FKT: Paul Crease - Welsh Three Peaks (United Kingdom) - 2023-07-31

Route variation
driving between THs
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
7h 28m 40s

After spending a long weekend up in the Snowdonia NP helping out on a Paddy Buckley attempt, this seemed the perfect challenge to have a crack at on the way home back to Devon as I would be practically driving past all 3 peaks anyway. I mentioned this idea to Jo Meek (running squirrel extraordinaire) who was also up helping out on the same PB attempt and unsurprisingly was up for it.

The plan was to set out from the Pen-y-Pass car park (it turns out you now have to prebook this carpark which luckily, we discovered beforehand) at 0600 and ascend Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) via the Pyg track.  (It would be no surprise to anybody who knows me that) I actually started the climb at 06:01:37 (Little did I know at the time but the seconds proved to be pretty important at the finish).  The first mile although pretty rocky and steep felt comfortable, but this was probably down to the excitement and adrenaline rush of the challenge. As it was not long after that my legs suddenly remembered the 45+ miles and 22,000ft of ascent they had covered over the previous few days. The rest of the climb was just a slog.  The weather was not great but it wasn’t until I reached Bwlch Glâs before I was greeted with its full force.  After stumbling up and down the slippery slate steps of Yr Wyddfa summit pillar it was a relatively uneventful decent back to Pen-y-Pass and my car.

It was then a quick dash down to Ty Nant and the start of the Caldair Idris ascent via the Pony Track.  The weather hadn’t improved although visibility was pretty good until you got up onto the long ridge line (The Saddle) at around 560m elevation.  From here on in it was just thick mist covering the mountain which made route choice a little challenging. Thankfully Caldair Idris is not short of a cairn or two leading you to the top.  Wonderful far-reaching views greeted you at the top. Sorry my mistake, wonderful far-reaching views would have greeted you at the top just not when I was there.  Although the damp and misty conditions made the rocks super slippy the decent was a lot of fun, quick in places but always with the respect the mountain deserves.  Back at the car it was then the longer not quite as dashy drive down to the Stover Arms and summit 3 Pen y Fan.   

 As I arrived at the Pont ar Daf car park ready for the ascent of Pen y Fan, I discovered that it had changed somewhat since my last visit.  Long gone were the row of portaloos in the old road side lay-by, and replaced with a new shiny National Trust car park and visitor facilities.  Although finding a place to park was no longer an issue, trying to find a parking meter that would read my NT card proved somewhat troublesome.  Ticket final issued the ascent of Pen y Fan could begin.  At this point I had no idea if the FKT was still on as my wonderful watch had decided to save the previous runs somewhere between Builth Wells and Brecon. Although I have run up Pen y Fan numerus times, I have never done an up/down as I have always included some of its friends such Corn Du or Crybin so rely had no idea how long it would take. Knowing I could get to the saddle in around 20mins it was time to pull my sleeves up and get going.  After passing numerous numbers of confused walkers (the confusion being why would anybody want to run up this) the path finally levelled out leaving only the simple navigation to the top.  Of course, simple in good visibility which it was anything but.  So, from memory take left at saddle but not far left (as this takes you up to Corn Du).  Then follow the path which drops a little before its final climb up to PyF making sure you don’t drift right and take the path down to Crybin missing the summit completely. The final summit (no 3) slowly emerged from the gloom, so with a quick tap of Pen y Fan’s National Trust summit marker the final decent began.  And what a fabulous descent it was passing the even more confused walkers at high speeds making for a brilliant finale to a very enjoyable challenge.

Total time, distance and elevation

7hrs 28mins 40secs (16.36miles, 1994m).

Spilt times.(all times in BST)

Snowdon - s.06:01:37 f.07:43:44     tt 1:42:07

drive 1 - s.07:43:44 f.08:49:00         tt 1:05:16

Cad Idris - s.08:49:00 f.10:12:11      tt 1:12:11

drive 2 - s.10:12:11 f.12:52:48         tt 2:40:37

Pen y Fan - s.12:52:48 f.13:30:17   tt 0:37:29


Well done on your time. I've been looking at doin this myself. However, the drives can really impact whether you claim a new FKT, you may smash the runs, but fail during the drives. Is including the drive times the done thing? It seems a shame if it is, as how quickly you can do these depends on factors that are out of your control (traffic, road diversions etc..).