Eustace Thomas and The Welsh 3,000s and more

Joe Fisher spotted an article on the Welsh 3s and posted the following question on FaceBook:

From reading this article I had no idea that it was a group from the Rucksack Club, lead by Eustace Thomas, who completed the first “Welsh 3000’s” challenge! Is this correct? Does anyone have anymore information on this?

I promised to trawl the relevant Journals for the period and found that Mr Thomas was pretty busy with extraordinary feats of long-distance walking around then, along with others in The Rucksack Club. Here are some extracts from the Climbs and Excursions section of the 1919 and 1920 Journals:

Long Walks of Eustace Thomas and others from 1919 and 1920 Rucksack Club Journal

The first recorded 24-hour traverse of the Welsh 3s barely warrants a footnote:

Other ‘excursions’ around that time included (the first?) Derwent Watershed (37.5 miles in 11:39hrs); Colne to Doveholes (51 miles in 17:57hrs ‘including wait for meals at various pubs of about 2 hours!’) and a Lakeland ‘Fell record – peak-bagging course’ of around 60 miles and 23,500 ft in 22:07hrs which doesn’t sound a lot less ground that the BGR, not to mention ‘a Proper Night Walk’ which involved the traverse of the Lakes 3s (Skiddaw, Helvellyn and Scafell Pike) in one December night (between sunset and sunrise).

The same two Journals yield first-ascent accounts on Cloggy and Scafell Crag, peak-bagging in Vancouver, and reports of early van-dwelling exploits. More sobering, the Journal also features a Roll of Honour of the 43 members who ‘were accepted for active service in His Majesty’s Forces during the War, including seven who were killed in action. Perhaps it is little surprise that 24 hour bog-trotting marathons held no fear for this generation.

Submitted with the expectation of corrections from our far more knowledgeable Hon. Archivists!


  1. Dom…thanks for highlighting some of the incredible achievements of Eustace Thomas. After all he did in the UK mountains he started to visit the Alps in 1923 (aged 54) where, over 10 years he completed all the 4000m peaks…he thought he’d completed them in 1928, but the the Diable Ridge has been climbed adding more, so he took part in the 3rd ascent of this ridge in 1932, completing the then ‘list’ aged 63. He was the first Brit to achieve this and only the 4th or 5th person in total! More to appear on Eustace Thomas soon in the Classic Article series!

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