THE world record for the Five Peaks Challenge was shattered last night by an intrepid group of mountaineers, the first Irish team to conquer all five peaks in record time.
Ian McKeever and Cathal Gregg from Galway, Niall Kavanagh from Laois and Lorcan Sweetman from Wicklow, climbed the five highest mountains in Britain and Ireland to enter the record books. They scaled Carrantouhill in Kerry and Slieve Donard, Snowdon (Wales), Skafell Pike (England) and Ben Nevis (Scotland) in a time of 16 hours and 16 minutes. The record set by two Englishmen last summer was 16 hours and 43 minutes. The actual climbing time for the record was 12 hours and 30 minutes, with the rest of the period in helicopters between peaks. Average resting time between mountains was just 45 minutes.
Three of the team suffered last minute disappointment in a 2002 bid for the record when bad weather forced them to abandon the challenge. "I can't believe it," said Mr McKeever. "This has been the proudest day of my life. It was an extraordinary challenge and there were times when we thought we would be carried off the mountain."
The team had been training for eight months with money raised going to the Alzheimer's Society.