I’ve talked about bucket lists on my blog and had 30 I wanted to complete before turning 30, I didn’t ever get round to doing some of them which was a little disheartening. Telling myself I can finish them in my 30th year counts right? With 4 weeks until my 31st birthday I revisited the list and realised I couldn’t tick them all off but needed to become more proactive in doing some of them and not constantly waiting for others to suggest or join me.
Therefore, I spontaneously decided to look into just organising and doing the Three Peaks Challenge, climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdonia in 24 hours, easy right?
On a wet summers day, I started researching various options to complete the challenge. Going on my own is near enough impossible, it’s suggested you need two drivers and a group of 4 to be on the safe side of driving and hiking through the night.
But to my delight, the official three peaks challenge offer group options where lone hikers can join an organised group.
Click here for more details on this!
Having checked dates, they offer various options for £329, either leaving on a Tuesday or Saturday from Fort William, Scotland. The tours run from May through to End of September. Checking the dates and prices, I’ve ended up signing up for the last organised group, which is coming up on the 22nd September 2018. Fortunately, having got the ball rolling and a good friend has decided to join, others wanted to join too but weren’t available this weekend and unfortunately the next booking would be next year. I’m trying to stick by the philosophy in life and travels to just book when you want to go as waiting and waiting seems to never materialise, I used a similar approach in my East Coast Australia trip.
Travel to Fort William – Plane vs Train?
The challenge starts in Fort William, meeting at the station at 8am. I’ve booked the Friday off to travel up to Scotland from London, however this has been a logistical nightmare! Plane vs Train?
Looking at the options, the plane is a lot cheaper, £50 one way from Heathrow for a 7am flight Friday doesn’t sound bad right, however would involve a 4am wake up to get to the airport and checked in and through security. Arriving at 10am in Glasgow, means a morning and day to chill and enjoy the city. Having looked into it his, we actually have to get a train from Glasgow into Fort William, the first trains leave at 12pm and don’t arrive until 5:30pm ~ 13 hours of travelling and an early start Friday and Saturday is a little off putting, or maybe I just like my sleep too much?
My second option was the direct Caledonian Sleeper train, departs on Thursday evening at 9pm from London Euston and 9:15pm from Watford Junction, with an arrival in Fort William. There’s options to just book a seat for £50, as a lone traveller a sleeper berth costs £135 and if in a couple travelling together it can set you back £165. I’ve opted for the sleeper option, you are given a bed and the train is an overnight sleeper train. I’ve heard of the Cali trains and quite excited to try a new mode of transport with overnight travelling! I’ll update later in the month about my experience.
Airbnb vs hotel?!
Having an arrival time of 10am means we can enjoy the day and scenery in Fort William before the challenge begins, I’m a keen photographer so I am looking forward to being a little creative.
I’ve researched accommodation options and there are a few hotel options around £120 for the night but seemed to be a little more rural and not walking distance to Fort William station.
Turning to Airbnb, there are plenty of reasonably priced rooms in the centre of Fort William. I’ve opted for a £60 a night room rather on the small side but let’s call it cosy. It includes a double bed with ensuite and room amenities. The pros are we are close to the station for our early start on Saturday, and the ensuite over a shared bathroom, but cons include the size and a 3pm checkin. I’ll be travelling with a small rucksack so not too worried about a late check in and will enjoy what Fort William has to offer.
Travelling back to London
The group advises not to book any transport back until after 2pm, and an open return if possible. They do offer options to be dropped back to Chester Station after climbing and finishing Snowdonia at 8am on Sunday.
I’ve looked into trains back to London being £85 Return for an open return 2.5hr journey. This for me seems quite on the steep side so looked into other options. I’ve booked a 2pm train from Chester into Birmingham New Street with a second train from New Street to Watford Junction. The journey is 3.5hours with a change and has a fixed booked time, however only has set me back £15 for a one way journey.
Keep updated, as I’ll be sharing my packing guide for training, hiking and travelling light, as well as how I got on with the challenge!