Surely that is for those slightly deranged individuals who try to push one or two days walking into a few hours and enjoy pain and discomfort. There is no way a leisurely walker like me who can see a video or photo opportunity every few metres would attempt such outrageous events......
Well, that is what i thought until hearing about the Fei Sheehy Challenge. This is a crossing of the Comeragh, Galtee and Knockmealdown Mountains on three successive days. Entrants can choose to do one, two or all three days. This is a serious challenge with up to 95km and 4,500m climbing over the three days. More importantly it is about a father, a family, a memory and a legacy of a little girl, Fei Sheehy, who died far too young.
Ger Sheehy took up hill walking after the death of his daughter and I sense it was a therapeutic experience, much as hill walking is for me. A space where I can leave things behind, where I can think things through, where I can laugh, shout or cry, with no one within miles to hear, comment or judge. Hill walking is a place where I can feel free from the pressures of the past, of the present and the future. It is a place where I can truly be me, taking off all the masks that I feel I have to wear through each day in the company of others.
Hill walking is also a place where I challenge myself physically and mentally. It is a place where I can try and make sense of the world and my place in it. I challenge myself to take in another mountain, to go that extra mile, to explore that new place. I challenge myself to look at myself, to be honest about my strengths and weaknesses, to contemplate who I really am. Hill walking is a special place where magical things can and do happen.
The Fei Sheehy Challenge encompasses all that I have said and more. It has challenged me to be in the company of others in the mountains. It has challenged me to push myself further and harder than I normally would do. It has given me red raw feet. It has allowed me to meet and keep in touch with some really amazing people. It has allowed me to raise money for very worthwhile charities. It has allowed me to explore new mountains and put ticks next to their names on this wonderful site. It has allowed me.......
I have completed the full 3 days of the Fei Sheehy Challenge in 2014 and 2015. There is no other challenge walk I would even contemplate taking part in because none touch my heart and head as the Fei Sheehy Challenge does. I will return in 2016 and I hope other users of this site will look seriously at supporting what is a very professionally organised event, with a great team of people providing transport, support, refreshments, smiles and encouragement.
A big thank you to Ger Sheehy and all his team for the opportunity to learn and grow a bit more through taking part in the Fei Sheehy Challenge this and last year :-)
The following is the text of a piece Gerry McVeigh wrote for the Mountain Views website.