FATIGUE and tired limbs failed to dampen the sense of achievement at the Belvoir carpark of the 12 O’Clock Hills last weekend, as hikers and walkers returned from a hugely successful Great East Clare Hill Challenge.
Up to 130 hikers and 15 guides participated, in ideal weather conditions, in the 30km hike, which they completed in eight to nine hours. There were no medals for anyone competing, just the great feeling of accomplishment on completion. This strenuous hike had an early start at 8am from Two Mile Gate, Killaloe.
From there, hikers made their way, in stunning July sunshine, to the summit of Moylussa at a height of 532m, the highest peak in Clare. Then, they followed a boggy track along Sliabh Bearna to Cragnamurragh the second highest mountain in the county.
After a short break, hikers continued past the Enchanted Lake and then made their descent to link to the East Clare Way and into the village of Broadford for light refreshment in Danny’s spacious yard.
The second stage of the hike from Broadford was another gruelling climb en route to Hurdlestown and then over a series of small hills offering panoramic views across Clare.
These included Seefin, Knock na mBuachaillí and Knockaphunta, before hikers finally reached the top of the 12 O’Clock Hills at 309m.
The finishing point was the Belvoir carpark where light refreshments were served by the organising committee. This was the fourth staging of this fundraising event by the 12 O’Clock Hills Committee. The previous events ran from 2017 to 2019, inclusive, and were followed by a two-year break, due to the pandemic.
The committee expressed thanks to its Lead Guide Noel Cusack and his back-up team of guides and helpers.
They also thanked Danny’s Bar for the use of the premises and Ger McErlian for preparing the food. They are also very grateful to all who participated in the Great East Clare Hill Challenge. Fundraising events such as this are very necessary to continue with the continuous upgrading of this now very popular hiking facility in East Clare.
In recent years, the committee has been successful in getting grant funding, where previously they had to depend on church-gate collections. However, this kind of funding has a cost as the committee gas to provide at least 20% of any sanctioned grant.
The committee is currently planning to implement an educational strategy related to biodiversity. they would be very interested in hearing from anyone who as an interest and knowledge in this field.
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 065 6864146.