A team of intrepid mountaineers scaled Ireland’s highest peak on Sunday in aid of Marie Curie.
They came from far and wide brought together by the bond of having lost a loved one to cancer.
One of the team, Paul Best from Lurgan, said: “My motivation was my mum Nancy who passed away last November from cancer.
“The care she received in the Newry Hospice was second to none. That’s what drove me up the mountain.”
He continued: “We were doing a lot of walks in the Mournes in preparation. Eleven of us did the challenge and I have to say it was a challenge.
“This mountain was no walk in the park.
“Everybody reached the top but it was very, very hard. The Devil’s Ladder was the hardest part.
“When we started it was raining, then it dried up as we got higher, until we got to the top and there was snow.”
It took the team seven hours to get up and down Carrauntoohil.
Prior to that it had taken the best part of a day for Paul to pick everyone up in the minibus then drive the 270 miles to Killarney.
Paul said: “For me, this is the biggest mountain I’ve climbed. Some of the team have done Ben Nevis, but this was the first really big mountain for me. The plan now is to do the five peaks over the next few years, starting with Snowdon.”
Over the past five years the fundraising campaign started by Allyson Morrow has raised on average of £2,000 a year for charities including Marie Curie, Ulster Cancer Foundation and Make A Wish Foundation.
Paul said: “The group was started by Allyson Morrow and they’ve been fundraising for various charities for the past five years.
“Thousands of pounds have been raised during that period through everything from wild west nights to bag packs to pub quizzes to sponsored spin classes.”