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From the top of the world with Climb4Concern
Want to see the best of Ireland and the UK and raise vital funds? You won’t regret joining the Climb4Concern challengers. At least that’s what a recent trek across three glens of Wicklow taught this novice hiker!
Lush grasses, yellowed meadows, dark, moist bogs and granite slopes. Sunshine and blue skies followed by veils of Wicklow mist and rain. On the recent Climb4Concern Three Glens challenge, I found myself among 70 other hiking fundraisers – aged ten to 74 – enjoying all terrains, views and weather over two invigorating days.
At the foot of Lugnaquilla
Starting from Donard in the Glen of Imaal on a sunny Saturday morning, we faced our Everest: Lugnaquilla, Leinster’s highest mountain standing at 925 metres. Framed by blue skies, this well-known peak didn’t seem so daunting as it sparkled in the sunshine. Could the weather gods really be this kind, we asked each other from the foot? (Yes and no, came the answer from the heavens later on!).
Sunshine persisted during our ascent. Weaving our way along the grassy trail towards the summit, we regularly stopped to breathe, chat, sup and admire the unfolding beauty of Wicklow below. As the top drew nearer and the slope steepened, breaths fastened, concentration increased and chatter lessened. Together, we dug our heals (and hiking poles) in! When we did reach Lug’s summit, a shared smile of satisfaction beamed across the group – from the greenest beginners to the most seasoned of hikers.
Down we go
Our descent brought mist, rain and boggy zig-zagging. Concern’s patient and skilled mountain guides shepherded the group from tip to tail, offering direction and supplies, lending a strong arm and bouncing walkie-talkie jokes across the mountain airwaves. While the weather on Lug varied, the good spirits were a constant, and the group reached the bus at Glenmalure in a tired, happy haze. All 70 of us – hikers of every age, ability and speed – had conquered Lugnaquilla together. We gathered in the Glendalough Hotel for a well-deserved feed, animated chats about our adventure and an impromptu mid-night sing-song.
Watered, fed and rested, we set off from Glenmalure on Sunday morning. With Lug firmly under our belts, Wicklow’s lesser peaks couldn’t scare us. Clear skies blessed our trail up and across the grassy heights overlooking Glenmalure and Glendalough. Wondrous views, and that unique sense of space found only amid the clouds, lent something magical to the afternoon.
Back at base camp, all chat turned to the next Climb4Concern hike. “Will I see you at Carrauntoohil?” “Are you considering the UK Challenge?” Judging by their enthusiasm, I didn’t need to ask my fellow fundraisers whether they had enjoyed themselves. In fact, many keep coming back for more, participating in Climb4Concern challenges throughout the year.
When you climb with Concern, all of the money raised goes directly to supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable people. But that’s not all. The personal physical challenge is immensely satisfying. The views from the top reveal the beauty that we know, but sometimes forget, surrounds us every day. And the camaraderie and craic along the way are sure to leave you asking, “Well, when’s the next hike?”.