James Forrest has set a new record for a self-supported, solo walk of the National Three Peaks. The 37-year-old climbed Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – and walked every mile in-between them – in 16 days, 15 hours, 39 minutes and 51 seconds.
The previous self-supported record of 19 days, 18 hours and 35 minutes was set by Tina Page in 2017, while the overall record, with a support crew, is held by ultra-runner Tom Mountney with nine days, 11 hours and 39 minutes.
In 1979, Olympian Ann Sayer completed a slightly longer coast-to-coast route via the three peaks in seven days and 31 minutes.
James sets another hiking record
James, an outdoors writer from Cockermouth in Cumbria, already holds the record for a self-supported round of the UK’s Wainwrights. Between 2017 and 2019, he also climbed 1001 mountains across England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland, including the 282 Munros.
The inov-8 ambassador almost had to abandon his Three Peaks attempt at the foot of Snowdon. After 16 days of walking, he succumbed to sunstroke in a searingly hot Llanberis and suffered a bout of vomiting.
Fortunately, he regained his composure and made it up and down Wales’ highest mountain to complete the long-distance challenge.
While setting the record he walked 17 marathons in 17 days – a total of 500-miles.
James said: “It has been a rollercoaster of an adventure, from dizzying highs to crushing lows, with hardship and euphoria in equal measure.
“But I’ve absolutely loved challenging myself and pushing my boundaries.
“The simple process of walking is incredibly therapeutic and works wonders for my mental well-being, better than any drug a doctor could prescribe.
“I’ve seen so much in just 16 days, experiencing the real breadth of the UK’s landscapes, from sprawling urban jungles and industrial wastelands to remote mountains and farflung coastlines.
“I thought I’d hate the built-up sections, but I found myself relishing the variety. The journey felt like an authentic and real insight into life in the UK.”
Self-supported 3 peaks record
The self-supported three peaks record started at Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, at the foot of Ben Nevis, in Scotland. James summited the UK’s tallest mountain at 1345m before heading south via the West Highland Way, the Clyde Walkway, the Annandale Way and the Cumbria Way to reach Scafell Pike, which is the highest mountain in England at 978m.
He went on to the Lancaster Canal Path and the Wales Coast Path to reach Snowdon. The tallest mountain in Wales is 1085m. James descended to the finish in Victoria Terrace in Llanberis.
Hiking alone with no support crew or pre-arranged help, James carried all his kit and camping equipment in a backpack. He re-supplied with food en route and stayed in hotels in more urbanised areas.
Lee Procter, of inov-8, said: “What another incredible achievement by a fearless hiker.”