphone's or tablet's built-in GPS location function to display your position in the UK (gives a six figure grid reference). Its an ideal simple App for use with our mountain guide-maps and Harvey Maps, as well as OS mapping of course. Needs a GPS and compass enabled smartphone.

Chris Bonington with Olympic torch on Snowdon

The Olympic torch taken to the top of Snowdon by Chris Bonington has been auctioned to help the charity Community Action Nepal (CAN) - full story. In May 2012 the Olympic flame was taken to the summit of Snowdon in a special lantern on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Then in near perfect weather conditions Sir Chris Bonington took the Olympic Torch up to the summit cairn where he was greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic walkers including most of the Beacon Maps team who had climbed the mountain that morning. Chris, looking fit and very happy, held the Olympic torch high in the air while standing on top of the highest trig point in Wales and England. See the original news story.

Two new marker cairns completed on Ben Nevis  www.grough.co.uk

Daily Telegraph story about cairns on Ben Nevis - we do not endorse or agree with all that is implied in this item about Ben Nevis, but we do agree that mountain walkers should not rely on cairns for route finding - use a map and compass. 

Warning not to rely on Smartphone apps - news story

A mountain rescuer makes a plea to charity and fun walkers: full story

Grid References on Snowdon - the National Park are trialling small blue plaques on Snowdonia's gates and stiles etc giving the six figure grid reference to aid location and help promote navigation skills. In some remote parts of Scotland they do a similar thing on roadside signs!  news story

3 Peaks Problems - unfortunately things sometimes go wrong on a mountain challenge and at busy times of the year the limited resources of the volunteer local mountain rescue teams can be really stretched - for reports of what happens on and around Scafell Pike see Wasdale MR.

Special Events - see outdoor shows for links to outdoor shows and events for mountain enthusiasts taking place in the UK throughout the year.

 


Three Peaks Maps and GPS Route Guides for 2018

Good weatherproof maps and a walker's compass together with the knowledge of how to use them are vital in tackling these mountains whatever the weather conditions.  GPS devices can be used to increase confidence, but not as replacements for a map and compass.  Safety and navigational accuracy is more important than just speed on this challenge.  This applies equally on the mountains and on the roads!

Three Peaks Challenge logo Available now to order: The 2018 National Three Peaks mountain challenge Team Pack, with comprehensive planning information and detailed maps for independent challenge teams.  Special discounts are available for larger teams requiring additional sets of mountain maps - full details of what's in the unique Team Pack bundle are given below.

Beacon Maps produce a set of three mountain route maps with GPS information that are ideal for those undertaking or supporting a Three Peaks Challenge, either as part of an organised event, or as a more individual challenge. This is called the TPC mountain guide-map set, or TPC set.  The handy sized, detailed maps and guides to Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon have a high quality finish which is weatherproof and durable.  They have been designed by experienced hill-walkers for use on the mountains, with or without GPS, and are designed to be easy as possible to use under the difficult conditions that may be encountered during a mountain challenge.

Our TPC mountain guide-map sets have now been used by Army and rescue service teams, scout groups, professionally organised challenge events and very many successful individual teams. See our customer comments page for what users have said.

We also produce a Challenge Team Information Pack, which includes the TPC mountain maps.  This is a bundle of information and maps for small to medium sized teams.  It contains a detailed practical guide to undertaking the challenge, useful tips for success, two TPC map sets for the climbers and information for support crew/drivers etc.  The challenge guide is revised frequently and the latest version now contains even more information about planning and undertaking the challenge, as well as information about the mountain route options, plus navigation, timing and safety issues.  The maps and guides make ideal gifts for hillwalkers, to see everything we have available see our Full Price List.   More info. below >>>

Three Peaks Challenge map Ben Nevis summit

3 Peaks Set Special Offers - The TPC (Three Peaks Challenge) mountain guide-map set is  £15.95, or  £27.50 for two, now includes our Challenge Top Tips guide and free UK post and packing.  Price List

The full Team Challenge Information Pack is £37.00. See below for details of the pack contents.

To order please phone or email us  - contact us

The guides can easily be slipped into a jacket pocket, eliminating the need for cumbersome map cases, making them ideal for Three Peaks challenge events.

They can be used with GPS and give key route finding information and 8 figure waypoints.

