How to Prepare for the Three Peaks Challenge

The three peaks challenge is one of the most popular hiking challenges in the UK. The challenge itself involves climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales one after another. The usual aim of this challenge is to complete the challenge within a time limit of either 24 hours, 48 hours or 3 days.

The three mountains covered are:

  • Ben Nevis in Scotland – 1345m (typical hiking time five hours)
  • Snowdon in Wales – 1085m (typical hiking time four hours)
  • Scafell Pike in England – 978m (typical hiking time four hours)


With this challenge becoming increasingly popular, it’s important that you prepare yourself for what is to come. This includes ensuring that you have completed sufficient training and practised walking up and down similar terrains for long periods of time. Next you need to invest in the correct clothing and equipment. You will also need to arrange travel or accommodation and if you want to ensure you are financially protected should you get injured, insurance may be worth considering.

Training and Practise

Sufficient training and practice can significantly reduce how difficult you find the challenge. There are a number of ways you can train for the three peaks challenge and it is possible to do all your training in a gym. Experienced mountaineers recommend starting training a minimum of 3-4 months before the hike.

Around 3-4 months before the hike:

  • Resistance training
    • Squats
    • Deadlifts
    • Lunges
    • Stairmaster
    • Incline treadmill
    • Shoulder press
    • Hiking outdoors

During these 3-4 months you should focus on low intensity steady state workouts that aim to increase strength and resistance such as walking for long periods of time on the treadmill at a fast pace and high incline. Going for one long hike each week is also a great way to practise for the challenge. Remember the importance of having rest days in between to allow your body to recover.

Around 1-2 months before the hike:

  • Cardiovascular training
    • Treadmill running
    • HIIT workouts
    • Spin classes

As you begin approaching the challenge date it is important to cut down your rest days and focus even more on cardio training. Cardio training does not necessarily mean running, it can include swimming, spin classes or cycling.

The week before the hike:

In the week leading up to the hike, make sure you take it easy and have plenty of rest to ensure your body is fully recovered and ready to take on the challenge.

Clothing and equipment

Another important element in ensuring you are prepared to complete the three peaks challenge is having the appropriate kit. Some clothing and equipment is optional but it is incredibly important that you make sure you have the mandatory items that are essential in completing the challenge safely and efficiently.

Mandatory kit list:

  • Walking boots with ankle support
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Headtorch
  • Hiking socks
  • Backpack
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Gloves
  • Hat

Recommended items:

  • Walking trousers
  • Sports top
  • Warmer outer layer
  • Changes of clothes

Optional items:

  • Sun glasses
  • Suncream
  • Walking poles
  • Thermal underwear

Travel and accommodation

Another aspect of the three peaks challenge you need to prepare for is getting from A to B. If you are completing the challenge in under 24 hours, you will only need to focus on travel and having a strategic plan in place to miss the traffic and get from one mountain to the next. There are a number of companies who can provide you with travel, food and even accommodation. There are plenty of hotels and campsites surrounding each of the peaks so as long as you book it in advance you should be able to find nearby places to stay.


If you are an individual who regularly participates in mountain climbing and hiking challenges, getting the right insurance is important in financially protecting yourself, your family and your assets. One company that specialises in life insurance for extreme sports such as mountaineering is Sports Financial Services. Contact them to discuss your climbing activities and how they can help get your the right cover at the best price.