Donegal man in attempt to climb Ireland’s 26 ‘High Peaks’ in record time

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Donegal man Shaun Stewart, along with his friend Lonan O’Farrell from Galway, are aiming to beat the fastest time known for climbing Ireland’s 26 High Peaks this week.

Stewart, who hails from Ards in Creeslough, and O’Farrell will begin their challenge on Mweelrea Mountain in Co. Mayo on Thursday, work their way around Ireland from the west and finish at Mount Errigal on Saturday.

They will aim to beat the fastest known time of 87 Hours and 50 minutes.

“The conditions will be challenging” says Stewart, “but we believe that we can do it in record time. We have a fantastic team on board to help with sponsorship, organising and support crew.

“Arthur McMahon from Team Donegal Oil along with Rory Kennedy have been instrumental to working out the logistics, navigation and getting everything we need for the challenge prepared in advance.

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“Donegal Road Trekkers Denis Ferry, Leslie O’Donnell and Paul Doherty will crew with us and they are no strangers to taking on challenges like this and we are delighted to have their experience on board. We also are delighted that Colm Dillon from Manor Motors Opel will provide us with a Opel Vivaro which will house everything we need for the journey. Our aim is to complete the challenge in approx 72 hours, and we are hopeful that we can do it”.

A GPS tracker has been set up so the duration of the challenge will be shared on social media so everyone can track their performance online in realtime.

As Mount Errigal will be their last mountain to climb & they hope that there will be a huge show of support when they will reach the top of Mount Errigal to complete the challenge & record their time.

Commenting on the challenge sponsor and supporting crew Arthur McMahon said: “Myself and Rory Kennedy are delighted to be able to sponsor and crew for Shaun and Lonan and are delighted that they will undertake this challenge under the Team Donegal Oil umbrella.

“We have worked out a route together as a team along with the three lads and Denis Ferry, Lesie O’Donnell and Paul Doherty from the Donegal Road Trekkers, that we feel will work for their challenge & do it in the record time the lads have set.

“We will be travelling through all of Ireland & Northern Ireland’s 32 counties & already have received huge support from people all over Ireland who have offered their support at each peak along the way. We would like as many people as possible to join us at Mount Errigal on Saturday 22nd when the lads will climb Mount Errigal and end their challenge at the top”.

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Lonan & Shaun have decided that they would also like to raise some money for charity and Lonan has chosen a local Galway charity, The Play Therapy Galway, Lakeview School, Galway. Shaun has chosen Crumlin Children’s Hospital as his charity. Donations are pouring in already for both charities.

Shaun chose Crumlin Children’s Hospital as his little niece Cara was born with a condition called Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD).

This is a rare birth defect that affects the pelvis, particularly the hip bone, and the femur. The disorder may affect one side or both, with the hip being deformed and the leg shortened. At birth Cara’s right leg was approximately 1.5cm shorter than her left leg.

As she continues to grow so does the discrepancy between her leg lengths. Currently her limb difference is 7cm and this will continue to increase. Cara wears a shoe that has a raise of 7 cm and she manages great with these.

The good news is we hope that Cara will be able to have lengthening surgeries. It is uncertain yet as to how many surgeries Cara will need as each case of PFFD is individualised and there is no set plan of treatment that suits every patient. Lengthening surgery is a slow and painful process and the Limb Reconstruction Unit in Our Ladies Children’s Hospital, Crumlin have the expertise and skills necessary to carry out these procedures. Cara walked at 13 months and loves running and climbing like every other two year old.

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Cara and her family will be there to cheer on Shaun, Lonan and the crew as they take on Errigal the highest peak in Donegal to complete their challenge.

If you would like to support or donate to their charities, you can find all the details on the challenge, updates & their live progress from 20th – 22nd April by following their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/highpeaksfktchallenge.

 

 

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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