James Forrest celebrates reaching the summit of Yr Wyddfa-Snowdon. Photo: inov-8.com/Dave MacFarlane

James Forrest celebrates reaching the summit of Yr Wyddfa-Snowdon. Photo: inov-8.com/Dave MacFarlane

An adventurer has claimed a new record for the ascent of the National Three Peaks.

James Forrest summited Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, walking between them solo and unsupported, in less than 17 days.

The outdoors writer almost had to give up at the twelfth hour when he succumbed to sunstroke at the foot of Snowdon.

The 37-year-old from Cockermouth in Cumbria, who describes himself as a former bored office worker, completed the 500-mile challenge in 16 days 15hrs 39mins 51secs, more than two days faster than the fastest known time for a similar walk.

Forrest set his clock running at Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, at the foot of Ben Nevis, and proceeded to bag Scotland’s highest mountain. He then headed south via the West Highland Way, Clyde Walkway, Annandale Way and Cumbria Way to Scafell Pike, before taking on the Lancaster Canal path and Wales Coast Path to Snowdon. The finish line was in Victoria Terrace in Llanberis, reached after descending off the summit of Yr-Wyddfa-Snowdon.

Hiking alone with no support crew or pre-arranged help, he carried all his kit and camping equipment in a rucksack. He resupplied with food en route and stayed in hotels in the more urban areas.

After 16 days of walking, he suffered sunstroke in a searingly hot Llanberis, resulting in a bout of vomiting. He regained his composure and made it up and down Wales’s highest mountain to complete the long-distance challenge.

Forrest said: “It has been a rollercoaster of an adventure: dizzying highs and crushing lows, with hardship and euphoria in equal measure.

Forrest struggled with sunstroke on the ascent of Yr Wyddfa-Snowdon. Photo: inov-8.com/Dave MacFarlane

Forrest struggled with sunstroke on the ascent of Yr Wyddfa-Snowdon. Photo: inov-8.com/Dave MacFarlane

“But I’ve absolutely loved challenging myself and pushing my boundaries.

“The simple process of walking is incredibly therapeutic and works wonders for my mental wellbeing, better than any drug a doctor could prescribe.

“I’ve seen so much in just 16 days, experiencing the real breadth of the UK’s landscapes, from sprawling urban jungles and industrial wastelands to remote mountains and far-flung coastlines.

“I thought I’d hate the built-up sections, but I found myself relishing the variety. The journey felt like an authentic and real insight into life in the UK.”

The previous self-supported record of 19 days 18hrs 35mins was set by Tina Page in 2017, while the overall record, with a support crew, is held by ultrarunner Tom Mountney with 9 days 11 hrs 39 mins. In 1979, Olympian Ann Sayer completed a slightly longer coast-to-coast route via the three peaks in 7 days and 31 minutes.

Forrest is an ambassador for outdoors brand inov8. Lee Procter, the company’s global communications and ambassadors manager, said: “What another incredible achievement by such a fearless hiker, who knows exactly how to get to grips with the most difficult of challenges. We’re immensely proud of James and his latest record-breaking feat, wearing special new inov-8 boots that will soon be launched to the public.”

From 2017 to 2019 James Forrest climbed 1,001 mountains across England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland, including all 282 munros, and in 2020 he set a now-beaten self-supported record for climbing the 214 Wainwright fells in the Lake District.

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