Protecting the Peaks Together

October 2017

The Real 3 Peaks Challenge

On a very wet and windy Saturday a team of 109 volunteers took on the real 3 peaks challenge. Not to be confused with the national three peaks challenge, this particular challenge is intended to clean up the litter left by the hundreds of thousands of walkers who visit the UK’s most popular mountains. Started in 2013 by mountain guide Richard Pyne after he was appalled by the litter on Ben Nevis, the challenge takes place every year after the peak walking season is over. The growth and support of the challenge is reflected in the dedicated volunteers who give up their time to help. In the past, the challenge has usually just taken place on Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden but this year many other popular mountains were included such as Ben Lomond and Man Tor.

This year on Ben Nevis, 14 volunteers set off from the visitor centre at 8am and headed up the freezing cold and blustery footpath. The weather was grim but spirits were high! Having reached the summit the group spent some time clearing the immediate area around the summit shelter and the shelter itself, by this point everyone’s first bin bag was already full. Later we walked across the plateau in a line trying our best to pick up as much litter as possible. The usual suspects were being found, tissues galore, banana peel, orange peel, bottle tops, tampons and panty liners, sweet wrappers, foil, crisp and sandwich wrappers, plaques, flags, bits of walking poles, and some very old tin can drinks. Most shocking was the discovery of a peanut packet with the best before date of Jan 1987! The rest of the day was spent descending the mountain and picking as much litter along the way as possible. The area around the Red Burn and John’s wall received a lot of attention!

In total, around 120kgs of litter was taken off Ben Nevis this year, thankfully less than previous years. This is largely due to increased litter picks throughout the summer months by the John Muir Trust and the public becoming more aware of the litter issue.

Across the entire challenge over half a tonne of litter was removed. Here are the results for each mountain,

Ben Nevis – 120kgs from 14 volunteers
Scafell Pike- 55kgs from 34 volunteers
Snowdon – 280kgs from 29 volunteers
Lochnagar – 13.4kgs from 3 volunteers
Ben MacDui – 7kgs from 4 volunteers
Ben Lomond – 16kgs from 8 volunteers
Mam Tor & Dovestone – 77.5kgs from 17 volunteers


570 kg s from 109 Volunteers!

The John Muir Trust would like to thank everyone involved and we hope that one day this challenge will no long be necessary.

Take part in a study regarding the 3 Peaks Challenge!

Promoting mountain safety, protecting the landscape, and enhancing the outdoors experience in mountaineering challenge events.


You are being invited to take part in a study on your perceptions and experiences of the 3 Peaks Challenge. This study is being conducted by Dr Antonia Ivaldi and Professor Mark Whitehead from Aberystwyth University, in collaboration with the Snowdonia National Park Authority. Before you decide, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully and ask me if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. Thank you for reading this.


What is the purpose of the project?

This pilot qualitative study aims to examine a range of perspectives, knowledge, experiences, and values aligned to the 3 Peaks for walkers and stakeholders alike. Outdoors challenge events, such as 3 Peaks, produce a complex interplay of promoting knowledge of mountain safety practices, good decision making and planning, and awareness of how to protect the landscape, whilst increasing tourism to the national parks that can result in a lasting engagement with the outdoors, that has additional recognized benefits for health and wellbeing. This is important, given the research that documents the value of outdoors engagement on an individual’s health, well-being and enjoyment. With the overall aim of gaining additional empirical support to complement existing guidelines and advice, this study aims to explore walkers’ and stakeholders’ perceptions and experiences of the event, in particular, walkers’ reasons for engagement, decision making strategies, and overall experience for enjoyment, health and wellbeing.


Do I have to take part?

You have been asked to take part as you are a walker who has taken part in the 3 Peaks in the last year. Taking part in this research is entirely voluntary, and if you do not wish to take part please say so. If you decide to take part you will be given this information sheet to keep (and be asked to sign a consent form). If you later change your mind and no longer wish to take part, you can withdraw from the study at any time, and without penalty, until January 16th 2018, after which the data will written up for dissemination. As a small gesture of gratitude for your participation, the project team would like to offer you a £10 e-voucher for Cotswold Outdoor.


What will happen to me if I take part?

You will be asked to take part in one individual interview lasting approximately 45 mins. This will take place at a time that is convenient to you and via Skype. You will be asked questions on what are your perceptions and experiences of the 3 Peaks Challenge as a walker, why you wanted to take part, your decision making and preparation strategies, and its role for enjoyment, health and well-being, for example. If there is a question that you do not wish to answer, you are not obliged to do so and you are free to move onto the next question. Please note that, as the research is being conducted by a non-Welsh speaker, the interviews and further correspondence will take place in English.


What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

There are no foreseeable risks associated with this study and it is hoped that you enjoy taking part. In the unlikely event that you find the interview emotive, or it raises health issues associated with walking, and you wish to talk through some of the issues raised with a trained adviser, you will be referred to the helpline SupportLine 01708 765200, or your GP, as appropriate.


Will my taking part in this project be kept confidential?

Only the research team (Dr Antonia Ivaldi, Professor Mark Whitehead, and an external transcription company who will sign a confidentially agreement) will have access to the data. All personal information relating to you (e.g., contact details) will be kept confidential and your consent form, which contains your name and signature, will be stored securely in a locked filing cabinet in the lead researcher’s office. Your interview will be fully anonymized so that there is nothing in the interview that gives away your identity. Extracts of the interviews may be used in the reporting of the results and in future publications, but these will also be fully anonymized. The audio file of the interviews and subsequent transcript will be stored securely on a password protected computer.


What happens immediately after data collection?

You will have the opportunity to ask further questions regarding the study should you wish to do so.


Who has reviewed the project?

This project has been reviewed by the Department of Psychology’s Research Ethics Committee, Aberystwyth University. The research will be conducted in accordance with the British Psychological Society’s Ethical Code of Conduct.


Contact for further information

Dr Antonia Ivaldi, C.Psychol.

Department of Psychology

Penbryn 5

Aberystwyth University




SY23 3UX

Telephone: 01970 62 8467


Training for our Volunteer Wardens

Our Volunteer Warden team have been very busy for months now providing information to the public as well as collecting hundreds of litter bags from litter that’s been left on the paths. On Sunday we had quite a different day as we ventured to quieter parts of Yr Wyddfa to learn more about the geology of the area with expert Paul Gannon. A very interesting day that everyone enjoyed!