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3 peaks challenge

National three peaks challenge. Scafell Pike summit

Lake's 3000ers

Lake District 3000ers challenge. Helvellyn Striding Edge

Yorkshire 3 peaks

25 peaks challenge. Scafell Pike

10 peaks challenge

Lakes top ten challenge - tougher than the 3 peaks challenge

Organising your own event and want to learn some navigation for the challenge?

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team Incident call-outs. See why it's safer to do your 3 peaks challenge with experienced guides.

More information on the three peaks challenge:

3 Peak challenge








25 peaks challenge

25 mountains in 2 days - it's a tough one!

  • What's involved
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Prices

Visiting the summit of 25 of the Lake District's mountains in two days - climbing a total of 4,740 metres (15,350 feet) and walking a total of over 53km (33 miles) in the process!

This is a long, hard challenge and while you don't need to be superhuman you do need to do some preparation for an event like this. Preparation is key to successfully completing any challenge of this nature.

Day 1

You'll climb 2,500 metres (8,000 feet)

You'll walk 26 km (16 miles)

Target time 14 hours

Buttermere to Langdale. This stage involves climbing 10 of the highest and best mountains, including THE highest Scafell Pike, in the Lake District. This is the tougher of the two days as you will cover some of the most rugged and dramatic terrain you are likely to experience in the whole of Great Britain. If the weather is kind you will also experience the best views available in the whole of the Lake District.

Day 2

You'll climb 2,240 metres (7,350 feet)

You'll walk 27 km (17 miles)

Target time 10 hours

This stage involves the traverse of the entire Helvellyn range including the Fairfield group, 15 summits in total, and the longest high traverse in the district. For much of the way you are consistently above the 2,500 feet contour. it can be done North to South or the other way round

To book or enquire tel: 07584 177506

e-mail: enquiries@bigwalks.com

Day One is the same route we use for the ten peaks challenge and includes some of the Lake's highest mountains, including THE highest, Scafell Pike.

We start Day one of this challenge in Buttermere, one of the most beautiful valleys in the Lake District, and end in Langdale - equally beautiful - having covered some of the most dramatic terrain the Lake District has to offer.

Buttermere Fleetwith Pike

Buttermere looking towards Fleetwith Pike

The High Stile ridge rises abruptly from the shores of Buttermere to over 2,000 feet, apparently vertically, and is a geologist's delight with hanging valleys, volcanic rocks and extinct volcanoes.

On the High Stile ridge looking back to Red Pike

On the High Stile ridge looking back to Red Pike with Bleaberry Tarn below - reputedly hiding the crater of a dead volcano

You traverse the ridge over the summits of Red Pike, High Stile and High Crag and descend to Scarth Gap via the steep and rather unpleasant path down Gamlin End.

Gamlin End, High Crag the descent to Scarth Gap

Gamlin End, High Crag, this is your dscent route to Scarth Gap

You then pass over Haystacks, the favourite mountain of Alfred Wainwright, the man who's name is synonymous with the hills of the Lake District. He wrote the pictorial guides to the Lake District that became best sellers and encouraged legions of tourists to descend on the region ever since.

haystacks the favourite of Alfred Wainwright Lake District

Haystacks Alfred Wainwright had his ashes scattered here

The 'Gables' are next - Green and Great - Gable that is! Great Gable is widely recognised as the birthplace of the modern sport of rock climbing and was the unlikely scene of illicit whisky distilling hundreds of years ago!

Great Gable and Green Gable in the Lake District

The Gables seen on the approach from Haystacks

Napes Needle on Great gable in the Lake District

Climber on Napes Needle on Great Gable

Great Gable was purchased by the Fell & Rock Climing Club and was dedicated to it's members who fell in the Great War. The club donated it to the National trust and a plaque adorns the North facing aspect of the summit area.

There is a Remembrance Day ceremony on the summit every year attended by hundreds of people.

