January 2021 Newsletter Challenge Walks

January 2021 Newsletter

Challenge Walks Information













“….Curiously though, the day was very different for many . . . all depending where the Challenge Walker was fortunate enough or (as seemed to be the rule of thumb for me) unfortunate enough, to welcome these savage showers. . . Down in the valleys - Happy Days! Yet atop Binn Bhriocáin - and mother of Jaysus the wind would split a flea!!” 

Excerpt from Maumturks 2016 by Jim Holmes

“....At the trig pillar on Greenane the temperature had climbed to 27 degrees and the descent to O’ Loughlins castle was over completely dry ground rather the more usual sea of mud reminiscent of a World War 1 battlefield”

Excerpt from the The Galtee Challenge 2018, JohnFitzgerald.

Great quotes from yearly reviews of Newsletters past....

But alas this January, our usual year's look back at the Calendar that was... well, is understandably as scarce as genuine chocolate on the "chocolate flavoured biscuits that used to adorn our treasured tins of Rover Biscuits each Christmas!

And yet, last August, Na Sléibhte Hillwalking Club and friends, managed with ease, to show how the Challenge Walk can indeed be hosted in a safe and restriction-friendly environment! In order for the only Challenge Walk to take place in 2020, no one was required to reinvent the wheel!! It simply took some common sense on the ground and The Fei Sheehy Challenge was once again its usual successful event! "Any rain that fell during the walks was that lovely warm vertical stuff that you'd welcome on a muggy day. All-in-all a celebration of challenge hillwalking" - Gerard Sheehy, from The Fei Sheehy Challenge 2020.

So what lies in store for the forthcoming season?? Well, there are green shoots definitely emerging...!

In the week when the ever popular Fei Sheehy Challenge 2021 all but sold out - Dublin based hillwalking club The Wayfarers have announced a provisional date for this year's Blackstairs Challenge. All going well, Saturday 28th August should see a wonderful outing where once again we set off up Mount Leinster and trace the Carlow / Wexford border up to the massive Blackstair Mountain and beyond! The Fei Sheehy Challenge itself falls two weeks earlier on the 13th, 14th and 15th August 2021. Three mighty mountain ranges over three mighty days.... a lot of things have to fall neatly into place for the Challenge Hillwalker looking to complete the full Challenge.

Two months earlier, Saturday the 19th June 2021, is the scheduled date for certainty one of the tougher Walks on the Challenge Walks Calendar. Proudly hosted by The Irish Ramblers Hillwalking Club - The Lug Walk packs in an ascent of 2300m (and more often than not - way more!). But it's the thumper of the 52 kilometres that doesn't necessarily fall on soft or presented track that throws the curve-ball!! Mileage wise, it's a grand 37 in old money.... or new money, depending on which side of the Brexit pond you’re on!

At time of going to press, it is not without surprise that unfortunately these are the only dates received so far, for inclusion on the MountainViews Challenge Walks Calendar 2021 and of course even these dates can’t be carved in stone! I suppose it's a little similar to the Selection Box I was given just this week..... the Curly Wurly is way, way smaller! Two bites barely! And don't go giving me the whole Wagon Wheels story..... "in those days our hands were smaller and our eyes were bigger!".  No! Nope, coming from an age when the aforementioned tins of Rover Biscuits were at least filled to the brim - we were more than well-acquainted with how to judge both "size and volume" AND "near....and far away"!!  We were the children of decimalisation for heaven's sake! So when I say I have issue with the "fighting weight" of the Curly Wurly..... I know I'm totally correct - Q.E.D. No longer is the leviathan of chocolate chew the length of the packaging - nope, now it's barely the width! That said, it's still the chewy dreaminess of old!

So while the Challenge Walks Calendar of 2021 will no doubt be much more downsized - never will I doubt that whatever events do manage to take place - there'll be the reliable chew that the ever-eager Challenge Walker will be able to get their teeth into!

Onwards and Upwards, Boys and Girls,

Keep Safe and Enjoy your Day!

Jim Holmes.


The Lug Walk 2021

The Fei Sheehy Challenge 2021

The Blackstairs Challenge 2021

N.B. Understandably, all Walks are subject to change.

Full Newsletter January 2021