independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Niamh hits her peak of ambition

Niamh Ni Chearbhaill on Mount Snowdon, her toughest climb.

SHE may have a fear of heights, but that did not stop Mallow woman Niamh Ni Chearbhaill from quite literally reaching for the clouds.

SHE may have a fear of heights, but that did not stop Mallow woman Niamh Ni Chearbhaill from quite literally reaching for the clouds.

The intrepid businesswoman has just completed a gruelling challenge taking on Britain's three highest peaks - climbing a lung bursting 11,000 feet in three exhausting days.

Last year Niamh, who co-owns the Spiralli Gallery in Mallow, began training for the 3Peaks3Days challenge, a gruelling test of endurance that would test her fitness levels and stamina to their very limits.

She recently made good on her pledge to raise money for the Irish Heart Foundation, conquering Ben Nevis in Scotland (1,343 metres), Snowden in Wales (1,085 metres) and Scafell Pike in England (978 metres) within the space of three unforgettable days.

She told The Corkman that while Ben Nevis may have been the longest single trek and Scafell Pike the steepest; Snowden was without a shadow of a doubt the toughest.

"Snowdon, the third and last mountain of the challenge, was very windy and misty. I was still feeling nauseous from the day before and hadn't had too much to eat," said Niamh.

She described the terrain as "very difficult", explaining that the stone pathway had been washed down the mountain leaving one alternative route - a jagged vertical cliff face.

"It was close to the top so turning back and dealing with the terrain in worsening wind was not an option. I kept my head down and made progress by concentrating on one step at a time, blanking my mind as much as possible," said Niamh.

"I often felt panicked and had to wipe away tears of desperation and fear a few times in order to see where I was going. It was the most gruelling thing I have ever done," she admitted.

Niamh is no stranger to challenges having overcome major heart surgery at the age of 21. She also suffers from mild asthma and had to overcome her fear of heights in order to take on the challenge.

She hopes that completing this physical and mental test of endurance will encourage people make positive changes in their lives.

"You really never know what you're capable of until you try it. You have to stop listening to what your brain says your limits are and let your body tell you instead," said Niamh.

"Near the end of my adventure on the last mountain I though I had defiantly hit a wall and then I did five more miles of trekking. My advice? Try turning off the limits and see what happens," she smiled.

Donation to the fund can still be made through www.3peaks3days.com/donations.

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