Great Gable summit plaque

The plaque on the summit of Great Gable

From here there's a long descent to Styhead where we join the orridor Route for our next mountain, Scafell Pike.

Broad Crag, Scafell Pike and Scafell from Great Gable

Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Scafell and Lingmell as seen from Great Gable

From Styhead we make our way downhill slightly to join the Corridor route that winds it's way along the West side of Great End and Broad Crag. This route is simply superb and the finest walker's route up any mountain in the district, affording intimate views into the gaping chasm's that cut so deeply into this side of these mountains.

Forbidding and repelling at any time but a truely awesome sight in stormy conditions. Well worth exploration but on another day and with qualified guides as these chasm's require climbing skills.

Piers Gill below Lingmell

The lower reaches of Piers Gill with Lingmell above. An unwary trap for many three peakers descending form the Pike.

From here it's a rather steep and unpleasant ascent of loose rock and scree to Broad Crag col. A few hundred metres further and we're on the summit of England!

At 3,210 feet above sea level the summit is the highest land in all England and the most rugged terrain you are ever likely to encounter in Great Britain. Weather conditions here can be extreme and can change in the blink of an eye. Navigation on 'the Pike' is notoriously difficult and is the one hill on the National 3 peaks challenge that is guaranteed to highlight any weaknesses in the inexperienced or ill-prepared. The statistics of the Wasdale Mountain Rescue team tell their own story!

Scafell Pike summit cairn Lake District

Scafell Pike summit cairn in Summer

Fortunately you will be guided by our experienced mountain leaders who know this mountain extremely well.

Great End is next, aptly named as it descends, apparently vertically, in chaotic cliffs for over 800 feet. Needless to say we avoid these and take the more 'pedestrian' route!

Great End Lake District on the 25 peaks challenge

Great End

Esk Pike follows where you will notice a marked change in the colour of the rocks under your feet, providing yet more evidence of the violent volcanic activity that formed this region over millions of years.

Sunrise over Bowfell Lake District

The start of sunrise over Bowfell and Crinkle Crags from Scafell Pike - hopefully you won't need to be still walking at this time!

Bowfell is the last summit of the day. Bowfell's summit is every bit as rugged as 'the Pike's' though more compact. Conditions permitting we'll descend from here to the valley of Great Langdale via the Great slab, a tilted mass of almost flat rock which has to be seen to be believed. This area is a geologists' heaven as evidence of the turbulent history and formation of the region is so clearly on display. Then we access 'The Band' via the climber's traverse.

The Great Slab Bowfell in the Lake District

The Great Slab overlooking the Mickleden valley, Great Langdale

Alternatively we access 'The Band' by the more usual route via 'Three Tarns' and finish the day at Stool End farm only a few hundred metres from a number of refreshment houses below Dungeon Ghyll and the Langdale Pikes. You'll have earned some refreshment after this journey!

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To book or enquire tel:

mob: 07584 177506

e-mail: enquiries@bigwalks.com

Day two route is a traverse of the entire Helvellyn ridge including the Fairfield group - 15 tops in all. For most of the challenge you'll be over 2,500 feet. This route can be done North to South or South to North.

We could name this route Red Screes to Red Screes! Red Screes is the Mountain at the Southern end of the route, but Clough Head has it's own Red Screes at the Northern most aspect.

If starting from the South you finish this route in a car park. If starting from the North you finish the route and the challenge, in a pub!

We describe the route from North to South but it's just as good the other way.

Starting from Threlkeld your first summit is Clough Head which marks the Northern end of the Helvellyn ridge. From this direction you get a fantastic view of Blencathra on the opposite side of the valley. It's probably the best view point for Blencathra and it gets better with height.

Blencathra Lake District with steam engine

Blencathra from Threlkeld mining museum

Blencathra displays five buttresses from this aspect, all named as seperate fells, with deep sided ravines between them. It's the fell that Alfred Wainwright devotes more pages to (36!) than any other in his pictorial guides to the Lake District and from this direction you can begin to appreciate why.

