Friday 23 August 2019

Base Camp walk raises €7,000

Best friends Martin (Scruffy) Duffy and Paul McGarry have raised a total of €7,000 for two charities close to their hearts after climbing Everest Base Camp.

The pair reached their goal last April after a nine day trek during which they encountered altitude sickness, hailstones and monsoon rain.

Speaking to The Sligo Champion, Martin (Scruffy) said he and Paul were 'very grateful' to the people of Sligo.

"Sligo people were just fantastic. I thought if we got €1,000 each it'd be brilliant. We exceeded all expectations."

The DJ said the experience was 'challenging and rewarding'.

"We learned a lot about ourselves. It was nearly like an outer body experience."

After a 15 hour flight, a 5 hour trip on a bus, and a 45 minute flight into what some refer to as one of the most dangerous airports in the world, Lukla, the men started day one with a three to four hour trek.

"You're completely out of your comfort zone. I got a bit of the shakes but I got my head in the game and it was a memorial trek for my father who passed away last year so I just said, 'If you're around, Dad, now's the time'.

Scruffy's prayer's were answered not long into the trip. When making his ascent he was followed by a butterfly.

"Altitude makes you very emotional. We went to a Buddhist monastery and I asked a Buddhist monk about the butterfly, he said it is whatever I believed it to be."

Once the men entered Namche Bazaar, a staging point for expeditions the altitude kicked in. Scruffy said tips from a fellow trekker helped him overcome the altitude to a certain extent.

"He said it was down to mindfulness walking. Eat even when you don't want to and drink five litres of water a day," explained Scruffy.

After reaching Base Camp the men were invited into the tents of a group with included the late Seamus Lawless, the Trinity College professor who died making his descent from the 8,848m summit on May 16th last.

"We could only stay in the tent for a couple of minutes because there was a storm brewing. We basically trekked nine days for 15 minutes. I left my dad's memorial card, did my thing, got pictures and the sherpa said we needed to get out of there quick"

The men had to descend almost immediately as one of their group was suffering severely with altitude sickness also.

Giving thanks, Scruffy recalled,

"The big thing is to raise €7,000 for those charities. We couldn't have done it without the support of Anthony from Hooked who held a coffee morning, the Parents Association' in Calry, the Credit Union, and absolutely everyone else who supported us, I know it's hard to keep going back to people for support. The whole experience was very humbling."

Sligo Champion