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 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.
FUTURE OF 3 PEAKS CHALLENGES
2018 will be the last year
After a highly successful, annual staging of the “Fire Services METHOD” 3 Peaks (Sub 24-Hour) Mountain Challenge, the original Wiltshire organisers give NOTICE that next year 2018 will be the last they feel able to deliver to the UK Fire Services and many others. The timing of this announcement, is that in 2018 we will have reached 50 events in 25 years and will have surpassed 18,000 participations, with an amazingly 96% + achievement rate, plus collectively an estimated £4M plus, for various Charities and good causes.
This has made it probably one of the most successful Fire Services sporting team competitions over many years, and responsibly and consistently having proved to be an excellent team building, healthy recreation activity, which has involved almost every Brigade/Service in the UK. Sometimes also seeing overseas teams represented and those from the Police, Ambulance, the Military and corporate participation.
In 2004 it was voted Best event in the first ever ‘Spirit of Fire Awards’ for the (FSNBF) Fire Fighters Charity and even appeared in a 14 page, National Geographic Magazine article, of July 2003. There are still chances for some regularly participating individuals, to gain 5-year and some even their 10-year participation ‘Special Medals’ with the four remaining Challenges 2018 = A-49th & B-50th and final Challenge.
Dates for 2018 are: 24th/25th June ‘A’ event, 28th/29th June ‘B’ event
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.
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.
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 colored 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.
For more information, go to: firefighters3peaks.co.uk or ludomacaulay@hotmail