Walking Guide to the Welsh 3000s

8 June, 2012 | Written by Recuperat-ion Recuperat-ion


Test of Endurance for Walkers and Hikers
Take in the spectacular scenery of north Wales – but
it’s not for the faint-hearted
Almost every outdoor
enthusiast has heard of Dartmoor’s Ten Tors challenge – but Wales also has its
own test of endurance, with the Welsh 3000 or 15 Peaks challenge involving 15
mountains all over 3,000 feet high.
It’s not for the
faint-hearted…the tracks are often difficult to determine, and climbing up
towards the rocky summits is a severe test of stamina for the very fittest.
The 15 peaks around the
spectacular scenery of north Wales range from Tryfan, which just sneaks in at
3,010 feet, to Snowdon’s majestic 3,461 feet – with the likes of Foel Grach
(3,196,) Glyder Fawr (3,279) and Carnedd Dafydd (3,425) in between.
Unforgiving Terrain
The total mileage covered on
foot can be as little as around 30 miles, but with at least 13,000 feet of
ascents to contend with, and tough, unforgiving terrain, the Welsh 3000s is no
Plenty have managed the feat
in one day – meeting the strict criteria of the15 Peaks challenge – many take a
long weekend, and still more do it at their own pace without any time
restrictions, simply for the sheer exhilaration of completing one of the
toughest hill walks in the UK.
Snowdonia’s position on the
western seaboard makes it vulnerable to the prevailing weather coming from the
Atlantic. Warmer temperatures can change to freezing cold and icy winds with
almost no warning – the secret is to be prepared and take layers to add or cast
off as necessary.
The first successful
expedition to conquer what was then the 14 Peaks in one day was undertaken in
1919 by a ‘Rucksack Club’ party led by Eustace Thomas.
Completing the Challenge
The record for completing the
entire challenge was set by Colin Donnelly nearly 15 years ago, in an amazing
four hours 19 minutes.
To complete the official
challenge, all 15 peaks must be conquered within 24 hours, without using any
form of transport; only experienced mountain walkers and the very fit can
normally expect to achieve this. Both uphill and downhill sections are
physically demanding, and – a word of warning – one mountain, Crib Goch, is
particularly exposed, and over the years there have been fatalities there.
What You Will Need
First aid kit, including blister plasters
Sleeping bag and/or sleeping bag liner
Daysac – 25 to 35 litres
Walking boots with ankle support
Walking poles (optional)
Fully waterproof jacket with hood
Sun hat/fleece hat depending on conditions
Food supplies
Lightweight fleece
Trekking trousers
Long and/or short sleeve shirt
Baselayer T-shirt
Walking socks
Outdoor pursuits enthusiast
Nicki Williams, who has completed 13 of the Welsh 3000s, writes for Gear-Zone,
specialists in walking and hiking boots from Scarpa, Brasher, Salomon
and Meindl amongst others
Picture source: Compfight

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