A LOCAL Girl Guide successfully completed a virtual summit of Carrauntoohil – Ireland’s highest mountain – during lockdown.
Laura McSweeney (25) from Bandon, a graduate of University College Cork, who is currently studying forensic science, had been considering climbing Carrauntoohil the past few years. She hadn’t got around to it, but when she saw a virtual climb of the mountain was one of the challenges during Irish Girl Guides (IGG)’s recent virtual camp, Camp Echo, she didn’t think twice about signing up to the challenge.
Laura, who is a member of Bandon Senior Branch (Senior Branch is IGG’s branch for 14 to 30-year-olds), reckoned the best place to undertake the virtual climb would be the steps of St Patrick’s Church in Bandon. She worked out that she would need to run up and down the steps (there are 95 in total) 371 times in order to summit Carrauntoohil, which stands at 1,038 metres.
‘I set out at 8am on Saturday morning to try and complete it before the heat of the day,’ said Laura. ‘I’d set little goals for myself. I knew if I could get to 100 flights, I’d be able to keep going. Carrauntoohill is about eight pitches vertically so it’s a long day.
‘The most challenging part I found was that, sometimes I’d walk up but my Fitbit would either not count it correctly, or not count it at all, which got really frustrating! The distance to climb to the summit and back is 12 kilometres. I ended up walking about 18 in total up and down the flights of steps!’
It took Laura seven hours to complete the challenge.
Laura, who first joined IGG as a Ladybird when she was five, said she enjoyed the fact that, as a Senior Brancher, she could take ownership of her Guiding experiences – what she wanted to achieve and what footprints she would like to leave behind: ‘It has given me the opportunity to try new things and meet new people along the way,’ she said.
She has no hesitation recommending IGG to other girls and women. ‘IGG gives a safe place for girls to learn self-development at their own pace without pressures that they otherwise may face in society,’ she said. ‘Everyone is encouraged to become the individual they want to become while also becoming a strong and independent woman.’
•For further information, see www.irishgirlguides.ie or telephone 01-6683898.