 

National Three Peaks Challenge Team Information Pack -  this regularly updated map and information bundle is ideal for small to medium sized teams who are undertaking the challenge independently, and want the best possible preparation .  Each Pack contains:-

Two complete sets of our unique challenge mountain maps in PVC wallets - each set comprises three weatherproof maps, one for each mountain route.  The preferred routes are highlighted on the map, and the reverse side has detailed route finding and safety information with GPS data. The main map scale is 1:25,000 (lower section of Snowdon's Llanberis route is at 1:50.000).

The latest Three Peaks Challenge Team Guide  -  nine pages of what some people have called "insider" information about the challenge designed to be used in conjunction with the mountain guide-maps and this website.

The original version of the Team Guide was described as "a most valuable document" and now we think its even better.

One set of flat laminated mountain guide-maps - these are ideal for team route planning before the event and for use by support crew/drivers on the day of the challenge (keep them in the car).

Plus our regularly updated "Top Tips" guide to a successful challenge (updated most months).

The information pack has been revised again recently with more helpful tips and advice, and we think it is now even more useful when preparing for the challenge.

The challenge Team Guide and the extra information sheets are not available separately, but they may be purchased for £3.75 if bought with one or more mountain guide-map sets.

The Team Pack includes suggested driving routes, but it does not contain any road maps.

The standard challenge mountain guide-map set covers our recommended route to Scafell Pike starting from Wasdale Head.  The alternative Scafell Pike route options starting from Seathwaite in Borrowdale are covered by a separate guide-map (17TP), which may be specified when ordering, or both options can be included for an extra £2.50.

If you are buying the Team Pack and are undecided on the starting point for Scafell Pike, or just want both options available, then maps for both Scafell Pike route options can be included in the bundle for a nominal additional cost of £4.00.

See the price list for all available options.  Details of all the routes covered are given in the table at the bottom of this page >>>

The Team Information Pack is £37 with free UK post and packing.

Currently the special Team Packs are available only directly from Beacon Maps.  If you would prefer a different package for your team (if you have more than about six walkers you may want additional maps for example), then please don't hesitate to ring or email us, and we will be pleased to offer advice if required and quote the best price we can for the map/information package you require.

Support Mountain Rescue and find yourself with a Where-wolf card!   Buy one of these simple credit card sized grid reference finders (Romers) to support Mountain Rescue and take the guess-work out of finding accurate grid references.  Just place the square grid over the map and read off the grid reference - they are ideal for GPS users and carry the official Mountain Rescue logo.   Available with 3 Peaks map sets (TPC sets or Team Packs) for £1.50 each, plus a donation of at least £1 to Mountain Rescue England and Wales (minimum price £2.50 each). Sorry, these are no longer available, but we know of a good alternative, please see the price list for details.

Harvey Maps Pocket Magnifier - a neat credit card sized magnifier that makes it easier to see fine detail on maps etc - £1.50 each.

SILVA Mk 4 Expedition Compasses  If you need a good compass for your next trip or mountain challenge we usually have a small quantity of these excellent  compasses available (this is the type we use on the hill ourselves) - please phone or email for availability and price.

Get mountain safety tips from the experts in Mountain Rescue  We have the latest version of the pocket sized Mountain Rescue Handbook in stock -  this is a handy, compact guide to safety on the hill, with very useful information and advice from Mountain Rescue team members.  As a special offer to help promote mountain safety awareness we are making these available to our customers for £9.99 each plus just £1 post and packing.  Order your copy now - more info.

To see all the map and related products we have available please see our Price List.


PREPARING FOR THE CHALLENGE

Careful planning, preparation and training is the key to success when attempting the National Three Peaks. Read as much as possible about the Challenge and study the guide-maps (and the Team Pack information if you have this) before the event.  Also have a look at our main links page for other useful sources of information.

We would recommend that a small team (say up to about six walkers) has at least two maps with them on the mountains for safety.   Larger groups will require more maps, both for safety and flexibility.  Our special Team Packs are ideal for small or medium sized teams preparing for the challenge. If you have any questions about the choice of mountain route, preparation, pre-event training, timings or use of GPS etc, please don't hesitate to give us a ring, we will help if we can.

For typical times for a 24 hour challenge attempt and the record for the fastest time see the timings page.

For three peaks challenge mountain navigation issues see Three Peaks challenge navigation problems.

If you are going to attempt the challenge in anything like 24 hours or 36 hours, then for your own safety, and the safety of other road users, you will need at least one, and ideally two, competent drivers/co-drivers who will not be undertaking any of the climbs.   Don't be tempted to allow the climbers to share the driving because they will be too fatigued to be safe on the road.

