Kit and Tactics

The three routes have been mapped out in Google Map, which you can see by clicking this link, which will open a new window with a custom map. If you click on the routes and zoom in you can see the details. Try clicking the “Terrain” button on the map to see a relief rendering of the routes as seen the the image.

In summary:

  • Ben Nevis -5 miles from start to summit. Total climb around 4300 feet.
  • Scafell Pike – 2.5 miles start to top, climb around 3000ft.
  • Snowdon – 3.5 miles start to top, climb around 2200ft.

Advice from the experts

On Tuesday 13th May, Steve Holland from SJH Projects gave the club the benefit of his great experience in providing technical support for a wide variety of expeditions and adventures. Notes from that presentation are below, courtesy of Paul “Take this down Miss Jones” Randall:


“Anyone wearing cotton shirts or jeans should be banned from the hills”.

Layers are recommended as you can better control your temperature / comfort by regularly changing your layers whilst on the move.

Base layer

  • A synthetic base layer is recommended. Short or long sleeves is down to personal preference.
  • Lycra or similar cycling / running shorts should be used to prevent “chafing”.
  • All base layer fabrics must have wicking properties to draw away any sweat.
  • Socks:
    • These should be synthetic. His personal preference was for a thin running sock, under a thick walking sock, as this reduces friction.
    • You need to find what works best for YOU.

Mid layer

  • Lightweight fleece was recommended.

Outer layer

  • Best would be a lightweight down jacket as these pack down really well. Fleece is generally not wind proof, but if you can find one that is, then it would be OK.
  • You should have some sort of scarf to plug the gaps around the neck to prevent drafts.
  • Lightweight Ron Hill style running leggings or walking trousers.

Shell layer

  • Lightweight breathable “Gore-Tex” type jacket. The example shown had no visible liner. “If you are going to buy any clothing, this should be first”.
  • You should take waterproof trousers, but you should only really wear them when not walking (e.g. if stopped for an injury) unless it is really, really wet, in which case the challenge should probably be stopped.

Hat & gloves

  • Take a sun hat, and a fleece (NOT wool) hat, you might need both!
  • Gloves should be fleece or neoprene. Ski gloves are useless if wet.
  • These items should be easily available in your rucksack so that you can use/remove them quickly.


  • Fell running shoes were discussed, but only recommended for the “serious nutters”…..
  • Boots are a better bet. His preference was for fabric boots with a stiff sole.
  • Buy boots NOW if you don’t have any, and wear them, with your walking socks as often as possible to identify any “hot spots”.
  • You need to discover the combination of socks / boots that work best for YOU.
  • Take a set of spare laces, you could seriously ruin your day without them!


  • Take your own map & compass so you are not reliant on others, and you can follow your progress.
  • Best maps would be 1:25000 scale, but 1:50000 would do for this particular trip.
  • Make sure you check your compass, as some can be in accurate (and this could ruin your day).
  • Head torch and spare batteries. Store your torch with one battery the wrong way round to prevent inadvertently illuminating the inside of your bag.
  • Emergency whistle (6 short blasts indicate an emergency). If you hear a whistle indicating an emergency, DO NOT reply, just try to find them. If you reply, they stop whistling, and you can’t find them anymore……
  • Rucksack should be 30 litres MAX and with a chest strap. You need a waterproof liner (rubble sack would be OK) for the main compartment, and small plastic bags for the pockets. “Your full rucksack should float”………..
  • Walking poles are recommended for anyone carrying an injury, with problem knees or “getting on a bit”, as they really help especially walking down hill. He mentioned that they carry about 20% of the stress normally carried by your knees on walking downhill. Use telescopic poles, that way you can adjust them for uphill or downhill.
  • Hydration. Have a water bladder (e.g. “CamelBak”). 3 litres would be OK, that you carry in your rucksack. You need to be able to drink little and often without stopping.
  • Small personal 1st aid kit with blister treatment etc.
  • Have dry kit for each hill, stored in marked bags so you can easily get ready for the next hill. In other words, 3 sets of base layer clothing, socks, walking food etc.
  • Take your mobile phone, fully charged. Bring your car charger, so you can top up between hills.


  • You MUST pamper your feet at every opportunity.
  • Use “Compeed” or equivalent on rub points. If you know you regularly get blisters, apply BEFORE walking.
  • If you feel a new hot spot developing, treat IMMEDIATELY – do not wait. Prevention is better than cure….
  • After each walk, thoroughly dry your feet and use plenty of talc powder.
  • Dry socks or bare feet during the drives would be best.
  • Vaseline also helps reduce friction on “hot spots”.


  • Best is slow release food, like bananas, energy bars or dried fruit. Chocolate is not recommended except as a summit treat!
  • You should eat little and often whilst walking, and start immediately.
  • After each walk, replace lost nutrients with a replacement drink like “REGO” before having any other food.
  • In water bladder, isotonic drink is better than water such as “Isostar”. Make sure you follow the mixing instructions – more is not better!
  • Take an insulated mug with sealable cap so you can drink a hot drink whilst on the road.
  • Good food between walks would be vegetable pasties etc. Try to avoid meat as this is harder to digest and you body will be having a hard time as it is.


  • Before the 3 Peaks starts, begin eating lots of carbohydrates and drinking lots of water. Pasta is good. This carb-loading prepares your body for what’s to come……We should also be expecting to stop at every services for a pee. “Drink water, pee champagne” (referring to the colour, not the content)………
  • Partition your packing in bags for each hill and label accordingly.
  • Agree roles and “actions on” – I guess we need to meet before the event to agree this. Does someone intend to arrange this?
  • Prepare route cards, drawn on laminate so you can place over a map. Leave one with the support guys. I guess Ian Derbyshire, Mark Elm & Mark Campbell will do this?
  • Have a list of ALL mobile phone numbers on a laminated card. Include the support crew, and next-of-kin for each person. Each person should carry one of these lists.

On the hill

  • Stop/start is bad. Keep going at a steady pace. You should be able to eat, drink, don hat/gloves or change layers whilst moving.
  • Make kit easily accessible, including food……
  • Rotate positions within the group to “keep the view interesting”………
  • Eat and drink little and often throughout. Don’t wait until hungry or thirsty, it’ll be too late and you don’t want your energy diverted to your stomach.
  • Be aware of your location by following on a map. Don’t just rely on the “navigator”. This also keeps interest up.

In the vehicles

  • Wear dry clothing
  • Perform “foot maintenance”
  • Eat and drink something more substantial that your “walking food”
  • Sleep – bring some ear plugs
  • Stretch whenever possible. Following the airline recommended in-seat exercises will help.

Support drivers

  • Essential members of the team
  • Eating, drinking and especially sleeping is just as important to the support crew as the walkers.
  • Once the walkers have started on a hill, the support crew should; boil water and store in flasks; clean out the vehicles; arrange kit; prepare route to next hill; prepare food.
  • Remember that although the walkers might be away for 4-5 hours on a hill, they might be back much quicker if there’s a problem so you should be prepared…….
  • This is a “time critical” event, and time is usually lost during the “admin” between hills, so anything the support team can do to ease this process whilst the walkers are away, they should do.

One thought on “Kit and Tactics

    liddo said:
    June 2, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    we must be mad….

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