Friday 22 March 2019

Wicklow countryside helped him on the way

A failed attempt to break the five peaks challenge is what spurred Ian on to attempt the seven summits, but the influence County Wicklow played in his decision shouldn't be underestimated.

Ian moved to Lough Dan five years ago in an attempt to break the five peak challenge, after efforts to climb the peaks in record-breaking time resulted in his party having to turn back without having reached their goal.

Determined to prove he could break the five peaks challenge, Ian decided there was only one thing to do. Move to Lough Dan.

I figured the only way I was going to achieve it was to move into the mountains and I opted for Roundwood,' he recalls. I changed my life around completely, gave up the alcohol and cigarettes and just really went for it.'

On June of 2004 all his hard work paid off as he and colleagues, including neighbour Lorcan Sweetman, successfully climbed the highest peaks in the Republic, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.

However, Ian wasn't satisfied with an Irish and British record and began to eye up the possibility of the greatest challenge of them all, seven peaks in seven continents in record breaking time.

I started planning two years ago and had to gain around 5,000 calories a day in order to bulk up with muscle. It took a lot of commitment and required a lot of sacrifices, but it was all worth it.'

His local Spar supermarket had to keep up with his demands, and cope with some rather strange orders for fresh chicken and tuna.

I would go through around 25 cans of smoked tuna a week,' laughs Ian at the memory.

While he deserves huge credit for his achievements, Ian also speaks fondly of the role Wicklow played during preparations.

Moving to Lough Dan was the perfect move and definitely benefitted me. If you can do certain areas in Wicklow within ten minutes then you can take on any mountain,' boldly states Ian.