The toughest walking challenges in the UK

There are plenty of walking enthusiasts in the UK, and the country attracts vast numbers of walking tourists who are looking to experience the beautiful countryside for themselves. This passion for putting one foot in front of the other has harvested a range of walking challenges.

Completing one of these challenges is seen as quite an achievement in the walking community, and many people are sponsored to tackle them. You could participate in an organised challenge and meet fellow walkers, or complete them as part of your walking holiday whenever you wish.

Here, you will find three of the toughest walking challenges in the UK. They certainly aren't for the faint-hearted - you need to be at a peak level of fitness and have specialist equipment in order to stand a chance of finishing. Make sure you plan thoroughly before taking these challenges on.

National Three Peaks Challenge
Perhaps the most famous walking challenge in the UK is the National Three Peaks Challenge, which involves scaling the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales: Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon.

Despite reaching elevation of 978 metres, Scafell Pike is the shortest of the three mountains. Located in the heart of the Lake District, renowned for being one of the most naturally beautiful places on Earth, it offers breathtaking views. This will be your middle stop.

You can choose to start at Snowdon, which is 1,085 metres high, or Ben Nevis - the UK's highest mountain at 1,344 metres elevation. Some people recommend that the sea at Caernarfon and Fort William should be your official start and end points. The driving route is 462 miles in total.

The National Three Peaks Challenge website has a recommended equipment list you should consult. Make sure to pick up sturdy walking boots from a specialist retailer like Cotswold Outdoor, so you are assured high quality. Check out the rest of the walking range here to find products from reputable brands like North Face.

Mourne Wall Challenge
The Mourne Wall Challenge involves tackling seven of the ten highest mountains in Northern Ireland - check out the route on this map. You start at Carricklittle car park, and cover a distance of 22 miles in total, encountering a variety of terrains and viewing incredible landscapes on the way.

Along your route, you will of course follow the Mourne Wall, which, according to Discover Northern Ireland, was built in the early 1900s to enclose the Silent Valley Reservoir catchment area. Because of its fragility, it is asked that groups no larger than 12 tackle the challenge.

The Welsh 3000s
The Welsh 3000s challenge covers the previously mentioned Snowdon, but also incorporates other plus-3,000ft peaks in the region, of which there are 15. The Welsh 3000s website claims that this is "a big step up from something like the Three Peaks Challenge" - be prepared for a tough trial!

The ultimate challenge is to complete the course within 24 hours, but you might have to be a fell runner to achieve this! Many people prefer to spread the Welsh 3000s across three days, kitting themselves out with extra equipment such as a tent and sleeping bag.

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