If you are looking for a professional guide to help with your challenge (for Scafell Pike for example) we have a short list of guides who may be able to help - please contact us for details.

REGISTERING FOR THE CHALLENGE

There is no official body overseeing the three peaks challenge and no official website that you need to register with, the challenge has just grown organically in the hill walking community and now attracts people from all walks of life.  However large groups should register their event with the people responsible for managing the mountain environment and the visitor facilities / car parking etc to prevent chaotic overcrowding caused by too many large events taking place at the same time.

If you are part of a small independent group of no more than about 10 then you don't need to register with anyone, but if you can it is wise to avoid the weekends around the end of June, early July, because this is a very busy time for the challenge.

The majority of people who complete the challenge each year do so in small independent self-guided teams. However many larger organised groups also undertake the challenge on a regular basis and they should register their events.

If you have a large group and your event is using the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre car park near Fort William (for Ben Nevis) then you should liaise and book with the manager of the Glen Nevis Vistor Centre. There is a Ben Nevis events calendar at www.bennevis.org/events-calendar. Large groups are asked to pay a charge to help maintain the facilities at the Vistor Centre. If you are organising a large group event it is a very good idea to liaise with the Visitor Centre well in advance.

Groups of more than about 10 - 20 walkers should also register their event with the Three Peaks Partnership at www.threepeakspartnership.co.uk. 

Large organised charity groups should also be following the special three peaks challenge code of conduct drawn up by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF), although this now appears to be a little out of date.  Further info is given below.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Each year considerable sums of money are raised for charities by people taking part in sponsored three peaks challenge charity events.   Our links page and a search of the internet  will reveal some of the many organisations involved.

The Links page contain lots of useful info. regarding the three peaks challenge and other resources for UK mountain goers.  If you would like to see other information added to this page then please let us know.

Three booklets are available (possibly more):- "The Challenge Manual" by Guy Newham, published in 1997 - "The National Three Peaks Walk," by Brian Smailes, published by Challenge Publications (revised in 2000) - and "Three Peaks, Ten Tors," by Ronald Turnbull, published by Cicerone in 2007. Bear in mind that some published information about the challenge can become out of date quite quickly.

There is also the regularly updated Beacon Maps Challenge Team Guide & Handbook. This brings together a lot of real world practical information which will help you to understand, plan and complete the challenge successfully. The Team Guide is part of our Team Pack, but it may be ordered separately.

WHEN & HOW TO DO IT

There are a several ways of getting involved with a Three Peaks Challenge. The three main ones are:-

1) Joining a organised sponsored charity event (usually requires sponsorship and an entrance fee)

2) Joining a professionally run and supported challenge or Open Event

3) Organising your own independent team event with a group of friends or colleagues etc. This is how most people now undertake the challenge.

Our links pages gives details of some of the organisations and charities that run challenge events on a regular basis.  They tend to get booked up fairly quickly so need to be booked well in advance.  The charities normally require a specified minimum sponsorship amount plus an entrance fee.

The Beacon Maps challenge web pages and our Team Packs aim to help independent groups who are organising their own Three Peaks Challenge, with or without assistance from professional guides, but nearly all the information and the special TPC guide-maps are equally of value to those taking part in an organised event - many of which we help to support.

Thousands take on the National Three Peaks Challenge each summer and many big groups take part at the peak times between mid June and early July, hence it is better to avoid these times if possible, especially at the weekends. The weather conditions are often more favourable in spring and again in late summer.

There is lots of information and an on-line diary of events for Ben Nevis (the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre) which includes Three Peak Challenge events at  www.bennevis.org  Large groups should book with the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre well in advance to avoid overcrowding and overwhelming the limited facilities.

A winter three peaks challenge is possible for properly equipped adventurous teams with adequate winter mountain experience and it is sometimes attempted in winter conditions over a three day period (or more), see Maximum Adventure on our Links Page for example visit site.

For a 24 hour challenge mid May to late September will normally give the best chance of success depending on weather conditions.  Remember that spring comes later in the Highlands than down south, and in May there may still be a fair amount of snow on the Ben. Old snow on the summit area is not normally a problem for confident walkers, but the Mountain Track can become very icy in early spring 'freeze - thaw' conditions requiring the use of ice axe and crampons.

It's worth bearing in mind that the Three Peaks do not have to be done in under 24 hours to make a worthwhile and demanding challenge.  They can be done in 36 hours, over two or three days, or over a longer period.  It can be a personal challenge, and if you wish you can set your own goals which avoid the more anti-social aspects of a 24 hour challenge.

