How to climb Ben Nevis during lockdown!

Congratulations to our Senior Branch members who completed virtual summits of Carrantouhil and Ben Nevis during lockdown!

Here Emily (14) from Monasterboice Senior Branch and Rachael Conlon (22) from Mullagh Senior Branch, who both summited Ben Nevis, tell us about their experience.

Emily spent three hours running up and down the stairs of her house – 470 times in total – in order to complete the ascent while Rachael walked up and down a 250-metre hill near her home in Cavan.

Emily said that going for a run every evening during lockdown had helped her maintain a certain level of fitness and meant she had built up the necessary stamina to complete the challenge. “While hiking up and down the stairs, I concentrated on counting the number of flights that I had climbed – I knew that, if I lost concentration, I would lose count,” she said.

“I knew that I had to climb 470 floors and roughly to take 6,725 steps, so I counted the floors myself while my watch counted my steps. Believe it or not, I actually found coming down the stairs harder than going up, even though I had previously thought that it would be the opposite!”

Emily took regular breaks – every 25 floors or so – and made sure to drink plenty of water as the weather was very warm. “Once I had completed it, I was very tired,” she said. “My face was the colour of a beetroot and my legs were aching, but I had a sense of achievement as I knew that I had successfully completed the challenge.

“As soon as I had finished, I took a long drink of water, changed my T-shirt and went outside for a walk to cool down. Once my face had returned to a more normal colour, I rang my friend to tell her that I had completed it.”

Rachael, on the other hand, hadn’t prepared for the challenge at all but decided to give it a go. Her mam, Christine (a Guide Leader in Mullagh), ended up doing the entire climb with her, so well done to Christine too! Some of Rachael’s siblings and another Guide Leader joined them some of the time too.

They did the entire hike by climbing six and a half times up and down a nearby 250-metre high hill. Like Emily, Rachael and Christine were also impacted by the heat. “The hot weather sometimes made the hill a tough climb and, although it may only be a hill, it honestly felt like we were climbing a mountain at a 90 degree angle some of the time,” Rachael said.

Naturally, they were delighted to successfully complete the challenge. “It was a great feeling; I was so delighted,” said Rachael. “And I didn’t feel too bad. After the final climb, we made our way to the lake at the bottom of the hill and had a barbeque and enjoyed the hot weather. It was 100% worth it.

The challenge to summit Carrauntoohil or Ben Nevis was one of many activities suggested to Senior Branch members taking part in Camp Echo. Other members of Mullagh Senior Branch also took part in the virtual camp but didn’t tackle Ben Nevis.

“It was a great experience for all of the girls to become involved with,” said Rachael. “We are all sitting at home struggling to find something to do throughout these strange times, so having a list of challenges to complete made the weekend fly and was fun to do. I really enjoyed connecting with the other participants on Zoom. Even my siblings got involved and had lots of fun!”