Over the last 30 years, the Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Yacht Race has established a reputation as one of the toughest and most physically demanding cross country sporting events in the world. It is so gruelling that it will leave both seasoned sailors and competent climbers with memories that they will never forget.
Throughout the race participants sail 380 miles across the choppy waters of West Britain, stopping off at the highest summits in Scotland, England and Wales along the way in order to scale 11,000 feet and walk/run 73 miles. Not only does the race play host to world class athleticism, the route is set among some of the most picturesque backdrops Britain has to offer.
The idea for the Three Peaks Yacht Race was conceived in 1976, when famed traveller Rob Haworth and his partner, Dr. Merfyn Jones, were discussing sailing routes around the kitchen table. As the conversation deepened, they mapped out the journey using kitchen utensils and bottles to represent the path and peaks. After checking the logistics during the Spring, the first race was organised in 1977. While the initial event only attracted a total of five teams, word spread, and now every year it grows bigger and better.
Race Rules and Route
All team members must be over 18 years old. Each team must consist of either four or five people; however, only two crew members are required to climb the mountains in Wales, England and Scotland. The use of engines is not allowed (apart from entering/exiting ports).
The first leg of the race starts in Barmouth and ends in Caernarfon (approximately 62 sea miles). After a five minute kit check, runners run/climb to the summit of Snowdon and back again (24 miles). The second leg is from Caerarfon to Whitehaven (approximately 100 sea miles). After arriving at Whitehaven, participants can cycle or run to Scafell Pike, climb the peak, and then return using the same route. The third and final leg of the race is from Whitehaven to Fort William (approximately 227 sea miles). After another kit check, participants ascend the summit of Ben Nevis, and then descend to the finish line.
Winning a Trophy
There are 29 different trophies – from the oldest team (Wrinkles Trophy) to the slowest team (Last Inn Cup). In fact, there are so many cups, it harder for competitors to go home empty handed than to finish the race! Every trophy has its own unique story and there are numerous prizes for each leg of the race. The Daily Telegraph Cup is the most prestigious of all, being awarded to the team who takes the top spot.
The Three Peaks Yacht Race attracts competitors from all over the world, and since its inception, has spawned multiple other races in Australia and Hong Kong – thus creating the “three peaks” genre. If you’d like to enter the June 11th race, contact Meic Ellis (race secretary).
If taking part in this isn’t your thing, you could come along to watch. Explore our Barmouth Bay holiday deals and book your trip today. We look forward to seeing you!