This page focusses on challenging QMDs. Most challenge walks have a time limit. Extra care should be taken on challenge events as they place high demands on physical and mental endurance as well as mountaineering skills. A list of Long Distance Fell Racing routes can also be found here and on the Resources Page.
The GPX files below should all be considered ROUTES and NOT TRACKS. There are places where route finding is necessary to find the best line and/or to get over obstructions such as fences and/or walls. I strongly advise using the Harvey maps of the Rounds when available.
No claims for the accuracy of the information and/or files provided here. Please refer to official maps and/or guidebooks and/or official sources where available.
The Welsh 3000s
This is not a particularly challenging route unless you are unfit and/or unfamiliar with mountain country, in which case it is a good introduction to a long day out. If you have mountain experience and reasonable fitness then summit-to-summit is readily achievable within 12 hours without undue exertion all other things being equal. The route is straightforward and mostly on clear paths with a couple of kinks here and there – coming off Crib Goch, the mind numbing climbs up Elidir Fawr and Pen yr Ole Wen, and the out-and-back to Yr Elen, which is worth it the end.
What I can say is that we were trashed on this route by a twelve year old girl and her dad, who were taking it easy.
The best time to do it, as with any long distance mountain event, is probably April-May as these are the driest months of the year and the temperature is usually moderate although variable. Mid-summer and Mi-winter are no-brainers (i.e. avoid) for obvious reasons.
I can be a lovely day out and if you are fit and not on the clock there are a couple of extra summits you can bung in for fun.
The ideal option I’d choose, without a night on Snowdon, is to walk up the Llanberis path in the early hours, (03:00-04:00). Rest on Snowdon, recover, eat a big breakfast, drink loads, then at first light set off on the traditional route. This is easiest on the legs and is pretty straightforward. I’d finish in Bethesda, unless you can arrange a pick up from the car park on the other side (as per the files below).
Welsh 3000s Maps and Guides Include
Welsh 3000s Summits and Waypoints
Welsh 3000s GPX Full Track
Welsh 3000s GPX Full Track Tryfan Dash and Glen Dena
Welsh 3000s GPX Leg One
Welsh 3000s GPX Leg Two
Welsh 3000s GPX Leg Three
Welsh 3000s GPX Leg Two Tryfan Dash
Welsh 3000s GPX Leg Three Glen Dena Option
The Snowdon Summits Challenges
These are new challenges I developed for myself, but haven’t yet had the chance to complete. That provides an opportunity for anybody to be the ‘first’ and to upgrade and develop the routes. The challenges were designed to take in all of the Snowdon summits either as a traverse or as a circuit. Looking at the ground/terrain and the distance I expect the level of difficulty to be equivalent to, at least, the Welsh 3000s.
There are two Snowdon Summits Challenges; the Snowdon Summits Traverse and the Snowdon Summits Circular. You can read more about them in the PDF below or on the Blog Page. RDs and GPX files have been provided below.
Snowdon Summits GPX Traverse Summits & Waypoints
Snowdon Summits GPX Traverse Route
Snowdon Summits GPX Circular Waypoints
Snowdon Summits GPX Circular Route
The Paddy Buckley Round
The Paddy Buckley Round is around 62 miles. It is the longest of The Big Three and requires the most navigation. It is readily accessible and less remote than the Charlie Ramsay but more remote than the Bog Graham. It has more summits than the other two rounds and is considered the most difficult of the three. The route covers a lot of industrial history – Snowdonia is a post-industrial wasteland. In clear weather it is possible to see the entire round from multiple points on the round.
The standard Start/Finish is from Capel Curig, although Llanberis is also a popular start point. There are, however, multiple starts available due to the number of roads and no fixed Start/Finish. David Lintern’s book is highly recommended for planning the route as is the Harvey map.
Paddy Buckley Maps Include
Paddy Buckley Guidebooks
Paddy Buckley Summits & Waypoints
Paddy Buckley GPX Full Route
Paddy Buckley GPX Leg One
Paddy Buckley GPX Leg Two
Paddy Buckley GPX Leg Three
Paddy Buckley GPX Leg Four
Paddy Buckley GPX Leg Five
The Bob Graham Round
The Bob Graham Round has a unique place in history as one the first, if not the first, official ultra-distance mountain challenges. It covers around 61 miles and 42 summits. It has the least ascent of the Big Three but is longer than the Charlie Ramsay and shorter than the Paddy Buckley. The terrain is variable and the country shaped heavily by farming. The root starts and finishes at the Moot Hall is Keswick. Timed attempts are governed by a set of rules and are specific.
The traditions and history of the Bob Graham are relevant to all of the Big Three and their equivalents and should be taken note of when doing one of these challenges. David Lintern’s book is highly recommended for planning the route as is the Harvey map.
