3 Peak Challenge Advice

This weekend will probably see a peak in the number of teams and groups raising much needed funds for very deserving causes on the National 3 Peak Challenge.  Having seen the weather forecast, I don’t envy anyone taking on this challenge over the weekend nearest to the summer solstace.

My advice to all this weekend is simple.  Be careful, be competant, be respectful, and leave no trace.  Challenge participants should consider the impact they have on the communities and environments they pass through, particularly in the Wasdale valley as they generally motor through villages and past farms at around 3am.  Here is an exerpt from an article published by the BMC:

“Residents of the Wasdale valley regularly have their summer nights disturbed by large Challenge groups whose conduct Richard described as ‘totally antisocial’. Nor does the Challenge have any positive effect upon the local economy. Challenge groups do not stay in local hotels or even buy drinks in local pubs, since they arrive in Wasdale in the middle of the night and leave in a hurry in their minibuses the following morning. Nor can the tourist infrastructure at Wasdale Head cope with the influx. There certainly aren’t enough toilets, car parking space is at a premium, and Mountain Rescue vehicles have been all but forced into the ditch by minibuses hurtling down the narrow road in the dead of night. Yet road widening and the building of facilities are not what nature lovers come to see.”

You can read the full article at http://www.thebmc.co.uk/three-peaks-challenge and I would also strongly advise all challengers to watch this short film by the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team – the unpaid volunteers who keep you safe and rescue you when you get lost or injured in the mountains.

Above all, I wish all challengers good luck and raise lots of money for your chosen charities.  Enjoy the event and come back to the mountains at a more leisurely pace.

Finally, remember what Edward Whymper taught us…

“Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.”


After a great Jubilee weekend spent in and around Wasdale Head in the Lake District, I wanted to share a few thoughts and reflections with you, dear reader.

The purpose of the trip was two-fold – firstly to get some training done for my forthcoming trip to Mt Elbrus, and then to give Pike the dog his first camping experience…  The campsite at the Head has been taken on by the hotel, and has some nice new showers and toilets, with a really good area for washing pots with hot and cold water – a far cry from the tap on the side of the shop and much more pleasant experience but for me the campsite will always be known as ‘Jims Field’…

Typical of Wasdale, the weather was somewhat mixed.  Saturday was baking hot, Sunday much cooler and windy.  I thought saturday, with the glorious weather, would make Scafell Pike rather popular and decided to seek out a bit more peace.  I had not climbed Pillar for a long time, so decided to head that way.

As Pike and I toiled our way up towards Black Sail Pass, I spotted the thinner track that would put us onto Looking Stead and took that.  Now the route got a little steeper and a little looser, and my balance is not the best in that situation.  Pike, off the lead would be fine, but connected to me with me slipping around, on steeper ground, he started to get a little nervous.  When we reached Looking Stead, and looked up at the next looser steeper scrambly section, and I looked at Pike and thought it best not to push it.  I had been with Pike heading up Devils Kitchen in Ogwen a couple of weeks before and he had been very anxious, so I guess I new what would probably happen.  So we took a nice long slow amble back down to Black Sail Pass, into Mosedale and back to Wasdale Head, by which time it most certainly was Beer O’clock…

By about 5pm, the weather was changing.  The temperature dropped, the wind picked up and the cloud came over.  I thought that might dissuade some people from heading to Scafell Pike on Sunday as that’s where I decided to head.  Pike and I rose and started to plod up Lingmell Gill the following day, meeting a number of 3-peakers on the way down.  An early highlight was watching the full size luxury coach, doubtless carrying a payload of 3-peakers, gingerly inching its way over the Down in the Dale Bridge… with the traffic building behind…

Quick rant.  One of the major reasons people love the Lake District, the mountains and the Wasdale valley in particular is it’s pristine beauty.  While I know 3-peakers are not the soul culprits for the litter debris left around the Green and on the mountain, there seems to be a definite increase in litter when there are more 3-peakers around.  Come on people, do better!!  The 3-Peak Challenge raises a huge amount of money for some terrific charities deserving of the funds, but at what cost?  Here’s a suggestion: All those major charities that benefit from the challenge, send just one person each to each mountain after the challenge ‘season’ and participate in a mass collective clean up.  Put something back in by taking the rubbish out.

Rant over…

Pike and I reached Lingmell col and the wind was whipping over.  People coming off the summit were reporting the wind was gusting a bit and making it difficult to stand.  So we went to Lingmell instead, sat on the top for a coffee and took a couple of snaps, and headed back down.

That evening I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening doing silly quizzes and talking about mountains with Richard Crabtree and Alison.  Their great blog talks about their day on the Needle Ridge on Great Gable the following day, well worth a read – http://www.campclimbcrag.co.uk/

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