Clough Head, from the direction we tackle it, is not a particularly interesting fell but its' real claim to fame is its' views to the North, West and East. These are simply superb.

Blencathra summit Lake District from Clough Head on the 25 peaks challenge

The view North, Blencathra, from Clough Head summit


Clough Head, Lake District, on the 25 peaks challenge

View East towards the Eden valley and the Pennines. Great Mell in the foreground

Clough Head, Lake District view East, on the 25 peaks challenge

View West towards Derwentwater and the Western fells

Once on Clough Head summit we make quick and easy progress ticking off the summits as we go - Great Dodd, Watsons Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd, Raise, Whiteside. It's easy walking over gently rising grassy hills. Raise is the odd one out as its' summit is adorned with rock.

Great Dodd from White Pike on Clough Head on the 25 peaks challenge

View of Great Dodd from White Pike on Clough Head

We eventually arrive at Helvellyn, probably the most popular mountain in the Lake District. It has the most famous approach to any mountain summit in the whole of the UK - Striding Edge. Unfortunately we won't be experiencing this particular delight on this route but you will see the amazing views from Helvellyn's summit into the Eastern coves.

Helvellyn summit shelter in the Lake District

Helvellyn summit shelter - unbelievably quiet!

A short walk away is Nethermost Pike which you may not even recognise as the summit of a mountain - in poor visibility you definitely will not! It's rather featureless but thousands cross it every year on their way to Helvellyn.

Helvellyn ridge in Winter

The Helvellyn ridge in Winter clothes

Dollywagon Pike is next. The views into the Eastern coves all the way from Helvellyn are the highlight of this part of the route. If weather conditions are favourable we can follow the edge of the ridge to savour the views as long as possible.

Helvellyn ridge in Winter

Heading towards Dollywagon Pike

From Dollywagon Pike we descend steeply to Grisedale Tarn where we can take a well earned break before tackling Seat Sandal and then Fairfield, a total height gain of more than a thousand feet from the Tarn.

Grisedale Tarn from Fairfield on th 25 peaks challenge

Grisedale Tarn below Dollywagon Pike as seen from Fairfield

Helvellyn ridge seen from Fairfield on the 25 peaks challenge

Looking back to Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn from Fairfield summit

Helvellyn ridge Eastern coves seen from St Sunday Crag

The ridges from the Helvellyn massif, Striding Edge upper right

Fairfield summit can be a difficult summit to navigate in poor visibility, with vertical cliffs to the North. Fortunately you'll be with experienced guides who know the mountain extremely well.

Fairfield summit in the Lake District

Fairfield summit

Cliffs on the Northern aspect of Fairfield on the 25 peaks challenge

The Northern cliffs of Fairfield

The next summit is Hart Crag followed by, Dove Crag, Little Hart Crag then a long rise to the summit of Red Screes, your final summit of this challenge!

Looking back to Hart Crag & fairfield from Dove Crag on the 25 peaks challenge

Looking back to Hart Crag & Fairfield from Dove Crag

Dove Crag summit on the 25 peaks challenge

Dove Crag summit

Dove Crag in te Lake District seen from the Patterdale approach

Dove Crag - not the direction we'll be tackling it from!

Red Screes on the 25 peaks challenge

Red Screes

A steep descent from Red Screes deposits you at one of the district's most appealing (and isolated) public houses - the Kirkstone Pass Inn. Situated at 1,500 feet above sea level it's the highest inhabited building in Cumbria and the 3rd highest Inn in England.

Kirkstone pass Inn

Kirkstone pass Inn

The Kirkstone Pass Inn, reputed to be haunted, is situated at the Southern end of this route. You'll be ready to celebrate a fantastic achievement and what better place to do it.

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To book tel:

mob: 07584 177506

e-mail: enquiries@bigwalks.com

Please contact us to discuss your plans and exact requirements.

mob: 07584 177506

e-mail: enquiries@bigwalks.com