Monday, October 5

Three Peaks, Slow Peaks

Whilst doing the last minute packing earlier this evening I was listening to BBC Radio 4's CostingThe Earth program (On Listen Again Now for the next 7 days).

"Every year around 60,000 people set out on the Three Peaks Challenge, aiming to climb the highest mountains in England, Wales and Scotland. Most do it to raise money for charity but there are increasing worries that the challenge is putting too much pressure on the environment, destroying some of our most beautiful places"

I was half listening to the usual pros & cons. All equally valid in their way, but nothing unusual.

Then towards the program's end a Snowdonia National Park Ranger provides a very evenly balanced view on mountain usage and its users. During his piece, he comes up with an interesting line of thought as to the Time element of the Challenge, citing that as one of the underlying causes that inevitably leads to the concentration of so many people gathering in a few very specific spots, typically at unsocial hours.

The program is worth listening to for this section alone (IMHO) suggesting a possible way for such Charity Challenges to continue into the future, whilst balancing local sensibilities.

I'm reminded of a comment attributed to Wainwright on hearing that someone had recently run the Pennine Way in under 3 days


Whilst it wasn't expressly said the program left me with an intriguing idea for a new event of this type.

Welcome to 'The Three Peaks Slow Challenge'.

Think about it for a moment........

Forget 3 peaks in 24 hours.

How about 3 peaks in as long a period as it takes to properly saviour each mountain?

Possibly start with different ascent & descent routes. Then build in timing each peak's top to enjoy a sunrise, sunset, or even perhaps a night on the mountain.

Certainly consider banning the use of mobile phones, unless by the Group Leader in the event of an emergency. With event exclusion being a penalty for abuse, especially when involving Mountain Rescue Services.

How about a 'Guess the Number' lottery for items of litter picked up along the way? A different way to garnish additional donations whilst being of immense usefulness.

Maybe even a 3 peaks - 3 wildcamps approach for instance? (That's not really going to affect most of us regular wildcampers by the way. We tend to steer clear of such peaks, due to their over popularity)

Lets take it further still. The winner (because such things always seem to turn into a competition) - the slowest time to "do" the 3 Peaks, with the most amount of enjoyment. Choose your own measurement.

Think the idea might catch on?

Certainly more of a Challenge from what I can see.

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I like this idea.
Nicely thought out Sir.
I'm a fan of this too... I did the three peaks over three days with some friends a few years back. Yes, it did involve hours behind the wheel, but we opted for interesting routes up and down each. The sense of achievement was still there at the end!
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