At 1,344 metres high, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles and earlier this month, members of the Granard Youthreach team successfully climbed the peak following some intensive training back home in Longford.
It was a very successful venture, according to the members and one which bucked the organisation’s annual trend of signing up for an indulgent trip to a European city for a few days.
“The idea was originally floated in the Centre before Christmas and climbing a mountain became a very challenging idea,” said co-ordinator John Minnock. “So at 4pm on Thursday, May 3 last, the feat was accomplished by nine students and two staff members of the Youthreach Programme.”
According to Mr Minnock, some “serious planning and preparation” went into both the organisation and execution of the venture, and the Scottish Tourist Board predicted climbing times of approximately seven or eight hours in “very challenging weather conditions”.
“While the climb was described as a ‘non-technical climb’ a certain degree of physical fitness, stamina and will power was a basic requirement if Ben Nevis was to be conquered, so under the guidance of Mick Murphy in the PE classes and a six week training course in the excellent Boot Camp facility in Killoe, nine students prepared to undertake the most demanding physical and mental challenge of their lives,” Mr Minnock added.
“The group left Longford at 7am on Wednesday and returned to Longford at 5pm on Friday morning, 46 long, arduous and unforgettable hours later. We had a very brief and enjoyable overnight in the Roy Bridge Bunkhouse some 12 miles outside Fort William and having breakfasted at 8am we began our ascent at 9:45am in weather conditions which were truly remarkable for the challenge ahead.”
He went on to say that the group had 95 percent visibility on the day and the banter, camaraderie encouragement and “no surrender attitude” made for “outstanding personal development” on the trip. Also, all the students involved in the venture contributed to the costs involved.
Speaking to the Leader, Michael Mongan (16) said, “It was a great achievement for us. We were really looking forward to it. It was good to set a goal for ourselves and then achieve it. It was hard to climb at times because the sun was in our eyes and there was also snow as we reached the peak.”
Those who climbed Ben Nevis included: John Kenny, Jamie Hanafee, Michael Mongan, Ciarán Flood, Jimmy Kelly, James Peyton, Stephen Sheridan, Mark Rossiter, Benny Dempsey, Mick Murphy and Seán Ó’Súilleabháin. Go mairimid go léir céad.