For a very unusual Three Peaks charity challenge have a look at the unique Railway Children event which uses rail travel between the mountains and is completed in under 36 hours - last years successful event raised over £200,000, see www.railwaychildren.org.uk  If you are interested in taking part in the Railway Children challenge event yourself in 2018 have a look at our special railway children page.

Local Communities: If you are organising or taking part in an event please give consideration to the impact on communities around the three mountains.  This applies especially in the Lake District, where teams often arrive / depart at night and the facilities do not exist to cope with large numbers.  Please plan your itinerary to minimise disturbance at unsocial hours.

IoF Code of Conduct: In 2010 a new code of conduct, intended to reduce the problems caused by very large groups all doing the National Three Peaks Challenge at around the same time, was agreed by interested parties, including the land owners and the major fundraising charities represented by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF).

The code has been revised again since then, but it is not completely up to date.  Basically it asks large charity event organisers to register their events well in advance with the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre to avoid excessive overcrowding. Also it asks IoF members to avoid the most busy times for the challenge, i.e. Bank Holidays and the weekends around the longest day and, very importantly, to avoid disturbance to local communities at night (11PM to 5AM).

Another key point in the IoF code is that it asks event organisers to agree a fixed time for the driving part of the challenge (10 hours minimum) to eliminate any competitive element from the driving stages.

Parking at Wasdale Head: The car parking provision at Wasdale Head is changing in response to the high number of visitors (including many at night) and the resulting congestion at peak periods. Three Peakers are now being encouraged to park at the recently expanded National Trust (NT) car park just beyond the end of the lake at Brackenclose (now called the Lake Head car park) rather than on the Village Green at Wasdale Head.  The Brackenclose / Lake Head parking area is now open 24 hours a day and basic temporary loos have been installed (parking charges apply, but its still free for NT members). You can start your climb directly from here, its slightly shorter than from the Green, and it solves the problem we had in recent years with the night-time closure of the NT small pay and display car park.  Please remember that the parking fees help maintain this beautiful area that receives very little financial benefit from the popularity of the Three Peaks Challenge. Whatever you do, please be considerate, please avoid disturbance to the nearby camp site occupants at night, and please don't park in a way that obstructs the narrow road.

Also new is a  revised NT recommended night time route to follow immediately after leaving the Lake Head car park. The advice is, "If you’re climbing Scafell Pike from Lake Head during the early hours, please use the permissive path on the northern side of Lingmell gill to avoid Brackenclose climbing hut and disturbance to residents – turn left just after leaving the car park before the wooden bridge (GR NY 182 074)."  The traditional route shown on most maps passes very close to the Fell and Rock Climbing Club hut on the south side of the river (gill) at Brackenclose.

More information that helps small independent teams plan their challenge effectively, safely and responsibly is contained in the Beacon Maps 'Challenge Team Pack.'

Rubbish on the summits: litter on and around the popular summits is not a new problem, but it has been in the news again and Scafell Pike always appears to be badly affected. Thoughtless groups of Three Peakers are getting the blame for exacerbating the problem. Of course this is not a problem caused exclusively by people doing the Three Peaks challenge, but unfortunately some walkers doing the challenge are being far too careless about litter and causing a problem for everybody.

Discarded banana skins are a special problem because many people think they quickly degrade and rot away, unfortunately they don't in the cold conditions on the mountains and they can damage the sensitive and fragile mountain eco-systems.

At least one charity (Prostate Cancer Research Centre) is now taking a pro-active approach to the problem and is not only bringing all their own litter down, but is collecting and bringing down rubbish left by other groups.  If we all took just a few bits of litter from the summit(s) on our visits then the problem would begin to be solved - maybe it could become part of the Three Peaks challenge!   We would welcome your thoughts - please email us at info@beaconmaps.co.uk

Incidentally, back in September 2011 we had a trip to MacGillycuddy's Reeks (Carrauntoohil) in Ireland and we noticed that walkers there are expected to pick up any litter they find even if someone else had dropped it - it appears to work because there was remarkably little litter about.  If they can do it why can't we?

Adverse Publicity and Mountain Rescue:  The National Three Peaks Challenge has attracted a degree of negative publicity in recent years and one reason is because it has added to the increase in the number of calls for help passed to the volunteer Mountain Rescue Teams.

