The original Three Lakes Challenge - A unique opportunity to paddle and row the three longest lakes in the Lake District
Three Lakes Challenge is a fantastic team challenge event for teams of up to 12 people. It involves paddling and rowing the full length of Ullswater, Coniston Water and Windermere in under 12 hours.
Ullswater 7.5 miles in open Canadian Canoes
Coniston Water 5.5 miles in a 10 person Voyageur Canoe
Windermere 10.5 miles in a Whaler (traditional wooden rowing gig)
It can be held as a single team challenge or with two teams of 12 taking part together.
largest lakes in England
Time to beat! (record held by RAF, Fairbourne)
successful completions to date
miles on the water
The 3 Lakes Challenge starts at finishes at Brathay Hall, the participants are taken from there to the first of the 3 lakes, Ullswater. Once crossing Ullswater in a south to north direction participants will cross Coniston in the opposite direction and finally they will cross Windermere finishing at Brathay at the northern end of Windermere.Download Route GPX File
Brathay Hall provides a stunning event centre for the Three Lakes Challenge. This Georgian country house, with a backdrop of Lake District fells, has easy access to the lake at our private boathouse in Brathay Bay - the finish line for the event!
Three Lakes Challenge participants are inspired by the surrounding landscape to push their boats and team through this distinctive event. The Hall also provides a fantastic setting for a memorable post-event celebration.
Glenridding to Pooley Bridge
Teams are transported from Brathay Hall, usually at dawn, over Kirkstone Pass to the start of the Ullswater leg at Glenridding. We have experienced some stunning mornings on Ullswater, canoeing through mist as the sun rises to reveal uplifting views of the surrounding fells.
After 7.5 miles of canoeing teams leave the lake at Pooley Bridge. They will be nicely warmed up now and looking froward to the challenge of two more lakes!
On the way to their second lake it's traditional for teams to call in at Brathay Hall for 'brunch' - important refueling before the Coniston leg.
Monk Coniston to Brown Howe
For the 5 miles down Coniston Water teams take to our distinctive Voyageur Canoes. These unique craft can take up to 12 people, seated in pairs - and when all are paddling in unison these streamlined canoes really motor along!
Following the same course taken by Donald Campbell's ill fated water speed record in 1967, the team will enjoy stunning views of the Coniston fells and surrounding woodland. They will also pass Brathay's Low Bank Ground centre - the perfect base for many young people who benefit from our residential programmes.
Fell Foot Park to Brathay Hall
The third and final leg....and longest lake! Teams will take to one of Brathay's unique Whalers (traditional wooden rowing gigs) for the 10.5 miles rowing England's largest lake. As the landmarks pass by there will be a real sense of achievement as adrenaline carries the team toward the finish at Brathay's boathouse.
They will have been on the move for between 7 and 12 hours, having covered 28 miles on the water and created some shared memories from a big adventure.
Our Three Lakes Challenge events always end with a night of celebration as teams relax and enjoy the huge sense of achievement from paddling and rowing the three largest lakes in England.
A well earned meal and awards at Brathay Hall is often followed, for those with energy to spare, by a late night in the bar (anesthetic for blistered hands!).
Early Three Lakes Challenge pictured left (painted by John Harden, Brathay Hall resident 1804-1835, courtesy of Lakeland Arts Trust).
Success at the fifth RowRunner challenge.
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Make 2017 count by signing up for one of our feel-good running, rowing, walking or cycling challenges.
NHS staff from across Cumbria have raised more than £3,000 for us, by rowing and paddling Windermere.