Congratulations on signing up to the UK's greatest trekking challenge! The National 3 Peaks is justly famous as an exhilarating and demanding weekend challenge, taking you to the top of the highest mountains of 3 separate countries. We want everyone who joins our National 3 Peaks challenge to have and amazing time, to hopefully make new friends, and to feel that they have been truly tested to their limits of endurance. We also want to do all of this whilst keeping your safety as our number one priority.

Our other consideration is that people who join a Charity Challenge are overwhelmingly doing this to raise money for charity. Therefore, we want to give everyone joining one of our National 3 Peak challenges the opportunity to complete the challenge.

We know that the National 3 Peaks challenge is famous as a '24 hour' challenge, and we are sure that many of you will be aiming to achieve this. Every year we have hundreds of people take part in this challenge, and on average 30% of people will achieve the goal of completing this challenge in 24 hours.

It is our stated aim to give all people who sign up to this challenge the opportunity to summit each of the 3 peaks, and to operate this challenge in a safe and responsible manner. This policy lays out how this is achieved, and also answers questions about how you can still ensure you are testing yourself against the 24-hour target.

Driver's Hours during the challenge

The DVSA provides guidelines and legislation that governs driver's hours during the National 3 Peaks. Many operators will find ways to 'beat' the rules as adhering to driver's hours is a hindrance to completing the challenge in under 24 hours. Charity Challenge are proud that we use only full-time, professional drivers and bus companies who adhere to driver's hours. We do this because we wish to be as safe as possible and we believe that asking a driver to drive a minibus for 24 hours with minimal breaks and sleeping in the bus is not conducive to keep our groups safe.

As a rough overview, drivers must stop for 30 minutes every 4.5 hours, and they must not spend more than 15 hours driving in a 24-hour period. For these reasons we build in a rest stop between Ben Nevis and Scafell and then also change drivers between Scafell and Snowdon.

Google maps states that it is 5 hours 36 minutes to drive from Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike. Therefore, we stop at a service station just north of Carlisle. At this service station your leader will pre-order dinner for you. This stop allows the drive to conform to driver hour regulations and allows you to have a proper meal and recharge your batteries before you start on Scafell. We have found that this stop has a huge impact on people's ability to complete Scafell Pike, which is widely seen as the toughest of the 3 peaks due to it being undertaken at night.

Driver hours also stipulate that a driver can only drive for 15 hours before he has a mandatory 10-hour break. This means that our drivers start their clocks the moment they collect us at the foot of Ben Nevis, and that they must be at the driver change over point 15 hours later. Our driver will swap with a colleague of his in the Manchester area. The implication that this has is that we must ensure that everyone is back at the bus after Scafell Pike with 3 hours left on our driver's clock. This gives you plenty of time on Scafell, but your leader will keep a close monitor on the timings and may be required to turn people back who will struggle to hit these times.

What happens if we are delayed by traffic?

Our itinerary and timings takes into account the possibility of traffic delays, so by adhering to the cut-off times on Ben Nevis and Scafell we have flexibility to keep the challenge running even if we hit some traffic. However, on occasions we are faced with significant traffic delays of over an hour which can impede the amount of time you have on each mountain. 

Between Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike: On this section of the itinerary we have the greatest amount of time pressure. If you have left Ben Nevis by 1pm and only made the designated drivers rest stop then there is plenty of time to overcome traffic and summit Scafell. However, if traffic delays do occur on this section then this does not alter the requirement for you to leave Wasdale Head by midnight. We are unable to alter this as it allows us to fully comply with driver hour regulations. It is important to stress that this is extremely rare, but in these scenarios Charity Challenge is not responsible for altering the itinerary or providing additional buses or drivers. We realise that this can mean that groups do not have time to summit Scafell Pike but adhering to driver hours and keeping you safe is our priority.

Between Scafell Pike and Snowdon: It is extremely unlikely that traffic delays will occur during this section as you complete this in the early hours of Sunday morning. However, should delays or diversions impact this section then we are still required to adhere to driver hours (please see below section).

What happens if we have a problem on Scafell and we don’t reach the driver swap in 15 hours?

In this scenario our driver is forced to stop at whichever location he has reached. Charity Challenge have a contingency in place that involves sending a car to take the new driver to meet the bus at the location it was forced to stop. This is an extremely unlikely scenario, and not one we have had to deal with in many years of running this challenge.

What does all this mean to achieving the challenge in 24 hours?

As you can tell, adhering to driver's hours legislation makes achieving the 24-hour aspect of this challenge more difficult. Combine this with the fact that we will be walking in a group of mixed abilities and you can understand why we cannot guarantee that you will have the opportunity to complete the challenge in 24 hours.

What we recommend is that if you wish to test yourself against the clock on this challenge then you time yourself on each of the mountains and then add on normal driving times. Normal driving times would be 5hrs 30 mins between Ben Nevis and Scafell, and then 4 hours between Scafell and Snowdon.

If you keep a record of the time you take on each peak, and then add these driving hours to your hill times you will have an accurate result for how you got on against the 24-hour aspect of this challenge.

We would like to stress that it is indeed possible to achieve this challenge in 24 hours, and we will attempt to support everyone to do this. However, experience and realist expectation setting is also important which is why we are passing on this information to you now.

Other things to consider

Due to its enormous popularity National 3 Peaks challenges can have a negative impact on the environments they pass through due to the huge number of people who take part in these challenges. We do our best to limit these issues by attempting not to drive through rural villages in the middle of the night as much as possible. You can also help by adhering to a few simple steps to limit your impact:

More information about acting responsibly on the National 3 Peaks challenge can be found on the Three Peaks Partnership website.

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Operating challenges in a safe and responsible manner

ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to:

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