Hill walkers traditionally tended to be determinedly self reliant and built-up their mountain skills gradually over time.  In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of mountain rescue call-outs as far more people take to the higher peaks. This increase is to be expected and is due to the much increased popularity of mountain walking and easier access to the mountains. However a high proportion of calls for assistance are from walkers who are uninjured and otherwise fit, but have become lost or become benighted and they call for help because they are not equipped to deal with the situation they find themselves in, i.e. basically they need a guide to get them off the hill.  Understandably these incidents are regarded as avoidable, and whenever this sort of "guiding request" incident involves someone who is attempting the Three Peaks Challenge it adds to the negative publicity impact.

The Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team and the other local teams have already had to go to the assistance of several groups and individuals taking part in a Three Peaks challenge this year and incidents involving Three Peaks Challenge groups continue on a fairly regular basis throughout the summer months.  A high proportion of incidents that result in Mountain Rescue involvement stem from basic navigation errors, or problems with route finding in poor visibility.

For more info. about incidents on and around Scafell Pike look at the Wasdale MRT website where they give details of all their call-outs.

To help prevent these problems, teams should strive to be well prepared and self sufficient.  Do not rely on mobile phones (or Smartphones) for safety.  The volunteer Mountain Rescue teams are there for real emergencies of course, but please remember they are charities themselves (the teams in Scotland receive some government help) and are manned by dedicated unpaid volunteers, usually with full time day jobs.  They should not be expected to act as unpaid back-up for an ill prepared mountain challenge, even if it is raising money for another very worthy cause.

If you do need emergency assistance call 999 or 112 from any phone and ask for the police, stating which mountain area you are in to make sure you are put though to the correct control centre.  The Police will contact the local mountain rescue organisation.  Be ready to give as many details as possible about your exact location (give a grid reference if possible), your phone number(s), the number in the party, nature of injuries etc.

Once you have contacted the Police leave your phone on if using a mobile and try to stay in a good signal area, the Mountain Rescue Team will want to talk to you.  Follow their instructions. Unfortunately some payphones don't accept incoming calls.

If you subsequently manage to get safely off the hill without assistance please DO REMEMBER TO REPORT YOUR SAFE RETURN TO AVOID UNNECESSARY CALL OUTS - this is very important.

EQUIPMENT

Choosing the right footwear, clothing and other equipment for the challenge is obviously important, especially as you may have to cope with a wide range of conditions, and you will not have much recovery time between the mountains.  The Equipment page may be of help.  This is a general "three season" hill walking kit list, which is not aimed specifically at three peaks challenge events, but the same basic requirements still apply.

A good head torch (such as the Petzl zoom or a high power LED version) is essential for the Three Peaks challenge, and we would also recommend a small hand torch as back-up.

Mobile phones are very useful of course (use a re-sealable plastic bag or similar to protect it from rain), but they should not be relied on as a safety aid as the terrain will often block the signal.  Large groups (especially) should be using VHF radio for communication "on the hill."

Professional quality hand-held VHF radios may be hired if required and the hire will include the necessary radio licence. The links page gives at least one hire company.

Surprisingly, you may not get a reliable mobile phone signal near the summit of Scafell Pike.  There is some coverage lower down the mountain towards Wasdale and in Wasdale, but it is very patchy.  There is no coverage at all in Seathwaite.  Also, you will probably not get a mobile signal at Pen y Pass in Snowdonia, but you should get one just slightly higher up at the start of the Pyg Track.

The Vodafone network generally appears to give the best overall geographic coverage in the mountain areas, although Vodafone coverage in the Yorkshire Dales (Yorkshire Three Peaks) area appears to be particularly poor.  The Equipment page gives more information about mobile use.

In hot weather dehydration can be a serious problem, especially because of the prolonged effort required to complete the challenge, so it is vital to take plenty of fluids with you on the mountains and thoroughly  re-hydrate between the climbs.  Again, the Equipment notes  page may be of some help with ideas.

MOUNTAIN NAVIGATION

Three Peaks challenge groups sometimes underestimate the navigational difficulties involved in completing the routes, especially in adverse weather and/or darkness. This can result in groups failing to complete their challenge, or even worse having to involve the local mountain rescue teams.  Don't expect to rely on well marked paths on the mountain tops.  This applies especially to Scafell Pike and the summit area of Ben Nevis.

If you have any doubts about navigation, have a look at the Mountain Navigation page and check up on basic map reading and how to use a walker's compass properly.  For a small independent team without mountain guides / marshals etc, the ability to use a map and compass properly is a vital skill that is easy to master.

