Fuelling The Yorkshire Three Peaks Hike

Hello I’m Annie, part of the team at OTE. Being a Yorkshire lass it’s probably an obvious choice to pick the Yorkshire Three Peaks as my favourite hiking adventure. It’s a big day out at just shy of 40km to stomp, of course conquering Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough; which together equal around 1500m of ascent.

It’s not the sort of walk I’d advise rocking up and doing with no preparation. Speaking from experience, the weather can be extremely changeable, be prepared for all four seasons in one day. My last attempt saw us complete the loop in a fraction under 8 hours; and I don’t know about you, but I can’t go for 8 hours just sat at my desk without a snack, let alone tackling the 3 peaks. My point being, planning and packing some nutrition is a must and will make the day out a lot more enjoyable!

Pre-Hike Meals

Chances are you’ll be starting your hike early in the morning. Let’s just quickly rewind to the night before and your evening meal. This a good opportunity to top-up the carb stores ahead of the next day. Aiming for 50% carbohydrates on your plate is advised; pasta, rice, potatoes are all great ideas. For me it was a big bowl a Spag Bol; you can’t beat it!! With sunshine and showers forecast, the hike had to potential to be warm, (especially with a waterproof on!), so I made sure I was sipping on a bottle of Hydro Tabs most of the day before. Idea being I wanted to start the next day fully hydrated and full of energy.

The morning of the hike it was porridge with syrup for me. Not a big bowl because it was an early 6am get up but enough to stop me getting hungry on the drive to the start (which was around an hour away). Porridge has always been a go-to breakfast for me before big days of exercise; I’ve found by making it will milk it gives a great balance of carbs and protein and really does help to keep hunger at bay.

Fuelling The Yorkshire Three Peaks Hike — OTE Sports
Fuelling The Yorkshire Three Peaks Hike — OTE Sports

What to pack?

When it came to packing my backpack I wanted to be quite light. We weren’t planning for long, leisurely stops (although there’s nothing wrong with that!), we had a time to aim for so it was going to be short stops or eating and drinking on-the-go. This did dictate what I chose to pack.


5 x Anytime Bars

1 x Chicken sandwich

1 x Standard Energy Gel

1 x Caffeine Energy Gel

1 x waterproof jacket

1 x waterproof trousers

1 x Neck warmer

3 x 500ml soft flasks

1 x Tube of Hydro Tabs

My Fuelling Plan

The aim was to eat something on the hour every hour whilst moving, with a short stop at lunch time for a sandwich and a breather. Here were the things I noted:

  • Taking a mix of flavours of Anytime Bars really helped prevent flavour fatigue and I actually meant I was looking forward to the next snack time.
  • Eating on the ups was very difficult especially as you get closer to the top, things tend to get a lot steeper. Equally some descents were quite technical too, so planning to eat on the gradual ups or transition sections between peaks was advantageous.
  • Have your food in easy to reach places if you don’t want to stop. And then when you do stop, shuffle more snacks into those easy to reach places.
Fuelling The Yorkshire Three Peaks Hike — OTE Sports

  • When it was windy and rainy remembering to drink was difficult. I had to keep reminding myself how important it was to keep sipping on a hydro tab, to stay well hydrated, avoid cramp and help my concentration.
  • 1.5L wasn’t enough for such a long hike really, so as soon as we finished it was important to think about replenishing those lost fluids. Having more water for you waiting at the end is a great shout.
  • An energy gel did seem a bit unnecessary for a hike but actually when climbing the final steep and techy ascent up to Ingleborough that quick energy boost + 100mg of caffeine from a gel was refreshing and much needed. In fact we actually jogged section of the final descent to make our time goal and without this gel I think I would have been toast! Adding a few to your pack is low weight and could really help in an emergency.
Fuelling The Yorkshire Three Peaks Hike — OTE Sports
Fuelling The Yorkshire Three Peaks Hike — OTE Sports
Fuelling The Yorkshire Three Peaks Hike — OTE Sports
Fuelling The Yorkshire Three Peaks Hike — OTE Sports

yorkshire three peaks loop

My Final Thoughts

  • Hardest ascent: For me it was Ingleborough. The last one and some big steps really got the legs around hour 6.
  • Hardest descent: Whernside was a steep, techy down and certainly had the legs shaking by the bottom
  • Best view: Hard one, probably Whernside. This was where we took a little break for lunch so had time to take in the beauty around.
  • Longest transition: The section between the bottom of Pen-y-ghent and Whernside is long. You actually end up walking on the edge of the road for a while. Use this time to get plenty of food and drink in and watch out for cars!
  • Insider knowledge: If you’re struggling come the bottom of Whernside or maybe your planned nutrition isn’t working for you. There’s usually a burger van and ice cream before you start the second ascent. If you need the morale…use it!

I would highly recommend ticking this route off the bucket list. A big day out but absolutely worth it, rain or shine!


Fuelling The Yorkshire Three Peaks Hike — OTE Sports