At the end of July 2018, my pals and I decided to close our master study by doing three peaks challenge. The mission is to reach the highest peaks in England (Scaffel Pike), Wales (Snowdonia), and Scotland (Ben Nevis) in 3 days. The ‘real’ three peaks challenge is actually by reaching those 3 peaks in 24 hours. Yet it’s organized by professionals and usually for charity purposes. What is recommended by the authority here is to do it in three days, as what we have just done. One day, one peak.
As most of us based in Manchester, we decided to start from Snowdonia, the Scaffel Pike, and lastly the Ben Nevis, so that we didn’t need to spend any money for accommodation for the first two peaks. Here are some highlights of our journey:
Day 1 (July 19th 2018): Manchester – Snowdonia
We learned that Snowdonia is arguably the easiest track among these three peaks. Therefore, we decided to reach this peak firstly as a ‘warm up’ before reaching the others. We departed from Manchester at 10.30 and picked up a friend from London at Bangor’s train station. It took around 2.5 hours by car from Manchester to Snowdonia. Upon arrival in a car park in Llanberys village, we decided to have a lunch at the starting point of the track with delicious Balinese food cook by one of our pals.
We walked and reached its top in around 2 hours, with several stops to see the beauty of the nature in Snowdonia, including some lakes in the area. We’re so grateful for the very good day with a bright sun and nice weather.
It’s indeed the easiest peak from the whole three peaks challenge. We suggest you to take this peak firstly if you or anyone in your groups are not a regular mountain tracker.
We walked down by the sunset and witnessed another magnificent scenery when the sun went down. It’s indeed an awesome start of the challenge.
We arrived back in Manchester quite late, at around 00.30 as we decided to have dinner in Bangor area before leaving.
Day 2 (July 20th 2018): Manchester – Scaffel Pike
Scaffel Pike is located in Lake District, around 3 hours by car from Manchester. We departed at around 11 am and stopped by at a lake near the tracking starting point to have lunch. Another good day, bright sun, and nice weather to walk.
To my opinion, Scaffel Pike is the most challenging peak among others in this ‘package’. A very long steep stones track made my legs need to stop walking and to take break several times. There are several ‘peaks’ in Scaffel Pike, which made my feelings quite upset once I knew that the peak I saw was actually not the real peak, but just another one. It’s indeed quite tricky as it played with your expectation that your struggle soon will end, but actually not.
I arrived at the real peak in around 3 hours, but was mesmerized by the scenery I saw along the track.
Took a short break at the top, we managed to walked down by seeing the sun set. We arrived back in Manchester at around 1.30 am.
Day 3 (July 21st 2018): Manchester – Ben Navis
As we arrived in Manchester at 1.30 am and our train from Manchester to Glasgow was at 5.30am. We decided not to sleep so that we wouldn’t miss the train, and slept in the train. It’s quite unfortunate that along the journey from Manchester to Glasgow, we saw quite intense rain. We checked the weather in Ben Nevis and found that bad weather will be there in the whole day, and it was not recommended to walk up the peak. The weather forecast, however, show that the day after (July 22nd) would be better, although still with small rain and thick fog. We decided to postpone it into July 22nd.
After about 3,5 hours in the train, we arrived to Glasgow and directly drove to Fort William for another 3 hours. We stopped by in several spots (including Loch Lommond, Glencoe, Glen Etive, and Glenfinnan) to take pictures of the High Land beauty in Scotland. We arrived to our hostel, in Fort Augustus, next to Loch Ness at around 8.30pm. We took a rest and wake up at 3am to drove back to Fort William.
In July 22nd 2018, we started to walk up in Ben Nevis at around 4.30am. Unlike the previous days, we couldn’t really see the scenery because of thick fog and grey clouds along the track.
Interestingly, I happened to lost the track and literally climbed the stones with my hands to find my way back. There was no one around me; just me, the stones, silence, and thick fog which made me only able to see things within 4-5 meters. I tried to look at the stones to learn if anybody went through my path as well, and finally listened to some people’ voices and got back to the right track. A very nice ‘me time’ with the nature, but I wish I didn’t experience it.
We all arrived to the peak at around 10 am. As I saw the white clouds from above and realizing that we all just did the three peaks challenge, all the tiredness and sleepiness suddenly gone.
After 3 hours driving back to Glassgow, we took a short break to celebrate and took the train back to Manchester. I personally slept really well the days after because of the challenge. But overall, it’s quite amazing journey!