Fire Service Three Peaks Challenge
The Fire Service Three Peaks Challenge is a mountain endurance challenge in which participants attempt to climb the highest peaks of each of Great Britain’s three countries.
There is no formal governing body of the National Three Peaks Challenge. Each year many independent teams take on the challenge. There are also a large number of organised attempts made at the challenge with the aim of fundraising for charity.
The Firefighters Charity organises one of the largest of these events, carried out over two consecutive weekends in June. Firefighters from Swindon and Wiltshire form a large part of the support team, both on the hill and at the start and finish points. They provide not only verification of times, but more importantly, safety and support to the participants.
After completing the second climb, each team must then drive to Wales and climb down Snowdon, where the three peaks challenge finishes.
The aim is to complete the three climbs and all driving within 24 hours, Once completed, each team will have walked over 20 miles, ascended more than 10,000 feet and driven over 500 miles.
Everything you need to know
The three peaks are Ben Nevis in Scotland,which rises up to 1344m and is the highest peak in the UK. The second peak to be conquered is Scafell Pike in the Lake District, England which is 978m high and lastly, Snowdon in Wales which is 1085m high.
Each team consists of between 4 and 7 walkers and 2 or 3 drivers and the challenge starts at the foot of Ben Nevis. Each team must then walk to the summit of Ben Nevis to reach a checkpoint. They must then descend Ben Nevis before reaching their team minibus and driving to Scafell Pike, where each team then climbs England’s highest mountain.
After completing the second climb, each team must then drive to Wales and climb Snowdon where the three peaks challenge finishes. There are many awards for completing the challenge including the fastest team, fastest mixed team, first youth team and of course, the wooden spoon! Everyone receives a certificate for entering and a coloured ribbon depending on how good your finishing time is.
Anyone thinking of taking part should have above average fitness levels as the walk is continuously steep and takes its toll on your ankles, knees and leg muscles. Blisters are common and despite taking place in the summer, the challenge can be badly affected by adverse weather.
There is snow on the peak of Ben Nevis all year and the weather conditions on all three peaks can be very unpredictable, so appropriate walking clothing and equipment will be needed.
You should also bear in mind that sleep deprivation may also cause you problems. Your only rest between walking each mountain is on the minibus whilst driving between each peak.
The Fire Service three peaks challenge is a great test of strength and stamina and is the largest UK fire service event held annually.