The three peak pooch challenge
This year we set out on a mission to complete our very own Three Peak Pooch challenge.We have both climbed Mount Snowdon before and other mountains, but Pepper hadn't experienced anything like it...yet. So it was a 'must do' challenge. I whipped out our OS map and looked at the first mountain to climb to get Pepper in training and to see how well she responded to scrambling up rock faces. I booked a weekend up in the Lake District and thought this is the best climbing playground in the UK and tackled Haystacks first. Pepper seemed to respond well to this despite there being some steep climbing parts on the walk. It was a good chance for us to test our fitness levels too. The next day we climbed up Old Man Coniston and she effortlessly completed this too making us think we were the only ones needing the training! It was a good insight for me to see how well she responded to commands and how close to the edges she dared to go. So a first 'must do' is to take your dog up a few easier mountain walks to see how they respond. It's foolish to do any of the Three Peaks without testing the water first.
The next 'must do' is purchase some decent walking shoes to give yourself maximum support. I have written a review for a pair we recommend here.
The first mountain we set out to do was Scafell. The smallest of the three. It was a good introductory climb and afterwards I thought how rough the surface along the walk was with the loose grit and rock which can make some pooches paws sore. I checked Pepper's afterwards and she seemed fine but we did look into different paw treatments available. I used Strava to document our walk and Pepper used PitPat Pet which is a super activity tracker (it's like a Fitbit for dogs!) These were useful gadgets which made our walks a bit more interesting (and fun to look at afterwards whist slurping on a cider or two at the pub.)
The next climb we set on was Ben Nevis. After climbing Scafell in winter we wanted to enjoy a warmer, less slippery walk and the day we picked was a corker. This climb was a toughy and it felt like we were climbing steps most of the way. There were lots of sheep about too so invest in a non pull harness if your dog pulls on the lead so it is a hassle free experience when walking up the mountainside. That's the other 'must do'....a harness (as it useful to have a grab handle should your dog slip). Mine is on my dog kit page and I think it is smashing. You're not paying silly prices for brands, it works, is affordable and looks, well, like a harness! We noticed on this walk that water...well...we needed lots of it. A good idea is to pack a water bottle for the dog so you can fill it up at streams along the way and store it for when your pooch is thirsty and there isn't a stream available. We were surprised how much we drank on this trip. We wished we had packed our hydration back packs so we could store more but you live and learn eh!
The last one of our challenge was Snowdon. We walked up the Llanberis path. This was a good dog friendly route that didn't have too many dangerous edges for Pepper to fall or slip. She did stay on the lead the whole way as again sheep dotted the way. We managed to get up and down Snowdon in 3 hours 15 minutes which for us was incredible! We stomped up to the top and felt pretty chuffed we were on our last climb. We had packed a lot of gear in our bag as weather can change quickly on the mountain. We wore lots of thin layers which worked well for packing clothes away and toasting up if we needed a bit of warmth. Another 'must do' - pack layers.
This last climb was pretty special for us. We celebrated with a proposal.
We highly recommend that!
The Three Peaks not only challenged Pepper, but challenged us too. It was a great experience and one we highly recommend doing with your pooch.
If you have any questions about your own Three Peak Pooch challenge feel free to get in touch and we will hopefully be able to help.