Three legendary peaks crown the British Isles: Snowdon in the wild north of Wales, Scafell Pike in England’s dreamy Lake District, and Ben Nevis in the craggy highlands of Scotland. We’ll summit them all on this grand adventure as we trace an arc across three distinct regions of the British Isles. Challenging but rewarding hikes by day, welcoming inns and regional culture each night—this is a hiker’s dream journey! In addition to our discoveries of Great Britain’s most stunning hikes, we’ll enjoy a “boats and boots” exploration of one of England’s most picturesque lakes, sip a wee dram or two of artisan whisky at a local distillery in Scotland, and hear the unique Welsh language, one of Europe’s oldest living tongues, as well as the proud Scottish brogue. Our meals will feature local flavor and tradition as we explore this rich tapestry of landscapes and heritage. Take the three-peak challenge, the Wilderness Travel way!
Days 1-3, Aug 30-Sep 1, 2017
Manchester, England / Snowdonia National Park, Wales / Mt. Snowdon
After meeting in Manchester, we head to Wales for spectacular hikes in Snowdonia National Park. One of our hikes leads into Cwm Idwal, a fantastic hanging valley, and we hike to the summit of Mt. Snowdon (3,560'), the highest peak in Wales and the first in our trilogy of highest peaks on this three-country adventure. On a clear day, views stretch across the British Isles. Our hotel is an 18th century estate set on 150 acres just a few miles from Caernarfon Castle.
Days 4-7 , Sep 2- 5, 2017
England’s Lake District / Scafell Pike
We head into England’s glorious Lake District, where colorful fellsides swoop up from sapphire lakes surrounded by a great amphitheater of emerald-green mountains. Our hikes here bring us up Loughrigg Fell, with unrivaled panoramas across the heart of the Lake District, and up Scafell Pike (3,209’), England’s highest peak. We also explore picturesque Derwent Water, taking a boat across the lake and then hiking up Cat Bells (1,480’), topped by a visit to a distillery to sample the local gin—we’ve earned it! Overnights are at a country house hotel just outside the market town of Keswick.
Days 8-12, Sep 6-10, 2017
Scottish Highlands / Cairngorms National Park / Ben Nevis
In Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park, known for its pretty lochs, wildlife, and friendly villages, we hike a high-level trail above the wild and spectacular Northern Corries (mountain cirques), and on to the peak of Cairn Gorm (4,068’), the 6th highest mountain in Scotland and the highest peak climbed on the trip—so far! In the West Highlands we hike in Glen Roy, famous for its “Parallel Roads”—distinctive hillside markings that are the remnants of ancient shorelines created by ice-dammed lakes from the last ice age. The final peak in our Three Peak Challenge is the big one—the hike up Ben Nevis (4,412’), the highest mountain in Scotland and the UK and the roof of Great Britain! If we’re lucky and the summit is clear of clouds, the views stretch across a considerable part of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery. Historic Glencoe House is our home away from home, where we’re welcomed by a traditional piper and entertained by a local storyteller. Depart on Day 12 via Inverness.