The 2017 Real3Peaks Challenge - Help to make this year another great success!!

This year's date for the Real3Peaks Challenge is Saturday 7th October
Real3Peaks Challenge

The Real3Peaks (R3P) is now 5 years old and this year, not only are we cleaning up the "Big 3": Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, but also Lochnagar, Cairngorm, Ben Macdui, Ben Lomond, Goat Fell and two areas of The Peak District!

The aim of the Real3Peaks Challenge is to increase awareness of the ‘Leave no Trace’ or ‘Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints’ ethic when walking in our hills and mountains in the UK (and beyond). And not only for our three most popular mountains, but for all our ‘wild’ and beautiful upland places.

"When I started the Real3Peaks Challenge in 2013, I was working as a full-time Outdoors Instructor. Whilst my clients were eating lunch, I decided to pick up some rubbish off the summit of Ben Nevis, as it was looking rather sad. I managed to fill two carrier bags in as many minutes. From this point, rather disappointed in humanity, I wrote about my findings on a Facebook page, from where somebody said, "Why don't you do something about it?" So, I did… Now, since January 2015, I have been the owner of Rich Mountain Experiences, but have also carried on volunteering time towards R3P. This started as a personal crusade, but now it has become my opportunity to help make a difference, and to ultimately help change attitudes towards our ‘common land’.

The name "Real 3 Peaks Challenge" was picked for a reason...the REAL CHALLENGE is cleaning up after the 3 PEAKS season – a popular walking challenge event that looks to summit Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon within 24 hours. But this ‘summer season’ also includes general footfall of day walkers, many of whom are taking part in organised group walks for varying personal reasons, charity fundraising or corporate objectives. The October date was set to tie in with a ‘deep clean’ after the ‘summer season’ had finished, but before the winter snows come (certainly on Ben Nevis in any case), leaving the mountains clear underneath the snow, for thespring thaw. On mountains that receive less snow/more winter visitors, we have seen this doesn’t happen though. Ironically, on Snowdon, for example, the winter period can see litter building up again due to volumes of visitors leaving items at the summit, for instance, but there not being as much consistent support in picking it up again (Volunteer Wardens, Snowdon Mountain Railway staff, conscientious Mountain Leaders working with groups and picking up ad hoc litter etc). It’s a constant year-round scenario to keep ontop of, especially on popular peaks." - Rich Pyne.

How much waste has been collected?

Strong man

October 2013 – 265 kg were cleared off the major routes on Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon

October 2014 – 423 kg (we knew where to look!)

October 2015 – 513 kg (monster haul)

October 2016 – 568 kg (Ben Nevis – 267 kg – including a toilet, Scafell Pike 96 kg, Snowdon 205 kg)

4 days of volunteer action has removed nearly 1.8 tonnes of litter from the 3 Peaks!


This event is a great an opportunity to give something back and show your commitment to promote sustainable use of the mountains. If you would like to volunteer to help on any of these hills below, or if you want to organise your own Real3Peaks Challenge litter pick on Saturday 7 October 2017 or beyond, then please use the contacts below:

Ben Nevis (and other enquiries) - Rich Pyne - Founder

Scafell Pike - Kelvyn James

Snowdon - Kate & Ross Worthington

Ben Lomond - Mhairi Cameron

Lochnagar - Glyn Jones

Ben Macdui - Chris Taylor

Goat Fell, Arran - Steve Morley (FULL) Dovestone Reservoir & Mam Tor - Gill ‘Gillybean’ Nott

The 2017 Real3Peaks Challenge

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