Lots of ups and downs as friends bid to climb all 32 counties' highest mountains in four days
Three friends from across Ireland have given themselves just four days to complete the unique challenge of climbing the highest peak in each of the 32 counties in aid of Make-a-Wish Foundation.
The former work colleagues found a shared passion for running, cycling and hill climbing several years ago and on Thursday, August 1, Andrew Goulding (30), Peter Knox (26) and David McKelvey (24) will embark on their long weekend challenge at Mweelrea in Co Mayo.
From then on, Andrew, originally from Sligo but living in Belfast for the past 10 years, said it'll be a race against time to complete their marathon task, which will see the intrepid trio scale the equivalent distance of four marathons non-stop in four days.
"We've had to plan it like a military operation," he revealed.
"I'll admit I'm a little nervous at the thought of it all as it gets closer, but we're all really looking forward to doing it.
"We met through work a few years ago and very quickly discovered a common bond for this sort of thing.
"We're always looking for a bigger challenge and I have a book on the highest peaks in Ireland. I think you're supposed to do them over a lifetime but we thought about how short a time we might be able to fit them all into.
"We came up with four days after a lot of route planning so that's what we're aiming for."
Andrew added: "I grew up in Kildare, Peter's from Omagh and lives in Belfast, David's from Donegal and lives in Dublin and between us we've seen quite a lot of Ireland and know our way around, so we got the maps out and plotted the quickest route to get between the highest peaks in each county. Now we're ready to go for it."
It will be a non-stop adventure, with a support team consisting of Andrew's parents and brother, his girlfriend Ashlee and Peter's dad handling the driving between each mountain and manning the supplies.
"That means we won't have to worry about navigating between the points and we might be able to get a bit of sleep here and there between each climb," said Andrew. "And there'll be no big backpacks to take up and down, so that will help."
The three spent 24 hours trekking through the Mournes last weekend as they stepped up their final preparations, and they hope to raise over €5,000 to be split between Make-a-Wish Foundation in Ireland and the UK.
The charity grants the wishes of children aged between three and 17 years living with life-threatening medical conditions.
When they complete their journey, hopefully on Sunday, August 4 at Errigal in Co Donegal, the trio will have scaled the height of Mount Everest twice.
To donate visit justgiving.com and search for Andrew Goulding.