A group representing the Irish accident repair industry and their motor trade partners took on the gruelling Climb4Cancer four peaks challenge to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society last month. Climbing the highest mountains in each of Ireland’s four provinces over three days the Climb4cancer organisers describe the event as an outstanding success on every level.
Franks Byrnes of Frank Byrnes Autobody in Galway one of the event organisers and who led the challenge, said the commitment and effort put in by all the walkers was inspirational. “We asked all those taking part to raise a minimum of €1,000. But most of the walkers raised many times that amount. This event seemed to touch a chord with so many people and the support we received has been amazing. We’re nearing €40,000 and the money is still coming in!” There was strong support from the West as 19 of the total 28 climbers were from Galway County.
In unseasonal and what can only be described as atrocious conditions the Climb4Cancer walkers completed their four peaks challenge in fine style. It was smiles all-round when friends and family met the 30 strong Climb4Cancer team as they arrived back in Fenton’s bar at the foot of Lugnaquilla in Wicklow’s Glen of Imaal after a weekend of high drama and achievement.
The event began on Friday in torrential rain by climbing Carrauntoohil in Co. Kerry by way of the aptly named ‘Devils Ladder’. The group was guided by Kerry Climbing’s Piaras Kelly’s experienced team ensuring completed the challenge safe and sound. Conditions were so bad at the top that there was only time to place the very moving daffodil and ribbon tributes carried by the walkers before heading back down again to Cronin’s Yard. Where there was just time to enjoy some of Essie Cronin’s hospitality and wonderful homemade sandwiches and apple pie. A quick change and everyone boarded the bus and headed to overnight in Galway where the staff of the Clayton hotel pulled out all the stops and spent the night helping the walkers trying to dry their gear.
The next day in what was to prove be the longest of the challenge with an early 6am start the team headed for Connemara before climbing Connaught’s highest peak Mweelrea which proved to be a tough climb in what was to be the best weather to be seen during the three day challenge. After the climb it was back on the bus for the 6 hour journey to Newcastle Co. Down for the penultimate climb of Slieve Donard on the Sunday morning.
It was in driving wind and rain once again that the walkers climbed Slieve after another early morning start. The walkers were grateful for the shelter offered by ‘Mourne wall’ as they neared the summit. But the drama didn’t end there leaving Donard Park on the bus journey to Wicklow and the last mountain the bus broke down not once, but twice! The second occasion signalled what might have been in any other circumstances the end of the challenge. However, not on this bus, as the various autobody repairers, mechanics all Climb4Cancer participants scrambled off the bus and set about running repairs. With tools borrowed from a local mushroom farmer, the bus was soon under way again!
After a slightly delayed arrival in the Glen of Imaal the Climb4Cancer team were accompanied up Lugnaquilla by a large group of hardy supporters who turned out despite the appalling weather. Their company and encouragement was greatly appreciated by the now wet and weary walkers.
Climb4cancer co-organiser Peter Daly commented that “Arriving at the top of Lugnaquilla was an emotional end to what an amazing weekend with an amazing group of people. It’s hard to single out any single highlight because there were so many.
“This is a gruelling challenge at any time but who could have thought that we would have had such terrible weather in May. But all Climb4Cancer team pulled together and we did it! This was an extraordinary team achievement with everyone playing their part. It’s make me very proud to be part of the Irish motor trade and the accident repair industry in particular.”