Walking the 'real' Three Peaks
Q. We are a Bristol company who are looking to complete the Three Peaks Challenge but not in the normal way! We want to walk it.
Not as crazy as it sounds as we are doing it in relay fashion. We raised £7,000 last year trekking to Everest Base Camp and want to raise more money for charity. Plenty of volunteers amongst our employees.
Do you have any advice as to how we could go about planning the route.
Climb Ben Nevis, walk to Scafell Pike and climb that, walk to Snowden (sic) and climb that then walk back to Bristol.
Estimate about 5 weeks with about 30 of us doing relays.
The West Highland way looks the obvious start from Fort William to Glasgow.
After that we seem a bit stuck?
Would like to walk off road if possible but any safe route would be fine.
Any help would be gratefully appreciated.
Alex and Lisa, Bristol
A. This route would need a lot of maps to plan!
A good way to do it is to get some digital mapping software on CD (e.g. Fugawi is probably the cheapest) - This shows all the rights of way in England and Wales and long distance footpaths and cycle routes in Scotland.
A copy of 'Scottish Hilltracks' by the Scottish Rights of Way Society (ISBN 0-95-028118-2) could also be extremely useful when planning Scottish routes - suggest you visit the local library for a look at that.
The hill land in Scotland is pretty much free to use anyway, so linking routes along ridges is also quite feasible. The idea to use the West Highland Way is a good option - and from the Southern end at Milngavie, the Kelvin Walkway and Clyde Walkways take you through the middle of Glasgow. A cycle track will then take you East almost to the Pentlands.
Once into the Pentlands, route finding is less of a problem and it would be feasible to plan a hill route, say, through Peebles right down to the Pennine Way near Gilsland or to walk though to Melrose to join Dere Street/St Cuthberts Way - which joins up with the Pennine Way.
Once in England, the Coast to Coast links with the Pennine Way at Keld and will take you into Cumbria - or work out your own link using field paths.
Routes through Bowland or the Dales will take you further South to rejoin the Pennine Way.
This just leaves the Cheshire Gap and I would think minor roads and canal towpaths could be used to get into Wales from the Peak District.
Its a cracking idea, though and much better than hurtling the 24 hour thing which just annoys locals if they're trying to sleep when you arrive at 3:00 a.m. to climb your hill.
Mike Knipe, Crook