If you use GPS together with a good map and compass it can be a very useful additional navigational tool. Given a good signal and used correctly, GPS will enable you to locate your position on the map, but it will definitely not solve all the mountain navigation problems on its own.   Learn about grid references (the Mountain Navigation page again has all the details) and do not rely on GPS totally as your primary navigation tool.

If you intend to use GPS then become familiar with its operation well before the event, set the grid format and reference datum correctly, see the Mountain Navigation page for details, and practice using it with a map and compass beforehand, ideally in a mountain environment.   If possible enter the key waypoints from the Beacon guide-map into the unit  before the event.

As well as a extra navigation tool, GPS can be used as an accurate personal record of progress (date / time/ position) for your challenge which can then be loaded into your computer as a permanent record of your achievement.

Mountain Guide Maps Accurate navigation on the mountains is crucial to safety and success.   The "TPC" mountain guide-maps concentrate on the most relevant information for those who take-on the National Three Peaks Challenge.  They use award winning original mapping from Harvey Maps, as used by many mountain rescue teams, and have the main routes highlighted on the maps together with key GPS waypoints.   The reverse side of the guide-maps carry 8 figure waypoint grid references and other route finding information of particular importance to three peaks challenge walkers, including critical compass bearings.  The guide-maps are frequently up-dated and revised based on our own experience and research and incorporate feedback from customers, mountain guides, mountain rescue personnel and other experienced hill goers.  The features page gives more details.

The table below lists the mountain guide-maps in the "TPC" set.  See The Guides page for details of the full range of maps available.

To buy the Three Peaks Challenge mountain guide-map sets for £15.95 per set, or the full Challenge Team Information Pack for £37, please phone or email - see contact us   Extra discounts are available for multiple map sets - please ask for a quote.

 

GUIDE No. ROUTE DESCRIPTION
No. 2 TP

BEN NEVIS

via the Mountain Track

At 1,345m (4,411ft) Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland and the whole of the UK.  The summit area is snow covered for much of the year.  The guide describes the classic Mountain Track route from Glen Nevis.  The ultra-clear map is ideal for navigating on the "Ben".  It has a special summit area map that shows the top of the mountain in more detail.  It also shows the safe compass bearings and distances required to reach the top of the Mountain Track safely and avoid the danger areas in poor visibility.
No. 16 TP

(or 17 TP)

SCAFELL PIKE

 from Wasdale

(or Seathwaite)

A map & navigation guide to the highest mountain in England starting from the head of its deepest lake, Wastwater in Wasdale.  This guide covers the ascent of Scafell Pike via Brown Tongue and Lingmell Col, which is the shortest and most direct route to the summit.

A separate guide-map (No. 17 TP) covers the longer and somewhat more difficult routes from Seathwaite, that is via Sty Head and the Corridor Route or via Esk Hause.  Please let us know if you require this option when ordering (we normally ask you anyway).  Both Wasdale and Seathwaite route options may be included in the TPC mountain map set if required for just £2.50 extra (£4.00 extra for the full Team Pack with both options).  We would normally recommend that both maps are taken if you are using Seathwaite because it gives you another emergency descent route.

Navigation problems are not uncommon on Scafell Pike, especially in mist or poor light.  The guide-map waypoints and notes are designed to help in navigation on this mountain, which is often tackled by Three Peaks teams in poor visibility conditions or darkness (both guides recently revised).

No. 11 TP

SNOWDON

Pen-y-Pass + Llanberis

The guide covers the Miner's Track and the PYG Track from Pen-y-Pass and also the popular route to/from Llanberis.

The car park at Pen-y-Pass is at 358 metres, and with National Park information, weather forecasts, bus links and an excellent walker's Cafe, is an ideal starting point for the climb to the highest summit in Wales.

A popular option is to climb Snowdon by the PYG Track and descend via the Miner's Track back to Pen-y-Pass.  The PYG Track takes a more direct, higher, more rocky (and interesting) route for most of the way before it eventually joins-up with the Miner's Track for the final steep climb up the zig-zag path to Bwlch Glas, which is very close to the summit.

Alternatively one can ascend or descend from/to Llanberis by the longer, but less steep, Llanberis Path.  The complete Llanberis Path route is covered by a specially prepared 1:50,000 scale map; the upper section of the route and the summit area is covered in great detail at 1:25,000 scale.

Special guide-map 11 PCRC covers the routes used by the annual Prostate Cancer Research Centre Snowdon500 and Welsh Three Peaks events which we are very proud to support.

Content copyright Beacon Maps 2017

This page was last updated on the 15th December 2017