Wednesday 19 June 2019

Louth man completes Christmas Day hike of Croke Patrick in just shorts

John with sons John (Left) Jason (second from left) and Michael (right)
John with sons John (Left) Jason (second from left) and Michael (right)
John on Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay.
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

A LOUTH man completed a hike of Croke Patrick on Christmas Day in just a pair of shorts and boots, to raise money for mental health charities.

John McKeown, from the village of Collon, undertook the rocky Mayo hike with his three sons, Michael, John and Jason.

John has been a huge follower of Dutch 'iceman' Vim Hof for the last three years and believes that extreme cold temperatures aid relaxation and mental health wellbeing.

Vim Hof is well-known for his ability to withstand extreme cold thanks to his breathing techniques.

"The climb is in three stages, the first is a steep rocky ascent with a small stream on your right. It definitely heats you up and gets your legs working and you wonder how you are going to make it to the top," John explained.

"After this the ground levels out which gave my legs some relief but a strong wind from the east cooled my body down quickly so I had to concentrate on the breathing method".

Several fellow walkers had heard about John's charity hike - with some recognising him and donating on the mountainside.

"A few had heard why I was doing it in my shorts and even donated to the charities 3Ts and A Lust For Life", he said.

John on Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay.
John on Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay.

It took about one hour and twenty minutes for the four to reach the peak.

"We had to wait a while for the mist to clear and then we got a fantastic view of Clew Bay. We drank a coffee from our flask and had one of my wife Jackie’s mince pies.

"My thoughts went to my loved ones and friends who are no longer with us especially my sister Linda who passed away this year and to those whose hearts are broken due to mental health issues and suicide especially at Christmas time.

"We stayed for a while and chatted to other climbers and shared their reasons for doing it."

After a decent of about an hour the four showered before travelling back home to Co Louth for Christmas dinner.

"It was a very special day for me and one that will stay with me forever. I am blessed to have been able to share this experience with my three sons and with the support of Jackie.

"I hope that our challenge has in a small way raised awareness of the importance of mental health and to talk to someone if you are suffering.

Donations are still being accepted, you can click here to donate.

The money raised will be divided equally between 3Ts and A Lust For Life.

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