The summit of Scafell Pike, one of the three mountains tackled by challengers

The summit of Scafell Pike, one of the three mountains tackled by challengers

Custodians of Britain’s three highest national peaks are encouraging challenge participants to use an online piece of kit to make their ascents safer and less damaging.

The Three Peaks Partnership says registering their challenge will enable those walking up the three hills to show their commitment to competing sustainably.

A spokesperson for the partnership, which represents the organisations that manage the three mountains, said: “Thousands of people each year scale Ben Nevis, Scafell and Snowdon, with many trying to summit all three peaks in one trip.

“The longer days of summer see numbers taking part rising dramatically, with consequent impacts on the paths and nearby communities. Path erosion is significant, as is the loss of habitat which reduces the natural diversity of the mountains and therefore there is an added cost for the conservation charities and organisations that care for the landscape.
“The Three Peaks Partnership aims to reduce the physical and environmental impacts on the peaks and their surrounding communities.”

The website, http://www.threepeakspartnership.co.uk is aimed at anyone preparing to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge, whether as a walking enthusiast, a professional challenge organiser or as a participant.

It has been created by the guardians of each respective peak: the John Muir Trust and the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre for Ben Nevis; the National Trust in the Lake District for Scafell Pike; and Snowdonia National Park Authority for Snowdon, with funding from the British Mountaineering Council, through their Access and Conservation Trust.

Sarah Lewis, conservation officer for the John Muir Trust said: “The website has all of the best practice steps you can take to reducing path erosion, habitat degradation and congestion. Signing up shows you’re committed to minimising your impact in these fragile habitats.

“The website will be the place to find out how anyone can get involved and give back, whether that’s volunteering for a day caring for the landscape, or getting involved with a local project plus all sorts of local information so that people can prepare themselves for conditions on the mountain.”

The partnership is also organising three co-ordinated mountain care days this weekend to mark the launch of the site.

Steve Jolley, area ranger for Wasdale with the National Trust said: “By putting conservation at the heart of our partnership, we’ve been able to launch a one-stop shop for the thousands who take part in a Three Peaks challenge. It’s got all the essentials for planning your challenge.

“People will be able to share their achievement by sharing their photos with us too, on the new website gallery as well as on Twitter by using #3PC.”

Helen Pye, Snowdon area warden with Snowdonia National Park Authority said: “People taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge are often taken aback by the logistical issues they face.

“Challenges are often planned for weekends and holidays and this is when our car parks and mountains are at their busiest. During these periods also, huge volumes of litter are produced, with piles of bin bags being dumped in the car parks.

“Therefore, to ensure that everyone benefits from their experience, we’ve included detailed information and advice on the new website regarding how to plan for parking during these busy periods and where and how to dispose litter responsibly.

“The key to an enjoyable and successful Challenge is in the pre-planning and that’s why the website is there to help everyone.”

Mountain Care Days will involve cleaning out cross drains, clearing litter and looking at routine path maintenance. On Snowdon, the clearing will take place this Saturday, 18 April. For further details, contact Ms Pye by email, or by ringing 01766 890522 or 0128 872555.

More details on completing the Three Peaks Challenge in Snowdonia can be found on the national park authority’s website.

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