How is it different to the National Three Peaks?
The National Three Peaks Challenge involves climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) as three separate walks. Most people attempt to complete the National Three Peaks inside 24 hours by driving between each mountain.
How long does it take?
That depends how fast you walk. If you’re taking on the traditional challenge, the aim is to complete the route inside 12 hours. That time should be achievable for most walkers, with a common finish time of around 9-14 hours. If you’d rather take time to enjoy each peak, you can choose to complete the challenge over multiple days.
How hard is it?
It’s within the capabilities of all experienced walkers and hikers; but this is a long, tough walk with three significant ascents and descents. You’ll need good fitness, suitable gear and the ability to navigate in poor visibility on a wide variety of terrain.
Should I hire a guide?
If you’re an experienced walker, you shouldn’t need a guide as the route is well signposted and straightforward to navigate with competent map and compass skills. It's common for walkers to get lost on Ingleborough in poor weather. But if you don’t feel confident enough to tackle the route yourself, there are plenty of local guides to choose from.
What maps do I need?
The following maps cover the Yorkshire Three Peaks route at a variety of scales: Ordnance Survey Explorer, OL2 (1:25,000 scale) Ordnance Survey Landranger, 98 (1:50,000 scale) Harvey Maps Yorkshire Dales South West, Superwalker (1;25,000 scale) Harvey Maps Yorkshire Dales British, Mountain Map (1:40,000 scale) We’d always recommend a printed map, but smartphone apps such as ViewRanger and OS Maps also allow you to download detailed maps and view your GPS position as you move.
What time of year should I do it?
The best time to attempt the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is between April and September for the longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures.
What will the weather be like?
May has the lowest average rainfall and highest sunshine hours. Weather in the Yorkshire Dales can be unpredictable so be prepared for cool temperatures, rain and high winds. In winter these peaks should be avoided by anyone without experience of hiking in snow and ice.
Where can I park?
There’s a car park in Horton (postcode: BD24 0HF, grid reference: SD 807 724) but get there early because it fills up quickly with cars and coaches.
Can I get there on public transport?
Horton train station is on the Settle to Carlisle line and is located in the village close to the start of the challenge. There’s also a train station at Ribblehead.
What about toilets and refreshments?
There are toilets in the main village car park and refreshments are available at the two pubs and café in Horton. There are two more pubs along the route (the Station Inn at Ribblehead and the Old Hill Inn in Chapel-le-Dale) but you’ll need to check their opening times. There is usually a snack van at Ribblehead serving hot and cold snacks, so take some cash.
Where's the best place to stay?
To get the most out of the challenge it’s best to spend two nights near your start and finish point to avoid travelling either early in the morning or at night. Horton-in-Ribblesdale offers a decent amount of accommodation and there are more options in nearby Ingleton and Settle.
How much food and water should I carry?
If you’re walking the route in one day, aim to carry at least two litres of water, and possibly up to four litres on hot days. If you start at Ribblehead you could fill up water bottles two-thirds of the way round at Horton. You’ll need to snack regularly as you may burn around 5000 calories. High energy snack bars, sandwiches, pork pies, bananas, nuts, chocolate and sugary sweets are all hillwalking favourites.
Can I take my dog?
Yes you can but this walk passes through a farmland so keep your dog under close control at all times and clean up after them. If you don’t walk your dog in the hills regularly make sure they accompany you on your training walks so they’re fully prepared.
Am I fit enough?
The Yorkshire Three Peaks route is only a couple of miles short of marathon length with three major ascents packed into it, so you need to be in good shape.