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Tackling the other Three Peaks challenge

Posted 1 May 2012
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Tackling the other Three Peaks challenge
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Many people will be aware that there are two Three Peaks Challenges. There is the Yorkshire version, where participants have to climb Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough inside 12 hours, while also covering the distance between each of them on foot.

The other is the national version, where Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon must be conquered by foot in between long road journeys from Scotland to England and then Wales.

Summer is the best time to take on either, due to the long daylight hours. This is particularly so for the national challenge as the most treacherous of the climbs - Scafell Pike - must be undertaken at dawn, while the comparative lack of snow on the summit plateau of Ben Nevis will reduce the risk of serious accidents, which can be caused by walkers stepping out onto cornices overhanging cliffs and gullies.

Charities benefit greatly, of course and the NSPCC is among the latest to urge people to have a go, with the Coventry Telegraph noting the body is seeking fit and willing participants who will give both their walking boots and their limbs hours of extremely tough work.

Fundraising manager for Warwickshire Barbara Elsey said: "The Three Peaks Challenge is one of the hardest and most rewarding hiking challenges in the UK.

"We are looking for those people who want a real test of their endurance and stamina, while knowing that every step will help us raise funds for ChildLine.

"The weekend will be exhausting, but exhilarating so please sign up now."

However, there is a third three peaks challenge - that faced by Wasdale Head, the village at the foot of Scafell Pike. This is the shortest and therefore most common route for participants to use, but in mid-summer it means the narrow lanes of the valley are crammed with vehicles, the local water supplies are compromised and some have used inappropriate spots as toilets. While Ben Nevis and Snowdon have sizeable towns at the foot (Fort William and Llanberis respectively), England's highest mountain is more remote.

Thankfully, temporary toilets have been installed in recent years, but those kitting themselves out with waterproofs and walking trousers for the challenge may also wish to consider their preparation, to ensure that for the valley featuring England's deepest lake, smallest church and highest mountain, the Three Peaks Challenge is not the greatest ordeal.