Bob Graham Maps Include
Bob Graham Guidebooks & Club
Bob Graham Summits & Waypoints
Bob Graham Full GPX
Bob Graham Keswick to Threlkeld GPX
Bob Graham Thelkeld to Dunmail GPX
Bob Graham Dunmail to Wasdale GPX
Bob Graham Wasdale to Honister GPX
Bob Graham Honister to Keswick GPX
The Charlie Ramsay Round
Note: The picture is not on the route – it is from the Cairngorms – but it is still a great photo.
The Charlie Ramsay covers around 57 miles with 24 summits. It has the most ascent of the Big Three and is the only one that doesn’t sit completely within a national park. This doesn’t matter as Scotland has an elightened and egalitarian approach to the outdoors, unlike the rest of the UK. The route covers the highest point in the UK – Ben Nevis. The route crosses a main road only twice and is the most challenging of the three.
There is no time limit on the Charlie Ramsay, although the route was designed to go anticlockwise with all the big climbs at the end. This route is a challenging one for wild camping requiring good skills, experience, and mountain sense. David Lintern’s book is highly recommended for planning the route as is the Harvey map.
Charlie Ramsay Maps Include
Charlie Ramsay Guidebooks & Club
Charlie Ramsay Summits & Waypoints
Charlie Ramsay Full GPX
Charlie Ramsay Leg 1 Glen Nevis to Luibeilt GPX
Charlie Ramsay Leg 2 Luibeilt to Fersit GPX
Charlie Ramsay Leg 3 Fersit to GLen Nevis GPX
The Gerry Charnley Round
This is perhaps the most poignant challenge as it is dedicate to the founder of the KIMM/OMM which was designed as an orienteering challenge. It covers 26 waypoints over around 38 miles and can be split into three separate legs. Like the other challenges there is no set route and, indeed, at times the best lines are neither obvious nor clear. At other times, however, it would be dull to ignore the obvious lines.
There is no set time limits on this round but given it is based on orienteering finding the fastest line is worth taking into account. The challenge can start and finish at any point but in keeping with tradition it is probably best to start and finish at one of the YHAs.
Note that on the GPX Routes (Indicative Only) The more ‘interesting’ line has been taken. This applies especially to the ascent/descent to Angle Tarn outlet where there is an ‘easier’ path, the Up-and-Over from Borrowdale YHA (you can go around the base of the hill) and the line up to Brown How from High Close YHA. The line taken will depend on your capability and confidence as well as whether or not you are on the clock. If, for example, I was on the clock I would go around the hill to/from Borrowdale YHA from/to Black Moss Pot as it is faster and requires less energy.
Gerry Charnley Maps Include
Gerry Charnley Guidebooks & Club
Gerry Charnley Summits & Waypoints
Gerry Charnley Full Route
Gerry Charnley Eskdale Circuit
Gerry Charnley Borrowdale Circuit
Gerry Charnley Langdale Circuit
The Wicklow Round
Ireland rivals Scotland in its range, variety, and scale of Mountains, although it doesn’t quite achieve the same height. But mountains it has plenty of and they are scattered around the entire country. The problem is access; there are no access rights in Ireland and all land is privately owned. Access is by permission. That having been said people seem to do alright and most mountains seem to have responsible people on them. And perhaps that is it: responsible. If you want to go into the mountains in Ireland, unlike the UK, you need to exercise due respect and responsibility. That makes the country even more attractive.
The Wicklow Round is a classic and the round proper has a strong set of rules, which can be found at the link below.
The Wicklow covers roughly 100km with 26 summits and if on the official clock has a time limit of 24 hours. On the official clock no GPS/phone or support is allowed on route, but pit stops with logistics are allowed in set places.
The Wicklow Round Maps Include
Harvey Map Wicklow Mountains 1:30 AND Pat Healy’s 1:25,000 “Glendalough- Glenmalur”map available from McCoy’s in Laragh, Co Wicklow.
The Wicklow Round Guidebooks & Club
The Wicklow Round Summits & Waypoints
The Wicklow Round Full Route
The South Wales Traverse
The South Wales Traverse is a long distance Fell Running challenge taking in the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains. It is around 73 miles with 31 summits. The time limit for the official challenge is 24 hours. It is traditionally run from west to East, which means most of the climbing, around 60%, is completed in the first half.It is considered less arduous than the Bob Graham, but this is debateable. There is less rock, more road (there is a road section of c. 8 miles), and less navigational challenges with the exception of a few short, tricky, sections. It is incorrect to refer to this challenge as the Brecon Beacons Traverse as it also covers the Black Mountains and covers all of the highest summits (610m+) in South Wales.
The South Wales Traverse Maps Include
- Harvey Superwalker 1:25 Brecon Beacons East and West
- Harvey 1:40 Brecon Beacons
- OS Landranger 160 1:50 (and annoying 146)
- OS Explorer OL 12 & 13 1:25
- Harvey Superwalker 1:25 Brecon Beacons East
- OS Landranger 161 1:50
- OS Explorer OL 13 1:25
The South Wales Clubs/Guides Include
LDWA route Although on this site it has been incorrectly called the Brecon Beacons Traverse