Belfast Telegraph

Climb every mountain - Down pals scale highest peak in every county in 24 hours

By Claire Williamson

Most people would be proud of scaling one mountain in a day - but two friends took it a step further, 51,000 steps in fact, as they climbed the highest peak in every county in Northern Ireland in 24 hours.

The gruelling physical challenge saw them conquer Cuilcagh, Sawel (which borders Co Londonderry and Co Tyrone) Trostan, Slieve Donard and Slieve Gullion.

And with an hours sleep and after waiting for Gullion forest park to open they did it in an incredible 23 hours.

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Jamie Wilson (27) and Richard Millar (27) hope their challenge will raise money for the British Stammering Association - a charity very close to Jamie’s heart.

The pair were up against the clock as they raced to meet their 24 hour deadline - meaning the brave friends had the tricky task of navigating Slieve Donard in the dark - which they started at 11pm.

Jamie who has battled with a stammer since the age of three, said previously that for a stammerer, just speaking can be a metaphorical mountain so they wanted to represent the uphill struggle that stammerers go through on a daily basis.

Read more:

Walking for Talking: Jamie and Richard to hike highest peaks in Northern Ireland for cause 

The determined duo began their challenge at Cuilcagh in Co Fermanagh early on Sunday August 28 and finished with Slieve Gullion in Co. Armagh.

And 23 hours later they had completed it.

Jamie told the Belfast Telegraph: "Everyone has their own demons but it's all about overcoming your own hurdles and difficulties and coming out the other side better for it.

"I'm just looking forward to getting a bath and having a pizza and a good sleep now. I think we've earned it."

"We're already thinking about our next challenge but we're not sure where it will be or what it will be yet. It hasn't scared us off anyway."

Jamie said they have been "amazed" by the widespread support they have received from around the world.

"We got donations in Hong Kong dollars, Australian dollars, euros, you name it. It confirms to me the fact that anyone is capable of doing something out of their comfort zone. Stammering is just my demon but other people have other issues. It's just about your mental approach.

"People often think that because you can't articulate things as well as you'd like to that you aren't good enough.

"This is just the beginning for us - we're going to do a lot more after this one."

Best friend Richard said that although it was tough they had a great time and were "overwhelmed" by the support.

"We've raised a lot more money and awareness than we could ever imagine so that's been amazing."

"My dad did all the peaks with us too which isn't bad for a man with a bus pass. It was brilliant craic but tough enough at times."

He added: "We're just two guys who aren't super fit but wanted to set ourselves a challenge and if we could inspire even one person to go out and give a mountain a go or go walking somewhere new then that would be brilliant. We had no idea whether or not we'd actually complete it but thankfully we did it in the end."

"Slieve Donard in the dark was something I'll never forget. It was difficult but incredibly satisfying. The stars on a clear night were amazing, though it was absolutely freezing at the top.

"We started Donard at 11pm so it was pitch black and tricky enough but after that we only had Gullion to do and it was homeward bound.

"We're knackered now but I think we've earned our body weight in calories now."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph